What is Mould?
Did you know that mould spores are a natural part of the environment, however in certain conditions the spores will germinate and spread. Depending on the conditions this could be very quickly or slowly over time.
When its humid and there are extended periods of rain, this can certainly increase the presence of internal mould issues if not controlled. This may appear on your furniture, hard surfaces and belongings. As wet weather periods extends, extra vigilance is required to keep your home free from mould.
So how do you avoid mould?
There are 3 main principles in controlling Mould:
- Keeping your home appropriately ventilated and dry
- Keeping your home clean and free from dirt, dust, pet hair and bacteria.
- Control dampness – Reduce activities that create high moisture and condensation that can become trapped inside the home.
Where will you likely find mould?
It’s most likely find mould in the wet areas of your home such as the bathrooms or laundries as hot showers and dryers create a high moisture and condensation in the air in these rooms.
How to avoid mould?
It’s important to keep wet areas isolated (close the door while in the shower!) then do what you can to dry these off as quickly as possible. Always turn on the extractor fan (and light heater if you have one) and then open the windows to help dry out the room and leave the fan going for a while if possible.
Mould feeds on dust and dirt so regular cleaning, dusting and vacuuming will help keep mould away as it will limit its access to food to grow. Regular use of disinfecting products on the floors and hard surfaces of these rooms is also recommended.
The use of a clothes dryer will often create an excessive amount of condensation in the air fuelling mould growth, so make sure that you are ventilating appropriately while using the dryer.
Even drying washing indoors on a clothes horse will lead to the moisture evaporating into the air in the room, so keep an eye on this too!
How to Ventilate?
Aim to generate a cross flow of breeze by opening windows and doors so air circulates throughout your home. The right time to do this is on dry days during the warmest part of the day for example in winter this would be between 10am to 2pm.
Ceiling fans or pedestal fans will also help generate a cross breeze throughout your home in the summer. If you have an air conditioner this is one of the most effective ways to reduce the moisture content in the air inside, look out for the dehumidifying cycle for great results. These are also available on portable air conditioners too.
Watch out for using gas heaters as these will not help as they create a ‘wet’ heat, fuelling the growth of mould rather than hindering it.
How to Remove Mould?
Whenever condensation forms on the inside of glass windows and remains after mid-day, this is a sure sign that inside your home is staying too damp. There are lots of simple ways to control moisture; the key to mould control is living a little drier, warmer and in some cases cleaner.
Mechanical ventilation devices are usually not an effective long-term solution as they do not solve the root cause of dampness. It is far better to rectify any contributing issues and make lifestyle adjustments for long term prevention.
Mould is the visual sign of too much moisture. Once you understand the contributing factors, you can then control mould growth inside the home.
So who is responsible for what?
Under tenancy law landlords are responsible for:
- the rental premises in a reasonable state of repair;
- meet building, health and safety requirements;
- and ensure repairs are undertaken in a reasonable period.
As a landlord, you could be facing a breach of the rental agreement if Mould develops as a result of not attending to maintenance matters reported by the tenant
The tenant’s responsibility:
- keep your rental property in a reasonable state of cleanliness;
- not intentionally or negligently cause or permit damage;
- and let your landlord or real estate agent know about any damage as soon as possible.
As a tenant, you may be in breach of your rental agreement if Mould develops because you:
- got the carpet wet and failed to treat it or let it dry out properly;
- didn’t aerate the bathroom by using exhaust fans or opening windows;
- left pools of water on the tiles outside the shower and let scum building up;
- or dried clothes indoors and didn’t air the room afterwards.
If mould in your home is becoming a severe ongoing issue after following these tips, you should immediately contact your Property Manager. The key to keeping your rental property free of mould is common sense. If you’re a tenant, keep your home reasonably clean and stay in touch with your Agent. Tell them in writing as soon as you notice mould in your home that you can’t easily fix.
If your valuables are being affected by mould, clean them quickly and put them somewhere they won’t be damaged. For example, you should remove your clothing from a wardrobe where mould is growing.
As always if you would like to discuss your specific circumstance, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Rightside Team who will be happy to help.