Property Management Guide: Mould Prevention in Properties

Property Management Guide: Mould Prevention in Properties

Mould prevention is a key concern for property managers, frequently encountered in their work. Addressing its formation and understanding the responsibility to prevent its growth is crucial for effective property management, as mould poses health risks and can damage the property.

What is Mould?

Mould is a fungal mass that is produced on wet materials by different fungi from food deterioration and plant diseases.
The moulds reproduce by means of tiny spores and seeds that are invisible to the naked eye. These spores float in the air and reside on a surface with adequate warmth, dampness, and food conditions to colonize. Their food is the dead and wet organic matter from animals, plants, and their waste products.

Moulds don’t have chlorophyll because they don’t get their energy from the sun. Instead, they thrive on dead and decaying food sources and plants by creeping in the rotten food, wet plastic, wet metal, wet concrete, organic dirt, and leaves by suffocating the tiny bugs beneath them.

Where Does It Occur In The Property?

All homes have the necessary elements for moulds formation. Moulds can be found in:
  • Bathroom: Around the pipes, showerhead, shower curtain, faucets, sink, toilet, walls, floors, and tile mortars during and after a bath.
  • Kitchen: Around and underneath the sink, faucets, garbage disposal, fridge, pantry, fridge drip trays, water dispenser, microwave, stoves, and window cutting boards.
  • Bedroom: In and around mattresses, windows and windows sills, AC & heating vents.
  • Living room: in couches, curtains, furniture with cloth covers, indoor plants.
  • Attic: on the roof that shows water damage, insulations, kitchen vent, bathroom vent, laundry vent, and water heater vent.
  • Basement: Around pipes, ducts, leaking foundations, damp windows and vents.
  • Storage: Near less moved storage areas and in and around storage room windows.

Other than the above-mentioned places, moulds can grow on the walls and ceilings, carpets, washers and dryers.

What Are The Causes?

Moulds can make their way into your home through open doors, AC ducts, and open windows. They can find a surface with oxygen, shade, and heat to grow on due to high humidity levels and water leaks. Within just three days of a warm wall getting wet or condense, you’ll have yourself a fungal mould colony on it.
The common causes of indoor moulds are as follows:
  • Wall, roof, window or foundation with water leaks
  • Condensation build up on windows and pipes
  • Dripping water pipes
  • Inferior window and wall insulation or poor construction material
  • A home with a high humidity level
  • Poor or no weather stripping around windows and doors
  • Wet basement
  • Wastewater blockage
  • The malfunctioning ventilation system in the kitchen or bathroom

What Are The Remedies Available?

Moulds are not toxic but can contribute to health issues like asthma and hay fever if you inhale the spores. Therefore, prioritizing mould prevention is crucial for your well-being, given that hazardous moulds like black Stachybotrys can form within 24-48 hours and persist until addressed.
  • Fetch a spray bottle and pour a 3% concentration of hydrogen peroxide in it. Spray the affected surface and leave it for 10-15 minutes. Next, scrub hard to remove moulds.
  • Put white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the mould surface with it. Leave the surface for an hour or two and clean it with water afterwards.
  • Make a mixture of water and add 1 quarter of a tablespoon of baking soda. Mix it well, spray the mould problematic area and apply a scrub brush right away to remove them. Rinse the area with water and spray the mixture again. Let the area dry itself out.
  • Add one teaspoon of tea tree oil with a cup of water in a spray bottle. Spray the mould affected area and leave it for an hour. Clean the surface with a cloth.
  • Squeeze 5 lemons and pour its juice straight on the mould growth surface. After a few minutes, wipe the surface clean.

Are there any legal implications?

If you are a landlord or a property manager of a residential property, your tenant can approach the local council for the mould growth problem arising from the landlord’s ignorance. Failing to comply with the mould issue can result in your property being put on a rouge databases list, or a fine, or a banning order that won’t allow you to let your property to anyone until the mould problem is gone.

A tenant, can also take legal action against the landlord if he or she is unwilling to do the major leak repairs to prevent mould growth. The court can either let the tenant carry out the repair work and deduct the repair cost from the rent or issue an order to the landlord to pay a compensation to a tenant or to do the necessary repairs.

What To Consider As A Property Manager?

As a property manager, it is your responsibility to protect the interests of the homeowner. Therefore, you should inspect the rented property to check for any sign of mould growth and its prevention.
  • Ask the tenant for videos and pictures of mould affected areas in the home.
  • Inspect the home and visually confirm the severity of the mould problem.
  • If the mould is established, confirm whether the mould is on the top of a surface or coming through it.
  • Write a complete report detailing the real cause of the mould problem.
  • Call in a mould removal specialist to get rid of moulds in the property.
  • Advise the property owner to improve ventilation and repair leaks, windows and doors to prevent mould regrowth.

Tenant Factsheet – Mould Prevention

If a tenant’s living style is the root cause of growing moulds around the home, it’s his or her responsibility to get rid of them and do the repairs as well. To keep mould in order, a tenant can do the following things to prevent mould formation.
  • Check for damaged window sills and cracked doors and report them to the property manager or the owner.
  • Make sure that the kitchen and bathroom ventilation system is working up to par.
  • Run an evaporation ventilation system without water.
  • Clean carpets regularly and dry them if water spills on them.
  • Keep the kitchen and bathroom dry after use.
  • Check for visible water leaks in the home.
  • Well ventilate the property.
  • Dry the items before storage.
  • Keep food in secure containers.
  • Allow as much sunlight as possible in the home.

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