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Mould in Rented Property, Whats your Rights?

This article offers advice and information for New South Wales tenants in relation to the issue of mould and fungi.

What is mould?

Mould is a type of fungus which requires organic materials and moisture to grow. Mould can grow in nay environment provided it is moist and it is a common problem in properties which suffer from water intrusion and condensation. It is associated with decay and damp and can cause a state of disrepair in properties.

Mould can be regarded as a breach of a residential tenancy agreement. If a tenant fails to ventilate a property and the result is the growth of mould, the tenant has breached the tenancy agreement. Likewise if a landlord fails to address an issue of damp and the result is the growth of mould, the landlord is in breach of the tenancy agreement.

Rights & obligations:

Tenants must take certain actions to prevent issues such as mould within the property. The following list outlines tenant responsibility:

  • Tenants must keep the property within a reasonable state of cleanliness.
  • Tenants must notify the landlord of any damage to the property.
  • Tenants must mitigate loss.

Landlords also have certain responsibilities that they must honour.

  • Landlords must provide premises which are reasonably clean and fit for purpose.
  • Landlords must carry out repairs as necessary.
  • Landlords must mitigate loss.

What is mitigation of loss?

Mitigation of loss involves taking reasonable action to avoid additional loss should a problem arise. This can involve a landlord acting promptly to repair something to avoid further damage, or a tenant acting promptly to notify a tenant so that a problem can be addressed.

The condition report:

When a tenancy begins the landlord must complete a condition report on the property. If there is any sign of mould or damp at the property the landlord is obliged to attend to the problem at any given time during the tenancy.

Discovering mould at a rental property:

If your rental property has a mould issue you can either take steps to end your tenancy and leave, or stay at the property and ask the landlord to make the appropriate repairs.

If you stay:

If you intend to stay in the property you should notify the landlord that repairs are needed. You should put this in writing and include a note of what needs to be fixed. You may also include a reasonable deadline by which the work should be completed. Keep a copy of any letters for your reference.

If the landlord fails to make repairs within a reasonable time frame you can make an application to the New South Wales Civil & Administrative Tribunal for orders.

Orders from NCAT:

If your landlord refuses or fails to make repairs you can apply to NCAT for any of the following orders:

  • That the landlord complete repairs about which they have been informed.
  • That the landlord pay compensation for any loss suffered as a result of their failure to act promptly in relation to repairs.
  • That the rent be reduced from the time the landlord was informed of the issue until repairs are completed.
  • That the rent is paid to the NCAT until repairs are undertaken.

Tenants making applications to the NCAT for orders are advised to submit applications within 3 months of the occurrence.

If you make an application to NCAT you should be able to prove the following:

  • That the property is not in a state of reasonable repair.
  • That you are not liable or at fault.
  • That the landlord was aware of the need for repairs.
  • That you informed the landlord.
  • That the landlord did not act promptly to complete repairs.

Proving Evidence of Mould:

mould in rented property

If you make an application to NCAT for any orders you will be required to provide evidence in support of your claims. Types of evidence include any of the following:

  • The condition report.
  • Your tenancy agreement.
  • Any tenant/ landlord correspondence.
  • Samples of mould from the property.
  • Photographs of mould from the property.
  • Information on mould which relates to the case.
  • Receipts for any expenses incurred.


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