Dealing with Mould, Mildew and Dampness in your Rental Property

25th June 2013 | By: Dave Smyth

mould in rental propertyWith winter on our doorstep (as I write this it is pouring with rain) I thought I would cover the issue of mould/mildew/dampness. In the past I have inspected a couple of properties where mould has been a major problem. Especially in Northland, insulation will keep your house warm but is not a total answer for mould problems. In virtually all of these cases it was a tenant problem, ie; not ventilating, leaving curtains closed on sunny days, using unflued gas heaters or drying clothes indoors. These are the main factors with tenants and mould however there are other factors which may become the Landlord’s responsibility.

  1. Leaking pipes
  2. Blocked guttering
  3. Jammed windows ( stays on windows are a good idea)

Some causes that may be considered neither Tenant nor Landlord responsibility could be where the property is located and how much sunlight it gets.

Where this a problem with mould etc the tenant should try and clean it away and notify the Landlord. There are several household items that can assist this ie baking soda, bleach, clear ammonia, borax but of course must be used carefully. If either party is causing this problem they can be requested to remedy the problem and may be served with a “notice to remedy” the breach if not resolved.

If the property is damp through no fault of either party or the source cannot be located, responsibility becomes uncertain. Should this be the case Landlord and Tenant should negotiate an outcome that both are happy with.

If the problem is causing Tenant sickness then they can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to be released from any Tenancy.

With the Government considering WOF’s for properties there are a number of solutions available to consider. (Insulation, HRVtype ventilation systems, heat pumps etc).

Another reason that could be a problem are trees especially if they are too close to the dwelling. Not only can they block sunlight getting in but can also block gutters thereby causing damage that way. Just a footnote regarding trees/shrubs etc – it is not a Tenant’s responsibility to maintain these unless with prior approval. Unless a Tenant is knowledgeable about pruning advice would be to do it yourself or employ a professional arborist.

I trust this is helpful and hope that your property/ies do not present any of these problems. Meanwhile due to my high occupancy rate I require more properties to manage so if you are considering property management I am more than happy to call you to discuss what is on offer. Until next time.

This article was provided by Judy Morgan Property Management


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