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Tel: 1300 30 40 54
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Consumer Protection receives many enquiries from tenants about the presence of mould in their rental properties. The tenants are often concerned about the impact of the mould on their health, and the failure of the agency to remedy the problem.
As you would be aware, mould is a fungal growth that thrives on moisture. It can grow in homes during the wetter months when conditions are damp, dark and poorly ventilated. Mould can grow in bathrooms, kitchens, cluttered storage areas, wall and roof spaces and behind furniture.
When mould dries out or is disturbed, it releases spores which can cause illness in some people or exacerbate existing health issues; such as asthma, respiratory infections, sinus problems, rashes and watery itchy red eyes.
Mould can also cause unpleasant odours and damage to building materials, contents and structures, which may lead to expensive maintenance or management costs.
The prevention of mould in the rental property requires a joint effort by both the lessor and the tenants. Moisture must be both restricted from entering the premises and from being generated indoors.
Common sources of moisture in the home include:
Potentially, either party can be at fault for damage caused by mould, depending upon the circumstances.
Under tenancy law, the lessor must:
A lessor could be in breach of the rental agreement if mould develops as a result of not attending to maintenance matters reported by the tenant, such as:
Property managers should encourage property owners to clean gutters frequently, so as to reduce the risk of rainwater overflow into the property during storms.
Under tenancy law, tenants must:
A tenant may be in breach of their rental agreement, if mould develops because they:
Property managers should remind tenants of the need to adequately ventilate the property during winter despite cold temperatures.
If mould causes damage to the premises or belongings, the affected party can seek to obtain an order from the Magistrates Court for compensation. The affected party must bear in mind that while the other party may be at fault for causing the damage, the affected party must make every reasonable effort to mitigate their own losses. For example, the tenant should remove their clothing from a wardrobe where mould is growing or the lessor should promptly attend to any reports of dampness before mould can grow.
Further information and assistance is available from:
Additionally, there is information on rental home maintenance and repairs page.
Important: From 3 July 2017, it has been compulsory to use Form 19 for those circumstances, where you may enter the rental premises.