Mould in Your Rental Home and What to do
Introduction: What is Mould?
Mould is a type of fungus that grows in moist, warm, and humid environments. Moulds are often found in damp basements and bathrooms, or any other place where there is moisture or standing water.
Moulds can cause health problems for people who are allergic to mould spores. Moulds can also produce toxic substances called mycotoxins which may make people sick if they are exposed to them.
Mould is a type of fungus that grows in moist, warm, and humid environments. It’s often found in damp basements and bathrooms, or any other place where there is moisture or standing water. Molds can cause health problems for people who are allergic to mould spores; moulds can also produce toxic substances called mycotoxins which may make people sick if they
The Tenant and Landlord Obligations
Mould is a type of fungi that grows in damp and humid environments. When it comes to mould, the law can be complicated and confusing. There are many rights and obligations that need to be taken into account when dealing with mould in the home.
This section will explore what your rights are as a tenant, what obligations your landlord has, and how you can take action if you believe there is mould in your home.
This is by no means considered as legal advice. Always engage your lawyer/solicitor for legal advice.
Tenants need to keep their rental property presentable and report any problems. They also have to take steps to avoid damages.
The landlord has to provide the premises in a reasonable condition, with indoor plumbing, enough ventilation and other features that would render it fit for habitation.
The landlord must ensure that the property is structurally sound, for example by preventing damp patches from appearing on walls and ceilings; and by stopping water entering through holes in the roof, through windows etc.
The landlord must maintain the premises reasonably and should mitigate the loss in any way possible.
Before Signing the Lease
Before even signing the rental contract, you should engage the services of a Building Biologist. An experienced Building Biologist can identify potential issues with the rental home and suggest further testing in the form of laboratory testing, but this becomes expensive. Yet, it may be invaluable before you even sign the lease. The last thing you want to avoid is ending up with health issues and looking for another home.
The problem with most open inspections is flawed for a mould and moisture assessment because the agent opens all windows and doors before prospective tenants arrive. This freshens up the air and removes any damp and musty smells in the home, which are often indicators of mould.
Be very skeptical of homes that are freshly painted. Often it masks or hides the problem.
A virtual assessment of the home can be conducted by the building biologist. It’s based on the internet advertisement and commentary can be provided on the photos provided. There are so many areas to consider, it’s hard to list it all in an article. Contact us for more information.
If you begin your tenancy with a landlord/agent, they are required to note on the condition report if there is any visible signs of mould and dampness.
You can add your own comments relating to any health issues associated with mould or dampness under “Additional comments on health issues”.
By this time, it may be too late to fix anything. The landlord may be very hesitant to fix anything as well.
Top 5 Things to Avoid in a Standalone Home
Avoid homes that are below street level.
Avoid homes on a slope or hill, especially at the bottom of a hill.
Avoid homes on the south side where there is very little sun.
Homes with a subfloor crawlspace.
Garden beds built up against the building envelope / wall, which may block subfloor vents or peepholes.
Top 5 Things to Avoid in an Apartment or Unit
White efflorescence on the exterior of the building
Plants or vegetation growing on the walls or from peepholes. Weepholes are gaps in brickwork to allow water drainage.
No ventilation fans in wet areas or kitchen
Avoid apartments below street level or on the south side of the building.
Avoid apartments where living areas are below external balconies (from the apartment above). Waterproofing often fails in balconies (often seen by white efflorescence on surfaces) and can cause water intrusion into the apartment.
Top 5 Things to Avoid in a Home for People with CIRS
Carpet in a home should be avoided. Tiles or floorboards are ok. Carpets are dust reservoirs, therefore, collect all the mould spores and is an archaeological dig site.
Homes with a subfloor crawlspace. Often, these are older homes and are quite “leaky” causing subfloor air to intrude into the living space. Subfloors have very little air flow and unless there are subfloor fans installed, it will become a problem.
High levels of dust in a home or in the roof void/cavity can be problematic. Look behind curtains, furniture, beds etc.
Avoid homes on a slope, hill, below street level or on the south side.
Avoid apartments on the top or bottom of the building. Middle apartments are usually the best.
Top 5 Things to Look For as Indicators of Moisture Issues
Damp musty or earthy smells in any part of the home. Sometimes, looking under the home or around the front or back yard may indicate muddy areas. Drainage around the home may cause problems within the home.
Very dust roof cavities/voids – look into the man hole.
Ventilation fans in wet areas that are venting into the roof cavity rather than externally. You may even smell a recently cooked meal upon walking into the home.
Peeling paint, bubbling paint or discolourations on surfaces. These are often signs of water or moisture issues. Take a torch and inspect walls and ceilings carefully.
Look under the cover of the toilet cistern. Sometimes, when a home is mouldy, the cistern cover may have mould growing on it.
If your intuition is telling you the home is not right, then trust it. It’s probably correct. The home may look nice and beautifully presented, but there may be those niggling issues that just doesn’t sit right with you. If any of the top 5 issues mentioned above are found in the home you’re inspecting, then avoid renting the home.