Mould and clean issue 6 weeks into lease! Help

Discussion in 'Repairs & Maintenance' started by DanielleJ85, 5th Feb, 2020.

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  1. DanielleJ85

    DanielleJ85 Member

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    My husband and i signed a lease on a rental and were told a shower leak would be repaired prior to our move in (they left a 3 day window from the previous tenants leaving and us moving in)

    Upon moving in we indicated on our condition report mould was present, actual fungus was shown in images we provided to the real estate.

    The place was filthy when we got the keys, there was a cockroach nest, dirt on blinds and shonky painting on walls so we decided to not move in until it had been fixed. (We moved our items in 1 week later but still paid rent for that week)

    6 weeks later i started noticing my asthma getting worse and then done day we noticed an actual mushroom growing in the crevice of the bathroom door… notified RE but as it was xmas holidays no action was taken for about 8 days. We left 2 days after finding the mushroom but continued to pay rent ( we knew we’d be penalised if we up and left and stopped paying)

    They had a builder come in supposedly who didn’t open up the wall to see the extent of damage from the shower leak, they ripped up the lino flooring which was covered in mould and they told us it had been fixed within 3 days - when i say fixed i mean the “builder” removed the mushroom, sprayed the area with colloidal silver and then gap filled any holes and painted over it all.

    I had a medical certificate from my doctor backing my asthma up and we decided to terminate our lease as this was not treating he actual problem and the mould was extensive under the floor and they refused to open up the walls or rotten skirting so we had to leave due to health.

    They say they did everything right and it’s not a health issue, never was…

    We are thinking of going to the tribunal as we have a lot of image and email evidence.

    We dealt with so many issues in our 6 weeks of renting this place which is why we’re pursuing it…

    We had a dehumidifier throughout our time, always had windows open etc…

    We’d like to claim the 3 weeks rent we paid that we didn’t live in the property, we were never offered a rent reduction at any time and dealt with 3 pest treatments due to the cockroaches and ants being so overrun, 2 professional cleans as the cleaner did a terrible job and then the mould…. that was the last straw for us!

    We've been made out that we are the bad guys and that "nothing is good enough" for us, i don't know about anyone else but i don't particularly want to be inhaling toxic mould spores and fighting off cockroaches every-time i eat food.... there were roaches running through our cutlery draw.. it was gross. The place seemed clean from the outside and we are super house proud people so this really displaced us.

    We've claimed our bond back so far. The day we moved out i found a pair of shoes that had mould on them and one of our rugs is potentially contaminated after the RE sent us a photo of mould broom and lino on top of our rug.

    Images are of mould issue under floor, the mould was growing on the timber though but timber not inspected.
    Last images are from our condition report 6 weeks earlier. All in all we stayed for 8 weeks and payed rent the entire time. IMG_1547.JPG Screen Shot 2020-02-05 at 7.01.50 pm.png IMG_1547.JPG
     

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  2. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd take them to the tribunal. That just is not good enough. Those photos should be enough to back up your claim. To be honest, I'd be claiming for more than the three weeks you are asking.
     
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  3. DanielleJ85

    DanielleJ85 Member

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    That's what we think too. It's funny the different opinions we're getting, someone on another forum just replied this to me re our situation:

    "You claim you had to move out but there's no way to back that up, even if your doctor says you have ashma he's not an expert in mold and you won't get anywhere with that claim. You're argument sounds like a crusade to right some wrongs and small claims court doesn't work that way, because spoiler alert, EVERYONE thinks they are the victims and the other party is wrong.

    So heed my words of wisdom, 3 weeks rent isn't worth the trouble"
     
  4. DanielleJ85

    DanielleJ85 Member

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    I'm also pregnant and never highlighted this as i'm sure it's not ideal to be inhaling mould during pregnancy. Asthma is made worse in mouldy conditions, i was also hospitalised and have this on a the discharge record. We're not going into the claim with that. We were also told by the RE that the owner NEVER once inspected the property in the 5 years of having previous tenants in, this was revealed to us after we signed the lease and raised the issues. It just feels like they got us on to pay rent so the owner isn't out, but then we had 3 pest control treatments within 3 weeks, repainting of walls due to owner doing a dodgy job, cleaner services came in twice - all within the first 3 weeks, usually this should be done prior to leasing a place? We had cockroaches on our pillows at one point. The mould was the last straw and what we felt was the strongest point. The reason we're considering going to NCAT is because this sort of dodgy cheap quick fix to get tenants in happens constantly and most people DON'T pursue it. It doesn't sit well with us to allow it i guess?
     
