Living in a flat with mould is unpleasant and unhealthy and there are steps you can take to get your landlord to fix the problem.

  • Landlords must provide their properties in a reasonable state of cleanliness and repair;
  • Any building or health and safety regulations that apply to the premises must be complied with;

 Healthy Homes Standards

The Healthy Home Standards require:

  • Adequate insulation and heating: in addition to underfloor and ceiling insulation, landlords must provide heating in the living room.
  • Ventilation and drainage: windows that can open and close are necessary in all bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms and kitchens. Bathrooms and kitchens also must have extractor fans installed.
  • Moisture and draught barriers: if the rental contains an underground room, landlords must fit proper ground barriers. Draughts can be blocked by closing gaps in windows, walls, and doors.
  • Tenancy agreements must include information about the heating and fans, and must state that the Standards are complied with.

In a recent case, a tenant successfully recovered the costs of furniture she owned that was destroyed by mould and leaks in the rental home she lived in, damages for her landlord’s intentional neglect of the property, and compensation for her time spent living with those health risks.

Although most of the tenant’s claims were about the poor behaviour of her landlord before the Standards became mandatory, the Tribunal pointed out that this did not remove the landlord’s responsibility to provide reasonable living standards, which the law already required.

The Tribunal found a number of failures by the landlord and property manager which amounted to unlawful conduct:

  • A build-up of leaves that caused a leak, let water into the property and caused damage to the carpet and flooring. The property managers contacted the Council about the tree, but did not take any further steps. After some time, a handyman fixed the leak, but the carpets were left damp and no dehumidifiers were provided.
  • The property did not have effective ventilation. When the tenant raised this with the property manager, they informed her that they would fix the issue within 10 months.
  • A quote to repair the damage to the floor caused by dampness was provided to the property manager, but seven months passed before the issue was fixed.

The Tribunal also took into account chest infections that the tenant’s children developed and photos documenting the black mould inside the property. It is important that the landlord was made fully aware of the mould and failed to act.

The Tribunal held that the property was not in a reasonable state of repair and the tenant was awarded over $6,000 in compensation.

What do landlord and tenants need to know?

Private rentals must adhere to all the Healthy Homes Standards. It is important that both tenants and landlords understand these obligations.

Failing to comply with the Standards and other obligations under the Act may result in an expensive Tribunal case. Any outcome may also publicly identify the landlord or property manager.

If there are uncertainties about the Standards or your legal rights or obligations, it is wise to speak with a professional expert in these areas.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-priced Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.


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