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Rental property mould issues and options

As property managers, we deal with mould on a regular basis, whether it’s asking tenants to ensure that the property is ventilated and remove mould during tenancy, after final inspections for bond refunds or advising private landlords to consider cleaning it before we hold viewings.

Mould can be a health risk to your tenants, and a risk to the value of your rental returns, as such it should be treated / prevented to ensure the health of your income and your tenants. 

Mould in a rental property is a clear sign of moisture, either the house is either not ventilated sufficiently, has a leak occurring, or rising damp.  Where the problem is occurring from a leak, this is the landlords responsibility and should be rectified to preserve their rental and protect the tenants health, failure to do so could leak to council action and an unsupportive stance from the tenancy tribunal http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/9192970/Tenants-homeless-after-mouldy-house-dispute .

Section 45 of the residential tenancies act states that landlords are responsible to provide the premises in a “reasonable state of cleanliness” http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1986/0120/latest/DLM95099.html

Section 40 of the residential tenancies act states the tenant shall- “Keep the premises reasonably clean and tidy”

Combining these two sections outlines that a landlord should ensure the premises is mould free before tenancy commences, and the building structure should not be the cause of the mould.  The tenants should act to ensure the rental property remains mould free during occupation by way of adequate ventilation, and letting the property breathe, out all the moisture accumulated from daily living.

In a rental property it is worth considering what you can do to either better ventilate the problem areas or prevent the moisture in the first place, efforts are going to save damage to your rental investment.

There are a number of options for this and they are all good improvements to your rental property:

Install an extraction fan to you bathroom, which would remove an amount of moisture by increasing airflow.

Install a shower dome thereby preventing vapour from spreading onto your surfaces http://www.showerdome.co.nz/

Where practical showerdome is my preference in a rental property, because it really does prevent steam from entering the bathroom, whereas a fan will get rid of a portion, but water vapour is still there and clinging to the walls, and dollar for dollar there’s often not much difference in the two.

Install a range hood, because kitchens are a source of moisture and grease, it is worth having a range hood, these are great for extracting vapour smells and grease fumes, a must have strategy in keeping kitchens cleaner in the long term.

We have seen the results of investing in rental property to reduce moisture and we think it’s a wise move, mould can’t just be painted over, if it is not killed properly before painting it will simply grow behind the paint (http://www.resene.co.nz/pdf/MoulDefender.pdf). My preference for wet areas and greasy areas in rentals is to paint in enamel, its hard wearing and depending on the product should act as a vapour barrier, meaning water particles don’t pass thru to the coldest point and then act as mould home. An alternative is Space cote paint easy to apply and has antibacterial function.

If you have mould from or during a tenancy, you could consider these products for clean up: http://removehousemould.co.nz/

Rental property management for me is about long term durability, tenant appeal, and growing returns, preventing mould is a key part in meeting these criteria.


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