Here on the Sunshine Coast Qld it sure can get wet. When it rains heavily for several days, properties are badly impacted. But who is responsible for what ? The tenant or the landlord. Well it depends.
Reporting issues when its wet
Firstly the tenant is responsible to report anything that may occurred due to rain or flooding. It’s certainly important to report any issues as they occur. Definitely don’t leave it as it could become very serious fast.
In very wet weather mould is a major issue. In fact right now I have a fair amount of mould in my own home. Here are 2 photos of my laptop bag.
It’s been sitting in my sunroom for about a week. Yes my sun room. Which is light and airy. Look at all the mould. What you also need to realise is I live in a home that has high ceilings and we keep the doors and windows open all the time. Yes all the time. Because we have a big covered deck around it. So this is the effect of very wet weather in a very light filled room, that is constantly getting air because windows and a door are open.
So if I was a tenant would I be responsible or would the landlord ? Well the tenant would. It’s not the landlords issue. Tenants need to take responsibility to deal with mould like this, fast.
Let’s look at my ensuite. It’s also has high ceilings and gets lots of fresh air. It’s too has mould. Nasty. Again this is a tenant issue. It’s simply something that can’t be avoided but tenants need to jump on it fast to get rid of mould before it turns into a major problem.
Now check this out. . Can you see there is one large mould spot on this ceiling.
This is due to a leak in the roof. So the tenant is off the hook. Yay. It’s an owner issue. The roof has a leak and it needs to be urgently repaired before more damage is done.
So mould is usually the tenants responsibility unless there is something wrong with the property.
Water, air and humidity all impact mould.
What can tenants do to manage mould ?
First you need to realise here in Qld on the Sunshine Coast, mould is just part of life. It’s hard to avoid. If you work a lot and your home is locked up and the windows are closed a lot of the time, you are going to get mould. Probably a lot of it. Look at me. My home is open and airy, has high ceilings and still I get mould. So the first thing you need to do is have windows and doors open as much as possible, fans on also help. If you work a lot consider opening all your windows when you get home and leave them open until you leave for work in the morning. Of course as long as it’s not raining. Keep fans on. If you have an air conditioner many have a dry setting where they just blow air and take the moisture out of the air like a humidifier. You can read more about the dry setting on air conditioners here. Consider investing in a humidifier. They do an amazing job and if you see how much water they collect over 24 hours you’ll be a little shocked. You can read more about humidifier here.
How can a tenant remove mould ?
If you have mould you need to get rid of it fast. It can be dangerous stuff. You can call in a professional like Essential Shield. They can come and remove the mould for you safely or they can supply you safe eco friendly product called Mr Mould that you can buy here that will and you can do it yourself. You can use vinegar to spray on mould. Or from a hardware you can buy hard core spray that will get rid of it. Mould Off is very effective which you can see here.
Driveways, Pathways, External Walls, Balcony and decks
All these areas are the tenant is responsible for keeping free of mould & water. During the rainy seasons you will see walls, pathways, balcony’s getting a build up of mould or even just water sitting on the. At my home my driveway gets very slippery and very dangerous, so I need to high pressure wash it once a year to manage that. If I didn’t someone would certainly slip and possibly break something. I have a few paths around my home that also get mould on them.
A high pressure spray yearly looks after these. It’s surprisingly time consuming but important. You can buy products to help with this, but I have not had much success so just use water.
What about walls of the property ? Well tenants are responsible for the entire property including outside, so yes including walls too. If you have any walls with mould on them you need to deal with it. Again a high pressure cleaner will do the job. If the wall is cement-rendered and painted you do need to be extra careful not to blast off the paint.
To help mould budge easier on external surfaces please consider using a pre wash mould detergent. Essential Shield, sell a eco friendly product here or a chemical based option called Mould Off can be found here. If you do not keep mould off external walls it can then start to grow inside as well, which is why you need to be on top of it.
Down Pipes are interesting. It’s common for these to get mould on them. It’s usually the responsibility for the tenant to manage. But if the down pipe as a leak or is dripping, then it’s the owners responsibility to get that fixed. So each situation needs to be considered on it’s own merit.
Dirt or gravel driveways are another issue. These get long deep ruts in them that water just pushes to make large channels to escape.
A well built drive will have an arch so water should run to either side. I know what’s not viable is for a landlord to re gravel a driveway every time it get a rut in it as it will probably return the next time rains heavily. I find that usually dirt or gravel driveways need to be redone around every 3 to 4 years.
