What Tenants, Landlords Can Do to Prevent Mould

by Chris on October 13, 2020

With pandemic precautions still in place as we approach the winter months, it is important for landlords to limit property visits. Mould is a pesky problem that is difficult to remedy once it takes hold. Potential health consequences require both tenants and landlords to do what they can to prevent or mitigate mould issues.

What Tenants Can Do to Control Mould

Tenants can play a central role in the mitigation of mould risks simply by being informed and cooperating with landlords in fixing any potential problems as early as possible. Encouraging tenants to report suspected mould growth to the landlord is a good first step.

Mould needs moisture to grow. Bathrooms, kitchens, and basements are the most likely areas that mould will take hold. Advising tenants to be particularly vigilant in these places can eliminate the need for a visit — or several visits — to cure the problem.

Tenants should watch for water leaks or standing water under sinks and around appliances. Tenants also should report deteriorated grout around tubs, showers, and sinks, and cracked weatherstripping around windows.

Tenants can reduce mould by:

Paying attention to the humidity levels. Running exhaust fans will help. Closing interior doors, such as the bathroom door while showering can keep mould from growing in lower traffic areas, including the walls behind furnishings;

Wiping down the bathroom tile and walls can greatly reduce the excess moisture in the room;

Not leaving windows open for prolonged periods if the weather is humid;

Not storing clothes that are damp. Air-drying clothing in a small space can create condensation, particularly on the ceiling; and,

Avoiding clutter. Furnishings should not block air flow vents or be pushed so close to walls that no air can circulate. Cardboard boxes stored in high humidity areas easily can breed mould.

How Landlords Can Prevent Mould

Landlords can limit the moisture present in a rental property by investing in a dehumidifier for problem areas. A hygrometer — an inexpensive tool that measures humidity — makes it easier to control outbreaks of mould before they happen. Humidity generally should be below 50 percent.

It is important that vents to the dryer, bathroom exhaust fans, and kitchen hood reach outside.

During routine property inspections, watch for water leaks in less visible places like behind the washing machine and under air conditioning units, furnaces, and hot water heaters.

Don’t discourage tenants from reporting suspected mould. Tenants will not report problems is they feel they will be criticized.

Take extra precautions to follow up after a flood where mould could form weeks later in saturated walls or flooring.

If necessary, apply mould inhibitors to areas with frequent outbreaks.

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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