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Mould in property and damaged furnitutre?

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by TMNT, 12th Aug, 2016.

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  1. TMNT

    TMNT Well-Known Member

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    So... amongst the never ending headaches ive had recently

    Here is another one

    Property has apparently become mouldy.
    All of the tenants furniture has gone mouldy beyond repair

    Agent is recommending i compensate the tenant for it.

    Will insurance cover this?
    Shouldnt the tenant have jad contents insurance

    Agent has also said this has become a commmon occurance and all the trnants that have gone to tribunal have been winning compensation.

    And ive seen some photos. The mould is bad!

    Wwyd
     
  2. Phase2

    Phase2 Well-Known Member

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    Geez @TMNT those LICs and ETFs must be looking pretty inviting right now??

    When were you notified of the problem? The tenant should have noticed mould and notified your agent so you could do something about it asap?? They should def have noticed their furniture turning mouldy?? wtf?!

    Insurance will depend on your policy.. Get the mouldy house fixed first. I wouldn't contemplate compensation until I'd at least uncovered all the facts.
     
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  3. Perthguy

    Perthguy Well-Known Member

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    It depends on the cause. Landlord or tenant can be found responsible.

    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 premises in a healthy condition. If mould is a result of a landlord’s failure to properly maintain 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.

    By the same token, if a tenant can be shown to be responsible for mould, such as by not allowing reasonable ventilation in the premises, they may have to pay compensation to the landlord.​

    http://www.tenantsrights.org.au/Publications_Archive/MOULD - Everything you didnt want to know.pdf

    You will need to check your lease also and find out when the problem started occurring. In Western Australia, if a tenant does not report a problem they are in breach of their lease.
     
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  4. Lil Skater

    Lil Skater Well-Known Member Business Member

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    Tenant responsible to notify you and generally responsible for their own contents. I'd suggest your first step is getting a report on how the mould was caused and how to rectify and go from there. Don't talk compensation until you have the facts.
     
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  5. TMNT

    TMNT Well-Known Member

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    Hey everyone
    Just wanted everyones opinion


    The insurance company has said flat out no coverage

    The professional mould report has said it is a bit of poor ventilation weather and user leaving the premises very cluttered

    What would you guys say


    Ive been on the phone to consumer affairs. Vcat and all are saying i dunno. The last option is fos which is a last resort

    While the agent is telling me that the tenant wants their entire furniture set compensated and that i will lose if i go to vcat.

    Frankly it annoys me that insurance either doesnt cover or im getting screwed over.
    Plus that im being backed into a corner to cover something that is the tenants responsiblty and not mine

    Plus theyve left all the furniture behind which is more costa that i will probably have to cover.

    Any advice fellow people?
     
  6. willair

    willair Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Look at upside,the tenants have left at least you don't have to go through the stress full process of claiming back the property and standing outside with the Police and Sherriff thinking how did i stuff all this up..
     
  7. Propertunity

    Propertunity Exclusive Real Estate Buyers Agent Business Member

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    I'd be relying on the professional mould report.
    1. bit of poor ventilation - is this a LL problem (ie poor building design or lack of exhaust fan etc) or a tenant who does not open windows?
    2. weather - you can't control the weather
    3. and user leaving the premises very cluttered - tenant problem
     
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  8. Magnet

    Magnet Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like all tenant responsibility. You need to clarify the ventilation issue - does that mean the tenant never opened a window?
     
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  9. Marg4000

    Marg4000 Well-Known Member

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    Sounds to me like 50-50.

    You are responsible for adequate ventilation of the property.
    Tenant is responsible for cluttering, but can (and probably will) argue that if the ventilation was adequate then the problem would not have occurred.

    Insurance only covers unforeseen events. A badly ventilated property is a mould problem just waiting to happen.

    Make sure the mould is properly treated. Some bleaches just cover up the problem without killing the mould spores. And make sure ventilation is corrected - a long spell of bad weather means you can't always rely on open windows.
    Marg
     
  10. TMNT

    TMNT Well-Known Member

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    Thanks every one for your replies

    Playong devils advocate

    1. Vcat usually sides with the tenant
    2. The report lists possible reasons inc tenant fsult as well as weather as well as circulation
    3. For example. If the tenant decides to lock the doors and showers everytime its the landlords responbility to fix the mould (if im not wrong)
    4. It could be the design of the house that has poor ventilation (which is landlords fault)
    5. Poor weather isnt my fault but its not the landlords.

    Have you guys ever had or aware if mould is generally covered or not?
     
  11. Marg4000

    Marg4000 Well-Known Member

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    If you are worried about the shower issue, simply connect an exhaust fan to the bathroom light switch. At the same time, make sure the roof space is well ventilated so you don't just shift the problem.
    Marg
     
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  12. JenW

    JenW Well-Known Member

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    It's also worth considering history of the property. How long have you had it for? Has mould ever been a problem before?

