Above us all!
This subject is definitely over the head of all your tenants, but many landlords are missing vital information about this subject that can be very expensive and time consuming too….. Ceilings.
Whose responsibility is it to keep ceilings clean?
I’m sure most of you are thinking “It’s the tenants responsibility to keep the property clean!” Generally that is correct but consider mould that gets very bad during the winter because the extractor fan in the bathroom is faulty.
How about the tenant that complains about bad mould in the kids bedrooms that is causing the kids to be ill and it’s caused by a combination of lack of roof insulation and blocked spouting?
Past Tenancy Tribunal decisions have found that minimising mould is a joint tenant/landlord responsibility. Mould grows in places of high humidity, you can decrease humidity by ensuring the property has adequate insulation, ventilation and heating. The tenants can ventilate and heat the property to reduce the likelihood of mould developing. On the other hand the property may be prone to mould because of where and how it is built, a faulty extractor fan or lack of insulation which are all the landlord’s responsibility.
If tenants complain of health problems you should act quickly especially if the mould is in bedrooms. Don’t assume it is imagined by the tenant or a ploy to have the whole place painted. Health problems from mould, and the spores they create is very real. A recent World Health Organisation reports says “There is clinical evidence that exposure to mould and other dampness-related microbial agents increases the risks of conditions, such as hypersensitivity pneumonitis, allergic alveolitis, chronic rhinosinusitis and allergic fungal sinusitis. The increasing prevalences of asthma and allergies in many countries increase the number of people susceptible to the effects of dampness and mould in buildings.”
So how do you clean mould from ceilings?
If you look it up on the internet a bleach solution or hydrogen peroxide mix (very similar properties to bleach) is usually suggested but unintended drips can destroy a carpet and damage tenants property. If you call most general house cleaners they are VERY reluctant to clean ceilings. It is hard on the neck, back and shoulders and if they usually stand on a ladder and rub it clean it can damage the Mat ceiling finish by creating shiny rubmarks which only a re-paint will fix. Your best bet is to use specialty ceiling cleaners that use no chemicals or bleaches. They use high temperature dry steam that kills the mould on contact and removes mould, flydirt and grease without causing rubmarks. A professional ceiling cleaning company that services Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Hamilton areas is Spot Free, www.spotfree.co.nz 0800-426-264
If you find that you and your tenants cannot agree about who is responsible for the mould problem, either party can take the dispute to the Tenancy Tribunal. For more information on the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants, contact the Department of Building and Housing at 0800 TENANCY (0800 83 62 62) or visit the website: www.dbh.govt.nz. Published in “Property Investor August 2012″