If you have started to notice mould build up in your rental, you should act sooner rather than later. While it can be a grey area when it comes to who is responsible for mould – you or property owner – you can be held accountable if the mould break out is a direct result of your actions or lack of.
Before we go into the legalities of who is responsible for mould maintanance and eradicating it throughout the duration of your tenancy, it is important as a tenant to understand what mould is and what causes breakouts to occur wherever you live.
According to the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS), moulds are fungal organisms that multiply by producing very small spores. When disturbed, these spores are carried in the air and if they land in a place that provides moisture and a food source, they start to grow. Mould can develop on a wide range of surfaces. These can be on, within or underneath walls, ceilings, and other hard and soft surfaces in homes.
Common sources of moisture indoors include roof and gutter leaks, flooding, leaking and burst pipes, unflued gas heaters, and condensation from cooking, showering, and clothes drying.
Mould is more likely to grow in colder weather when air flow through the house is minimal. This can be due to activities like hot showers, cooking hot food, tumble drying clothes or anything that produces steam whilst windows and doors are kept closed.
Quite disturbingly, mould has a number of severe health risks that should be taken seriously. People who inhale, ingest, or have skin contact with the mould spores or particles can experience asthma-like respiratory illnesses, sinus problems, chronic cough, headaches, tiredness, frequent sneezing, rashes, and watery, itchy, red eyes.
If it has been identified that you have caused the underlying problem that led to mould developing or haven’t informed your property manager of an issue with the property that has led to the mould outbreak, you may be responsible for mould damage and may have to compensate the property owner.
Some actions that can cause mould to grow include:
Sometimes, you may not be able to see the mould, which is why it is important that you and your property manager are taking preventative measures such as:
Author: Sjanna Sandalova