Rent complaints rise amid mold outbreak in Sydney

Mold is thriving in Sydney, leading to a spate of complaints from frustrated tenants. But who is responsible for paying the bill?

Sydney residents have been battling a sudden outbreak of toxic mold in their homes after the summer of record rains, with tenants and landlords arguing over who should foot the bill for the damage.

With reports of mushrooms growing on walls and mold spores thriving in the unusually high indoor humidity, rent complaints have skyrocketed.

Data from NSW Fair Trading showed that more than half of the 359 rental complaints and a quarter of the written inquiries received in the first three months of the year in 1992 related to maintenance and repairs.

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The majority of these complaints were due to serious water and mold problems, according to a Fair Trading spokesperson.

Tenants also reported that properties were put up for rent without being cleaned first, despite landlords having a responsibility to provide a safe environment for tenants.

Matt Reardon of Mold Buster said he received hundreds of calls every week from Sydneysiders affected by mold.

He said many of these came from tenants who had been told by property managers that the problem was “their fault.”

“Renting out is terrible,” said Mr. Reardon. “I’ve had people call me in tears.

“People call me and say, ‘I’m sick, the kids are sick, the cops tell me it’s all my fault’.”

Mr Reardon said the unusual level of damp and cold this winter meant the Sydney mold problem could continue well into spring, with double brick properties low to the ground being the most vulnerable.

Cronulla tenant Rebecca Bath was shocked to find a mushroom growing from a crack in her ceiling after more than 10 maintenance requests to a leaking roof went unfulfilled for 14 months.

She complained to NSW Fair Trading before the agent arranged the repair.

In the northern beaches, Anna Tsitses came across several moldy properties when she attended open inspections last month.

“One place you couldn’t see from the screen – it was rotten,” said Ms. Tsitses.

Ms. Tsitses asked the property manager if the mold would be cleaned, and she replied, “Oh, well, I don’t know – I could ask.”

Ben Pretty, co-founder of RentRabbit, said tenants were tired of landlords not addressing mold problems.

“Almost every day we get comments from frustrated tenants who don’t understand why landlords keep increasing their rent and yet refuse to properly maintain their property,” said Mr. Pretty.

“Some landlords try to pass it off as dirty.”

: Another national head of Property Partners, Danielle Bunton, said mold could be the landlord’s or tenant’s responsibility, depending on whether the problem was a structural or ventilation problem.

“If it’s a building or structural problem, it’s most likely the landlord’s responsibility to treat and fix the mold problem, but it could be the tenant’s responsibility if, for example, they didn’t open windows while showering,” she said. .

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Originally published as Rent Complaints Rise amid Sydney Mold Outbreak

Read related topics:Sydney

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