Mould - The Facts

About mould
Moulds are fungi that need moisture and organic material to grow. When disturbed or dried out, they release spores that can cause illness in some people. They may also cause structural damage if left untreated.

Mould can cause a state of disrepair at rented premises. This can be the result of a breach of the residential tenancy agreement by the landlord or the tenant (e.g. the landlord fails to attend to dampness or the tenant fails to ventilate the premises).

Rights and obligations
You must:

  • keep the premises ‘reasonably’ clean
  • tell the landlord about any damage to the premises as soon as possible
  • mitigate loss – take reasonable steps to limit or avoid loss (see below).

The landlord must:

  • provide the premises ‘reasonably’ clean and fit to live in
  • keep the premises in ‘reasonable’ repair (except where the disrepair is caused by the tenant breaching the tenancy agreement)
  • mitigate loss.

The condition report At the start of the tenancy, the landlord/agent must note on the condition report if there are any signs of mould and dampness. (Whether or not they note the presence of mould/dampness, they cannot avoid the obligation to keep the premises in reasonable repair during the tenancy.) You can add your own comments under ‘Additional comments on health issues’.

Mitigation of loss Examples include:

  • a tenant avoiding damage to their clothes by removing them from a built-in wardrobe where mould is growing
  • a landlord promptly fixing damage to a bathroom wall before mould growth can set in (whether or not the tenant caused the damage).

Decide what to do
You may want:

  • to stay at the rented premises and have them repaired
  • to end your tenancy and leave.

If you want to stay
Tell the landlord/agent that they need to arrange for repairs. Write them a letter telling them what needs fixing and by when. Give a clear deadline. Keep a copy of the letter and a record of any conversations as evidence that you have notified them.