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The Challenge of Mould

As the weather starts to warm up and we have patches of rain, you will notice humidity will begin to rise and with that can often come an increase in cases of reports of mould coming through your door.

Mould is one of those lovely little challenges, that when it raises its little head can cause a myriad of headaches not only for the tenant, but also the Property Manager and the Landlord. While it may be easier to bury your head in the sand and ignore the issue, it is important to remember that if it is a serious case, it can cause health risks, and in extreme cases, land you in court with a challenge for compensation if not addressed.

So how should we handle these cases? Well, in the beginning it comes back to thorough checks of the property at the commencement of the tenancy and education. Many condition reports now have a requirement to note if there is a presence of mould at the property. If you happen to tick yes, it is wise not just to leave it at that tick, but also investigate what the cause of the mould may be and have it cleaned before the tenancy as well as put any measures in place to prevent it returning. This will also assist in beginning the tenancy on a more positive note.

When it comes to education, many states have factsheets now available to provide to tenants at the commencement of the tenancy, educating on their obligations to care for the property including the importance of reporting if there is a concern and remembering to ventilate the property and use exhaust fans where present including the range hood fans while cooking. It is also recommended that the importance of ventilating the property is stressed to the tenants as a priority step when signing the lease.

If you do have cases where a tenant reports mould, it is not recommended that you shrug it off and ask the tenant to clean it and leave it at that thinking it is all sorted. Ask the tenant if you can visit the property to inspect what they are reporting and take photos. This can also assist you with ascertaining if it appears to be a serious mould concern in which we may need to employ a qualified tradesperson to further investigate and rectify, an issue with ventilation or in some cases they may need some assistance with understanding what that fun little word “clean” means.

Mould is never something that is a simple black and white matter, there is a lot of grey space in between and when managing cases of reported instances, it is best practice to err on the side of caution, check it out and take the appropriate steps to avoid a costly experience for the Landlord and potentially the agency.

Heidi Walkinshaw

Senior Coach & Consultant Real+

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