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Whose responsibility is it to address mould issues: the tenant's or the landlord's?

April 7, 2024

Great question and addressing mould concerns requires collaboration between tenants and landlords.

Mould is a type of fungal growth that generates minuscule particles known as "spores." When inhaled by individuals with sensitivities or allergies to these spores, health issues may arise. These may manifest as nasal congestion, irritation of the eyes and skin, and in some cases, wheezing. In more severe instances, mould can exacerbate asthma symptoms in affected individuals. Hence, it is crucial to prevent the proliferation of mould and mildew.

Landlords, for starters, are mostly obligated to provide new tenants with a mould-free environment as part of upholding minimum standards, which vary by state and territory.

In Queensland, properties must be free from vermin, dampness, and mould, excluding cases caused by tenants. In New South Wales, adequate ventilation is required. South Australia mandates properties to be reasonably draught-proof, weatherproof, and free from mould or other irritants. Similarly, SA rental properties should be reasonably free from moisture or dampness. However, the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory have no specific regulations in place, while in Victoria, properties must be entirely mould-free – dependant on the building structure.

However, even if a property is vacant, not all mould is easily visible. Therefore, tenants should quickly notify their Raine & Horne Property Manager of any indications of mould or mildew, as well as any issues that might lead to the formation of these fungi, such as leaks in the roof, walls, pipes, or indoor plumbing. Additionally, poorly sealed windows and insufficient ventilation in bathrooms and kitchens can encourage the growth of mould. Upon receiving notification, the Property Manager will organise suitable tradespeople to investigate and resolve the issues.

Certain properties may be more prone to mould due to factors such as age, structural issues, location, or insufficient ventilation. In such cases, landlords are typically responsible for mould remediation.

Blocked roof gutters can exacerbate mould problems, particularly after severe weather conditions such as storms and heavy rainfall. Tenants should report blocked gutters to their landlords, who are responsible for clearing them. Failure to address this issue can lead to water overflow and subsequent mould growth, along with potentially costly structural damage.

Furthermore, tenants are responsible for removing surface mould to the best of their ability, as outlined in their tenancy agreement. Environmentally friendly cleaning solutions are available for this purpose, making mould removal safer and more effective than ever before.

For information about the property market in a suburb or town you’re considering for investment, reach out to your local Raine & Horne office without delay.