Mould can be a serious threat to human health and the integrity of a building. It’s actually one of the most common health hazards that’s increasingly linked to a wide range of mental and physical ailments. And if your rental property is tenanted, you as the landlord or property manager are responsible for making sure a property is free of mould.
In case you need any further motivation to take this subject seriously, mould is also responsible for causing untold damage to the actual property too which can be costly to eradicate and/or can devalue a property significantly.
A NSW Health report states that people with the following may be more sensitive to mould:
But people with weakened immune systems and those with chronic lung diseases are also more at risk of mould infection, particularly in their lungs.
It should be noted that it’s impractical to assume you can eliminate ALL mould from inside a home but there are a number of key steps you can take to remove mould and control its source … moisture.
But let’s first understand ‘what’ mould is.
In simple terms, mould is a type of fungi that lives on plant or animal matter. This can include a range of building materials that you could reasonably expect to find in the majority, if not all, Australian homes. These products include plasterboard, wood, curtains and carpets.
As we’ve said, mould loves moisture! That’s why it grows most efficiently in poorly ventilated, damp areas. In this environment, it happily reproduces by making spores that can be airborne and therefore land on damp spots indoors. This is where they set up their new home; they grow and spread.
You’ve probably seen evidence of mould in your rental property, or maybe in your own home. Given its preference for poorly ventilated areas, bathrooms and laundries are two very common areas to find mould. Around plug holes, along the edges in a bath or shower – it looks innocuous but it can be deadly.
That’s why looking for it and dealing with it should be very much a priority for any landlord or tenant. Or even better, preventing it in the first place is the best option!
Reducing excessive moisture or dampness in a property is key in the prevention approach. Examples of this include:
There are two things to consider in answering that question.
Firstly, the basic rule of thumb is to remove it as soon as you notice it. If it’s just started to appear it could be quite straightforward. Mould that has been allowed to grow for some time (for example, in a cavity) may be more problematic to remove fully.
Secondly, treat the cause otherwise it will likely just reappear. This may be something you can handle yourself but, it is always a great idea to get an inspection carried out by a professional plumber. As well as mould problems, unseen water damage can cause structural damage to a property making it doubly important to get to the source of the mould issue.
Importantly, if mould is present a plumber is best placed to suggest what the source is and what steps could be taken to fix the cause once and for all. As a landlord, having an independent inspection by a professional shows that you are taking the matter seriously.