This article discusses a very important matter that affects most of our homes, mould, and attempts to clarify where responsibilities lie between tenant and landlord. Constant rain and high humidity across Sydney is creating the perfect conditions for mould to grow and to spread rapidly. We are regularly seeing properties that have never had an issue before, literally covered in mould in the space of weeks. So who is responsible? In simple terms, unless it can be proven that a structural issue with the property exists, tenants are responsible and they need to deal with it as soon as it appears. Left unchecked it may be considered a breach of the tenancy agreement.
What is Mould and why is it a health concern?
the right conditions, such as wet conditions (usually during the months that see a lot of rain) and dark and poorly ventilated areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, unventilated storage areas, walls, ceilings and roof spaces as well as basements and behind furniture.
Who is responsible for mould: The tenants or the landlords?
Unless it can be proven that there is a structural issue with the property, tenants are responsible from removing the mould.
Why is it the tenant responsibility?
Allowing mould to spread, can be considered a breach of the tenancy agreement. The tenant may be asked to cover costs to remove it.
How can tenants prevent mould in the first instance?
There are a number of steps tenants can take that will prevent mould from appearing and growing. Their aim should be to reduce the level of humidity in their home. Below we have included some of those steps they can take.
- Opening blinds and curtains during the day to let sunlight in,
- Making sure windows, skylights and doors are left open to allow fresh air in,
- Always using the exhaust fan in the bathroom, laundry and kitchen and also open any doors or windows to get rid of steam,
- Cleaning/wiping down tiles and get rid of soap scum as mould feeds on,
- Cleaning/wiping away build up of moisture on windows and walls and trying to keep the inside of their home as dry as possible,
- Ensuring to dry clothes after washing and shoes before they are put away,
- Opening and airing out wardrobes and cupboards regularly,
- Using moisture absorbers in basements, wardrobes and closed-off rooms and spaces,
- Avoiding indoor plants like ferns that need moist air. Choosing low-water varieties like succulents for around the house,
- Avoiding fish tanks as they add moisture to the air, especially tropical fish tanks,
- Avoiding portable heaters (kerosene or unflued gas heater) as they produce moisture,
- Fixing/reporting leaking taps and pipes, especially in closed areas like cabinets, and
- Investing in a dehumidifier as they help remove the moisture from the air.
Remember… the best way to stop mould from growing, is to let in fresh air and light, cleaning regularly and controlling moisture. Regular vacuuming, dusting and cleaning in kitchens and bathrooms also help prevent mould.
Letting in fresh air and light, cleaning regularly and controlling moisture in the property are great ways to prevent mould from appearing in the first instance
How can tenants remove mould once it appears?
Tenants should never dry brush a mouldy area or item of clothing as this can release spores into the air that spread the mould further and can cause an allergic reaction. Specialty mould removers can also be purchased from any supermarket and they are quite effective. Tenants should be aware to follow the directions on the packaging carefully as commercial products contain chlorines and bleaches, which are hazardous if used improperly. Further protect yourself, by making sure to protect your skin, eyes and clothes, and always make sure there is plenty of fresh air in the area you are are treating by opening a window and turning on exhaust fans.
Final thoughts on mould and responsibilities
More Information about Mould
- Treating mould in your home – How to prevent mould
- Treating mould in your home – How to remove mould
- NSW Fair Trading: Health, safety and security in a rental property
- Who is responsible for mould in a rental: landlords or tenants? (rent.com.au)
- 6 Things to Know about Using Clove Oil for Mould Removal
Thank you for reading and Stay safe!
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NextGen Property Mgmt (www.nextgenpm.com.au) is a boutique Real Estate licensed agency that specialises in property management. NextGen Property Mgmt does NOT have a sales team unlike most other agencies that specialise in Sales and have Property Management as a side business.
Our area of focus is residential property and we operate in the Eastern Suburbs, Inner West, Canterbury-Bankstown, South West Sydney, and St George.
NextGen was created from its infancy to cater for investors as it was founded by investors who quickly realised that in a highly regulated industry like Real Estate – competence, expertise, care and service by property managers varies greatly.
As an investor, you need to have trust for and feel valued by your property manager. You need to know that your property is being looked after and you are getting maximum return for your investment. At NextGen we understand that because we are investors with busy lives ourselves.