  5. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    I would be going for removalist costs, move in cleaning costs, any medical cost not covered by medicare and any temporary accommodation costs as well.

    The current version of the inspection report also notes mould - was this identified on the incoming report or your response?
     
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  6. DanielleJ85

    DanielleJ85 Member

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    So we we noted on the condition report the day we got the keys that there is mould present in several sections of the report. We also provided clear images.. see below. The RE still says the owner is not in breach of anything and that everything has been rectified, but we think they're being dodgy. We don't actually think a qaulified builder assessed the mould as hubby is a builder and told them to knock a hole in wall to see damage and they didn't even do that, just painted over it and now it's back on the market just days after we left.

    unnamed (4).png unnamed (5).png unnamed (6).png unnamed (7).png unnamed (8).png
     
  7. DanielleJ85

    DanielleJ85 Member

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    We were only asked to do a condition report upon beginning lease so yes we marked mould on there... but never heard back from anyone about it. We included images of actual fungus too.

    We kept the place ventilated and had a dehumidifier as there was a weird smell.
     
  8. Peter518

    Peter518 New Member

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    I agree with @Scott No Mates Lodge an application with NCAT claiming the rent and all your expenses. The application fee is low, the process simple and you will need to attend in person for mediation in the first instance. You will need to be very organised with full documentation for this. Also put the agents and owner on written notice that you have notified them of a serious health concern with the property and they now have a legal duty of care to rectify the cause of the excess moisture, and remove the mould spores before they lease the property to the next tenants. This will serve as a legal file date and evidence for others later. FYI a few years ago I rented a house in West Chatswood from McGrath agents and had a similar experience to you and had to move out etc. Our clothes and furniture were damaged by mould, some irreparable, and we incurred significant temporary accomodation and other expenses to manage the situation. The agent and owners responses and owners behaviours were similar to your descriptions. The expect to avoid, bluff and frustrate you so you just walk away. NCAT appearances are a regular occurrence for leasing agents and they Make money charging the owners an appearance fee for a ‘template’ defence. We ended up going to NCAT over this issue 3 times, NCAT supporting our claims each time. Following NCAT we filed a claim on the owner in the NSW district court which was settled by negotiation prior to court for $80,000 from the owner.
     
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  9. Peter518

    Peter518 New Member

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    Unfortunately there are many rental properties in poor repair. Some unethical and disengaged owners, supported by their leasing agents, have no concerns for people’s health or property in maximising their investment return. The recent heavy rains in Sydney will expose many moisture and mould issues I believe.
     
  10. Paul@PFI

    [email protected] Tax Accounting + SMSF Business Plus Member

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    Those pics paint a damning picture for the landlord. A tribunal may have concerns the property was not habitable. NCAT can really only deal with your complaint and not deal with the future letting of that property so dont try to be the rent police as it wont get far and may harm your credibility and position to expand your claim beyond known facts. NCAT cant hear your claims for a event that doesnt impact you and you can only speculate to the final repairs made.

    I would claim all the rent and moving costs and reconnection fees for at least the exit move. NCAT can only reduce it. Ask high. Dont settle low.
     
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  11. Peter518

    Peter518 New Member

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    Check all your clothes, shoes and furnishings, books, appliances, and electronics etc. for mould infestation & damage. Visually and with a UV light bulb from Bunnings. Its likely infested the whole house. Mould loves most natural materials and silicone. Claim the cost of professional cleaning or replacements.
     
  12. Peter518

    Peter518 New Member

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    Whats the other forum you mention?
     
  13. Perthguy

    Perthguy Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like whingepool (whirlpool)