How to deal with mould
Mould can present a number of health risks. To prevent mould from growing, it’s important to make sure your home is properly ventilated.
One of the most frequent problems to occur in a rental property is the build up of mould. Mould is a common fungus which grows in wet or moist areas, for example the bathroom, basement, kitchen cupboards and laundry, as well as in other areas of the home where the conditions are suitable for mould.
‘Anywhere in the home where there is moisture and a lack of ventilation is an ideal environment for mould to grow,’ explains Marshall White property manager Ashlee Verma. It can be blue, green, black or brown in appearance.
‘There are at least 150,000 species of mould, in just about every colour,’ says John Liddell, director of The Mould Doctor. ‘People are usually most anxious about black mould, but mould doesn’t have to be black to be hazardous.’
Mould can present a number of health risks. Inhaling mould spores can occasionally cause a lung infection, but more commonly induces irritation of the eyes and skin and a runny nose. If you have a mould allergy, it can present a very serious health risk, especially to your respiratory system.
To prevent mould from growing, it’s important to make sure your home is properly ventilated.
‘Allow air flow through the property,’ Ashlee advises. ‘Sometimes it’s not enough just to open a window, you have to allow cross ventilation to get a breeze through the whole house.’
John also recommends being mindful of your home’s ventilation. ‘Be particularly aware of ventilation if you live in an apartment, as apartments often are difficult to ventilate properly,’ he says.
Simple things you can do to ventilate your home include making sure the exhaust fan is turned on while showering or using the tumble dryer, and regularly cleaning your shower, bathroom and kitchen.
If a tenant discovers mould in their home, they should alert their property manager immediately by email and include photos of the mould, indicating its position and size.
“Be particularly aware of ventilation if you live in an apartment, as apartments often are difficult to ventilate properly,”
‘It’s important that you speak to your property manager so we can work on identifying the source of the mould to stop it from growing further,’ Ashlee says.
John urges caution for tenants when cleaning mould and encourages them to check the chemicals contained in any cleaning products used and how they might react with mould.
‘If tenants are going to try and clean mould themselves, wear a face mask and protective clothing to reduce the risk of inhalation and irritation,’ he says.
Minor amounts of mould can be cleaned up by the tenant, provided they take all necessary precautions. Larger amounts of mould should be dealt with by a professional.
It’s vital to alert a property manager as soon as you notice mould, so they can work together with the tenant and landlord to determine an appropriate course of action.
Mould can be easily dealt with once identified, but it’s much better to prevent its growth in the first place.
‘People are starting to consider mould as the new asbestos,’ John says. ‘We can treat the symptoms, but it’s most important for us to deal with the cause.’
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