MOULD IN STRATA
The ongoing rain along the east coast of NSW and Sydney have sparked renewed concerns of mould in people’s apartments, making this a common complaint from people living in strata. Current data shows that approximately 27% of tenant are stating that their apartment has mould issues.
Who is responsible for mould in a strata property?
It depends on the location of the mould, and what initially caused the mould to develop. However, the owners corporation are only reasonable to address mould if it is due to a direct cause which would be a leaking pipe, or failed waterproofing.
In strata apartments, mould typically grows indoor in wet or moist areas lacking adequate ventilation, including walls, wallpaper, ceilings, bathroom tiles, carpets, and insulation material such as cardboard and wood.
In a rental apartment situation, the property owner is normally responsible for fixing the mould problem as the property owner is responsible for ensuring their tenant have a healthy, mould-free environment.
However, if the property owner can show the mould is the result of the tenant’s inactions such as not using exhaust fans or not opening windows/doors for airflow, the tenant may be liable to compensate the landlord for damage.
Agents and property owners should investigate the cause before the Owners Corporation becomes involved. Any investigation by the Owners Corporation that incurs costs, may be charged back to the property owner if it is found not to be a common property issue.
Some common mould causations in apartments include:
- Condensation in winter on walls/windows from temperature differences between heated interiors and cold exteriors
- High levels of humidity in summer and temperature differences of cold interiors and heated exteriors
- Condensation from hot showers causing mould on bathroom walls and ceilings, especially if there is no exhaust fan and/or ventilation
- Windows closed all day with lack of adequate air flow
- Burst pipes or water leaks coming from an apartment above
- Strata blocks that are in shade all day and receive no or little sun
- Lack of adequate waterproofing allowing water to leak inside an apartment