The presence of mould in rental properties has become an increasing area of concern. Not only is there increasing evidence and awareness that mould can have serious effects on health, but the unprecedented amount of rain in Sydney in recent times is proving an unprecedented mould-friendly environment. Compounding this is uncertainty of who is responsible for preventing its arrival and removing it when it appears.
 
What causes mould?
 
Moisture causes mould.
 
A leaky roof, broken pipes, aging roof tiles, poor flashing, windows left open while it’s raining or a deluge can cause moisture to enter your property. The occupants could be creating the moisture within the home itself: through air-drying clothes indoors, running appliances or hot showers without an exhaust, or by under- or over-heating the home in the winter. A common unrecognised source can be an un-flued gas heater where the burning of gas (methane CH4) produces carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and H2O – water.
 
It’s important to figure out what’s causing the mould problem and to fix the underlying issue, otherwise it will continue to occur, regardless of how thoroughly it’s been cleaned.
 
Firstly, before we work out who is responsible, we need to work out how the mould developed.
 
For example:
  • if mould developed from a build-up of moisture because the landlord failed to repair a defect in a reasonable time, or the property doesn’t have adequate natural ventilation – then the landlord is responsible and must fix the problem
  • if the mould developed during the tenancy because the tenants allowed a build-up of moisture by never opening any windows or not using ventilation fans in the bathroom – then the tenant may be responsible. The tenant must do an adequate job to remove the mould to prevent it reproducing and spreading.
We are increasingly confronted with mould issues as tenants commonly become more hypervigilant and demanding for a speedy fix. If mould is left unattended, it can spread and quickly get out of control and become a serious health hazard. Therefore, we encourage tenants to report it and we look to remove mould when first sighted and keep homes mould free.
 
We provide tenants with a check list of ways they can prevent mould in the first place and effectively remove it and also mitigate its return. Sometimes we ask for our owners to assist us by providing a dehumidifier, repainting walls and ceilings with paint containing an anti-mould additive, replacing exhaust fans and so on.
 
For further information on mould you can read a nsw health fact sheet here

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