    We recently had this with one of our properties. The tenant ran the heating (reverse cycle a/c) 24/7, and never opened any windows etc. All the window frames throughout were covered in black mould. The (fabric) dining chairs also ended up covered in mould (see picture). We ended up having to get all four dining chairs recovered, including replacing the foam, at a cost of $560. :( I guess we should be glad that the couches and mattresses didn't go mouldy too.

    Our properties are completely self contained, so we didn't have too many options (bond was taken up with overdue rent and cleaning costs) but the key issue for us is that we've had the apartment for eight years now, and we have NEVER had a problem like this, or in fact any mould issues at all (bar the occasional bit of mould in a dirty shower).
     

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  13. Lil Skater

    Lil Skater Well-Known Member Business Member

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    Sorry folks, coming in a little late - but thought it still worth my 2c.

    I've got to disagree with this. If the area where the mould started has the option to be ventilated (ie. windows and exhaust fan) it's the tenants responsibility to use them and to ensure the property is ventilated to help keep these issues at bay and any issues need to be reported in a reasonable time frame.

    To cause substantial damage to the extent the entire property is covered in mould as well as all their furniture items, one would imagine the tenant has not mitigated their own loss.

    RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES ACT 1997 - SECT 62 Tenant must give notice of damage

    1. VCAT does - but if don't be afraid to challenge members if you need to. Some will hate it, some will respect you a heck of a lot more. So long as you're polite and can point out the exact legislation.
    2. Circulation IMO is tenant responsibility. Weather cannot be helped, but again, the tenant has a responsibility to notify as soon as they are made aware.
    3. If the tenant decides to lock everything up when they shower, they are responsible to clean the mould and, if required, report it in a timely manner. If mould is reported the very first thing I ever as is if they're ventilating the property, as that is generally the main cause.
    4. If it's the property, yes LL fault.
    5. Weather no ones fault, but LL would be responsible.

    I've managed a heap of properties for the last 7 years, some brand new and some falling to bits. I've had very few issues with substantial mould and have been to VCAT for a couple.
    In one instance the property was covered in large trees and gutters full, owner did everything possible to resolve, tenants vacated and claimed compensation. We could prove the owner had done everything in a reasonable time frame to fix the issue, no compensation awarded.

    Another the tenants were awarded compensation because the owner didn't take appropriate action.

    VCAT is tenant orientated, we all know that. However most members respect you when you're organised and you have proof that you have done everything within your power to mitigate the loss to the tenant in a reasonable time frame. If you cannot do this though, they will come down on you like a tonne of bricks.
     
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  14. TMNT

    TMNT Well-Known Member

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    Hi everyone
    Still a bit of a prickly situation

    Ive offered a partial compensation to the tenant which theyve accepted. havent paid yet
    Insurance company has tecommebded i get the property fixed before i pay out and get them to sign a waiver

    Agent has terminated pm agreement (no surprises)
    And is still hounding me with tge "i dont want you to have to vcat cos you will lose. have another case where landlord is being sued for 10k"

    Im a man of principle
    So really i want to go to vcat, win and claim damages for everythibg, or at least make then aware that if they lose , they will be up for big costs too
     
  15. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    If you've offered a partial compensation and the tenant has agreed, why not just pay it and move on? What is the dollar figure?

    Is it worth backing out of the agreed partial compensation and risking losing even more?

    I've been in the situation of fighting for what is right or backing down and handing over a LOT of money. We chose to back down because the risk of taking further to our wallets and our health was too great.
     
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  16. TMNT

    TMNT Well-Known Member

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    absolutely spot on, im overseas at the moment, so its a bit harder to get things going, was hoping to sort it out when I get back,

    im looking at it from a few perpsectives
    1. a learning experience, for future reference, eg vcat behaviour, agent behaviour,
    in this case Im getting the vibe the agent is more against me then for me, originally I thought it was they were with me, but now due to constant request for the agreed compensation, Im getting a different vibe
    2. principle, I shouldnt have to pay for something that isnt legally my fault, eg they should have had insurance
    3. risk, if I do go to vcat and lose then obviously im up for any figure

    I offered $2k of their $6k furniture, which was very new
     
  17. Lil Skater

    Lil Skater Well-Known Member Business Member

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    Ouch. Have they moved out?
     
  18. Truly Exotic

    Truly Exotic Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to hijack

    But it must be mouldy time.
    I too have a property with mould.
    Do any of you guys have any experience in cleaning this??? surely a paint over isnt sufficient enough. or can you use zinser

    Tmnt is yours worse than mine?

    Good luck with it. what area are you in?
     

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  19. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    With that much mould at the bottom of the walls and heading upwards, it looks like a problem with the slab or the ground allowing water to the walls (but I'm no expert at all).

    Is this your PPOR or an IP? Either way, I'd be getting in a mould expert.

    That nooks nasty and very unhealthy.
     
  20. willair

    willair Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I don't think just paint will fix something like this,maybe have a look outside and see if there are any vents around the mould area's,plus it would pay to have look for termites ,as for cleaning you would have to find why this has happened,a plumbing pressure test would rule out any leaks..