Drains can become blocked due to debris flowing into them. If this occurs the owners are responsible to ensuring this is cleaned out. But I am talking about major drain blockage issues. If it’s a bit of dirt or leaves over a drain on a pathway the tenant needs to handle this.
Water inside the home
Even at my own home, when the rain is coming down it’s hard to keep water off the floors. What we do is we have about 3 towels down at the font, kitchen & back doors. We also take our shoes off outside before we walk in. Water still manages to get inside on the floors sometimes. But usually it’s the 12 towels we have down that soak up moist of it. So what do we do with 12 wet towels ? Every few days we swap them out with new ones. Tenants need to realise it’s unacceptable for water to be carried inside the property and onto the floors.
It doesn’t matter if it’s tiles, floor boards or carpet. They are not suppose to be getting wet. Tenants also need to consider this with windows. If rain is coming, windows all need to be shut to protect the property. Sounds so simple but it’s a surprise how people can forget to close a window for a week then damage has been caused.
Tenants are not responsible for gutters. But it’s the tenants responsibility to report if gutters are full of leaves or overflowing. It’s the owners job to keep these free of leaves and ensure they are not blocked or have holes in them. Blocked gutters can cause excess water to spill over onto decks, balconies, pathways making them a slip hazard. Landlords need to treat this seriously and ensure gutters on their investment properties are clean and in good working condition. This is a little more important with acreage properties where the water tanks are filled. If a gutter is blocked then the water tanks are not able to be filled as quickly as possible.
The cost of not keeping gutters clean of leaves can be huge. I know from personal experience. One of my investments here in Buderim on the Sunshine Cost Qld. The gutters had leaves in them. I had no idea, the gutters overflowed into the ceiling. So all the insulation bats became very wet. I still had no idea. It was not until the tenant noticed large black strips of mould along the corners of the ceilings was all this brought to my attention.
The damage was now done. We had to have a specialist remove the mould, the gutters had to be cleaned. We had a builder assess the damage and all the insulation bats had to be removed and thrown away. Total cost was around $4,000. Nasty stuff. All could have been avoided if I had kept a close eye on the leaves or if the tenant had reported it. Shame.
Mould on Ceilings & walls
Small mould marks on ceilings and walls are usually an issue the tenant needs to manage. Sometimes mould starts by looking like a very light film that is almost impossible to see.
It can stay like this for some time, but it’s still mould. This is also the perfect time to get on top of it before it gets worse and cost the tenant more to manage and remove.
If a mould spot on the ceiling or wall is very isolated like in the previous example it’s highly likely this is a leak and the landlord needs to act fairly fast to get it looked into.
Tenants are mainly responsible for ventilation. Mainly through windows and doors being open, fans being on. Air cons being set to dry. Landlords may choose to install whirly birds in the roof. Previously I spoke about my own home. I have 2 whirly birds installed and even with everything we actively do we still get mould.
Curtains & blind
Tenants need to look after these too. Mould is going to grow on the curtains & blinds. Especially with curtains people don’t think about looking behind them but I bet if you did you’d see small black mould spots. Well that is the responsibility of the tenant. The same with the blades of venetian blinds they get tiny spots on them that are mould.
Bathrooms & showers
Almost every house has mould on the ceilings of their bathrooms and ensuite. Tenants are responsible for this. The easiest way to manage it is keeping windows open and the exhaust fan on. But mould will grow fast around the tiles of showers and baths.
Again tenants are responsible. Unless there is a leak in the roof or a leak in the shower. It’s all mainly tenants that need to handle it. If you do remove all the mould and it returns fast then it’s possible there is a leak somewhere and that needs to be considered.
Lawns & garden
In the wet lawns become incredibly soggy and may remain wet even a week after the rain has stopped. In these conditions lawns grow extra fast and so do weeds. What’s important is the moment the rain stops tenants need to appreciate they are still responsible for this and need to get the mower out to get them back in control. It’s common after a big down poor weeds and even mushrooms pop up everywhere and seem to grow in front of your eyes. Again the tenant needs to plan for a working bee the moment the rain stops. It’s fair enough tenants can’t maintain a garden in heavy rain but they need to get straight on top of it once the sun is back out.
In heavy rain, it’s mainly the tenants responsibility to continue to care for the home unless there is some type of damage that the landlords need to get fixed. If you know very heavy rain is coming you need to plan around this. Ensure your driveways are free of rubbish, see if the gutters might need to be cleaned out. Prepare to keep inside of the home dry and mould free using all the suggestions above. If in doubt, shoot an email to your property manager for additional guidance.