A little bit of mildew on the windowsill, or a darkening of the floorboards around a water pipe, may seem insignificant at first. But this can be the first sign of dangerous mould growth leading to significant issues. Landlords and tenants both have a role to play in preventing mould. The Tenancy Tribunal will take a hard line if mould is left to grow freely in any rented property.
In August last year, the Tenancy Tribunal found that the landlord, Kāinga Ora, had left their tenant in a Henderson house with black mould, which caused her health issues. They did not accept Kainga Ora’s reasons for doing this and ordered them to pay $8,957.5
During the much-publicised case, Kāinga Ora said they had no set procedure for dealing with mould in tenanted properties and had relied on contractors to sort the issue. The tribunal was not impressed. Adjudicator, N Walker, indicated that mould issues must be addressed immediately and that it is not acceptable for a landlord to pass the responsibility of tenant safety to contractors.
The Tenancy Tribunal require landlords to ensure their property is mould free when a tenant moves in, remedy any growing mould as soon as it is noticed, and protect the tenant’s welfare during the remedial process.
It’s clear the Tenancy Tribunal has little tolerance for landlords who fail to safely address the issue of mould.
Don’t wait to remove mould
You’re required to remove mould immediately. You can’t add the job to a maintenance schedule that you do between tenants. And mould leads to rot which if left unchecked will cause significant damage to your investment property. It’s in everyone’s interest to take mould removal seriously and act swiftly.
However, repairing mould damage while your property is occupied can be complicated and risk the tenant’s health. There are safe practices which often require a specialist contractor. If the repair site can’t be isolated, tenants may need to be temporarily re-housed. Tenant safety is the landlord’s responsibility.
Staying ahead of mould is the best strategy
Applying a preventative approach with diligent practices and good landlord-tenant collaboration is best practice in mould control.
Steps to keeping houses mould and mildew free
- Meet the healthy Homes Standards
The standards require ventilation and heating in all houses. Kitchen and bathroom extractor fans will remove moisture at its source and heating rooms to the minimum temperature helps to stop condensation. Consider installing window stays for added ventilation.
- Inspect regularly
Conduct regular structured property inspections with mould related criteria. Look for leaky water pipes, signs of decolouration on floorboards or windowsills, and overflowing gutters Test-run mechanical ventilation.
- Regularly clean guttering
Rainwater can overflow blocked guttering and make its way into crevices where it will cause dampness that leads to mould growth.
- Agree on a plan with tenants
The Tenancy Tribunal accepts that tenants have a responsibility in keeping homes free of mould. It’s a good idea to discuss this with your tenant and agree on a plan. There are preventative steps they can take.
- keep bathroom and kitchen doors closed
- wipe down windowsills on cold mornings
- consistently use extractor fans
- report leaks promptly
- notify you if anything on the check list appears between inspections
Angel Property Managers care about client welfare. We provide solutions to remove mould safely and compliantly. We’ll help you develop a joint landlord-tenant mould prevention plan.