MOULD: Everything you didn’t want to know
Exposure to mould can cause throat, eye and nose irritations, respiratory complaints or allergic reactions in some people. The most vulnerable people to mould related illnesses are infants, young children, the elderly, immunodepressed individuals and those suffering from asthma.
Mould can be a very bad thing. It can be a sign that other bad things are happening to a property, such as serious leaks, damp or ventilation problems. A landlord or tenant can be found to be liable if they do something, or don’t do something that they should have done that encourages mould to spread.
Landlords must maintain the premises in a healthy condition. If mould is a result of a landlord’s failure to properly maintain the premises, the landlord can be in breach of the Residential Tenancy Agreement. The landlord is obliged to repair the problem and could also be liable to pay compensation to the tenant for loss of use of the property and damage to the tenant’s goods.
A landlord has a responsibility to provide a premises that is fit for habitation. The existence of persistent and severe mould could indicate inadequate ventilation or a structural problem with the premises, such as a hidden leak or rising damp. A landlord that does nothing to solve a mould problem, once they have been notified by the tenant that there is an issue, is in breach of the Residential Tenancy Agreement and the tenant can apply to the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal for a variety of orders, including an order that the landlord resolve the mould issues, an order that you can leave, an order for rent reduction and an order for compensation for damaged or destroyed goods.