Mouldy Rental Properties, Whose Responsibility is It to Fix it?

Mould is proving a major concern for tenants and landlords after increased rainfall and flooding across the state.

As mould can take weeks to emerge after flood waters recede, the number of rental properties affected by the problem is expected to rise.

The RTA’s call centre has been fielding an increasing number of calls about who is responsible for removing mould from rental properties. The answer depends on why the mould is there in the first place.

Although the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 doesn’t make specific reference to mould, it does detail requirements about the standard maintenance of a property throughout the agreement.

Based on these standards, it’s the responsibility of the tenant to notify the landlord or agent of any mould.

If the mould is a result of fair wear and tear in the premises, it is the landlord’s responsibility to clean the mould and make any repairs necessary to maintain the property in good repair.

If the tenant caused the mould, they are responsible for its removal and repair of any damage that may have been caused.

For example, if the tenant continually allowed steam to build up in the bathroom and kept all windows shut or extractor fans turned off resulting in mould, then the tenant may be liable. But if the mould is a result of a structural issue, then the landlord would be liable for the repairs.

If the landlord or tenant can’t agree about how to deal with the issue by talking with each other, the RTA’s dispute resolution service may be able to assist. You can apply for this service by lodging a Dispute resolution request (Form 16).

If dispute resolution is unsuccessful, an application can be made to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for an order.
Any arrangement between parties about mould should be included in the special terms of the tenancy agreement.

Source RTA Website, 03 February 2011

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