As a renter in Victoria, it is essential that you are aware of your rights and responsibilities when it comes to the maintenance and repair of your rented property. Among the issues that can arise is the problem of mould, which not only poses a health risk but can also cause damage to your belongings and the property itself. In this blog post, we will provide you with a detailed checklist of what to do if you suspect there is mould in your property. We will also discuss recent changes to the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018 and other related regulations that affect your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. Also check out what Consumer Affairs has to say.
1. Identify the Signs of Mould
Mould is usually found in damp or humid areas. Check areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, ceilings, and walls for any signs of mould growth. Look out for musty odours, discolouration, and dampness in the air and on surfaces.
2. Notify Your Landlord or Property Manager
Once you have identified mould in your property, it is essential to notify your landlord or property manager as soon as possible. You can do this by phone, email, or in person. Ensure that you provide detailed information about the location and extent of the mould growth.
3. Request an Inspection
Your landlord or property manager must arrange for an inspection of the mould growth within a set timeframe. If they fail to respond, you can contact the Tenants Union of Victoria or Consumer Affairs Victoria for assistance.
4. Follow Up on Repairs
If the inspection confirms the presence of mould and its cause is due to the building structure or other level of disrepair of the property, it is up to the landlord to fix the issue. The tenant will only need to take remedial action to address the mould if they contributed towards it by their actions in the property. It is important to follow up on the repairs and ensure that they have been carried out satisfactorily.
5. Keep Records
Ensure that you keep a detailed record of all communications with your landlord or property manager, as well as any inspections, repairs, and results. This information may be necessary if there is a dispute between you and your landlord or if you need to lodge a complaint with Consumer Affairs Victoria.
As a renter in Victoria, it is your right to live in a safe and healthy environment free from mould or other hazards. The recent changes to the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018 and other regulations have improved your rights and obligations in relation to mould. By following the checklist in this blog post, you can ensure that you take the necessary steps to deal with mould in your property promptly and effectively. Remember to keep a record of all communications and documentation related to the mould issue. In case of any unresolved issues, you can seek assistance from the Tenants Union of Victoria or Consumer Affairs Victoria.
As a postscript, it's always interesting reading to read an actual VCAT determination around water damage and mould in residential tenancy. I'd suggest a careful reading of this determination: