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Mould Question

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by Bizzygirl, 1st Mar, 2016.

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  1. Bizzygirl

    Bizzygirl New Member

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    Dear All,

    We have owned a two bedroom unit on the Northern Beaches in Sydney for 10 years. It is a raised ground floor flat with Windows on three sides. It is north facing so gets good amounts of sun in all rooms throughout the year. For the first six or seven years there was no problem with mould in the unit at all but since the current tenants moved in about 3 years ago a mould problem has started.Two inspections ago some mould was noted in the bathroom and we told the agent to make sure the tenant cleaned it up. In the inspection after that, the report showed all,was fine. However in the current inspection there is mould not only in the bathroom but in the two bedrooms as well. We got the building manager to send someone in to check there was no water leakage from the unit above or outside walls and it came back clean. Our managing agent then called in a place to assess the mould and they came back saying we needed to spend $3,000 to get rid of the mould and prevent its return.
    I have two questions 1) who is responsible for fixing the mould? My opinion is the tenants have contributed in some way because there was no problem before they moved in 2) what responsibility does our managing agent have? Evidently this mould has been a fairly major issue for about 18 months but was not reported as such to us. Any opinions much appreciated.
     
  2. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    It is your problem to fix, ultimately. And quickly. You could have an extractor fan linked to the bathroom lights, so that at least in the evenings, they cannot shower without the fan running (assuming there is a fan).

    We always add security to bathroom windows so that they can be left open all year and always install fans linked to the lights.
     
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  3. thatbum

    thatbum Well-Known Member

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    1) Unless the tenants negligently or deliberately caused the damage somehow, then they aren't liable. "There was no problem before they moved in" is not how causation is determined, legally or logically.

    2) Again, unless the agents have been negligent in some way, AND that negligence caused the damage, then its hard for me to see how they could be liable.
     
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  4. Random Username

    Random Username Well-Known Member

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    Do these tenants have fish tanks?
     
  5. Matt E

    Matt E Member

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    I've dealt with mould several times before in properties that I've managed, and the most important thing to do is to determine where the water is coming from. I've had mould from cracked roof tiles in a lowset townhouse unit, leaking pipes in a multi-storey body corporate complex, and bathroom humidity in a small 1-bed apartment. Unless you find out where the water is coming from, treating the mould will only remove the problem for a short time - it will come back and you will have to clean it again.

    You might not be responsible for the mould if there's water leaking from common walls in a body corporate as the source of the problem originated from outside your property. Have you had a plumber check for leaks yet (it's not clear what trade your building manager called in)?

    I wouldn't advise spending any money to clean up the mould until you've determined its source - and for $3,000, the mould company should be able to tell you. In all the cases that I dealt with (and one of them was with a large national listed company), we decided that our reasonable duty of care did not require us to spend ridiculous sums of money on mould removal, despite the scare campaigns that these companies push. You may need to patch and paint the affected areas after spraying the mould (and don't forget to spray inside the wall cavity to treat the mould as well.
     
  6. VB King

    VB King Well-Known Member

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    And the laundry. Running dryers constantly with all the windows closed will soon get enough moisture in the dwelling for mould to grow.
     
  7. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    Are the tenants doing something different that previous tenants were not?
    Ie not using bathroom fans, blocking ventilation etc...?
    If you want to hold tenants accountable then you need to prove this.

    If you cannot specifically show how the tenants are causing it then you are liable.
     
  8. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    Agree. Hubby vented our dryer outside after years of having it inside... made a huge difference to the room.
     
    Last edited: 20th Mar, 2016
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  9. Abooking

    Abooking Well-Known Member

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    3000 is crazy money. Get a ladder and clean with vinegar or spray and wipe. Paint over the top of it yourself. Total spend would be 300
     
  10. Chilliblue

    Chilliblue Well-Known Member

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    Even heating an enclosed room can cause mould especially gas heaters. Condensation on walls and windows gets caught up on the soft furnishings and furniture.