Mould that will only be fixed if we renew our lease | Rental rants | Flat Chat Forum: Your Questions Answered
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Hi there Jimmy,
Our apartment has a mould problem that was not disclosed to us before signing the lease and we found out after moving in from one of the owner occupiers that the problem affects two other apartments and is due to the builder not taking the necessary precautions to minimise mould and moisture.
We have complained about this on several occasions since moving in 12 months ago as we are concerned about the health risks. Someone was only sent to assess the mould in our apartment and what could be done about it recently (a week before the lease was due to expire). The assessor said that any measures he took would only be temporary (3 – 4 months) and the better option would be to fix what is wrong with the building.
The agent has since told us that the landlord will agree to have the mould cleaned and removed by the assessor only IF we agree to sign a lease for another year. Is this legal? It certainly doesn’t seem right that our health is being held hostage based on whether we agree to another 12 months.
Many thanks in advance,
The landlord has a responsibility to provide healthy and safe accommodation. Mould is a potential health hazard so they are required to fix this, regardless of who signs a lease for when.
The Owners Corporation (body corporate) has a responsibility to maintain and repair common property (like walls) and the landlord should be hassling them, not you.
If the building is less than six years old, the Owners Corp should be hassling the builder to fix the defects.
However, unfortunately you are the low man on the totem pole and everyone is shifting their responsibilities down to you. Firstly, you should be demanding a rent reduction from the time that the mould was first reported.
Secondly, if you are in the last week of the tenancy and you haven’t either been give a notice to quit or signed a new agreement, you are effectively in a periodic tenancy which means the landlord has to give you three months notice if they want you out.
The have to fix the mould, regardless of whether you sign a new lease and you should tell them that you will only sign a new lease when the mould is fixed.
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