As a tenant in a rental property, you are responsible for keeping the property clean and orderly. Should there be damage to the property, you need to report it to the landlord or to the real estate agent who manages the property. Does mould count as damage? It's something that can affect any home, regardless of its age, although of course older properties are more susceptible as untreated mould has had longer to develop. So what do you need to do if you discover mould in your rented property?
Document the Mould
Should you need to prove the severity of the mould at a later stage, you will need to document the problem. Take clear photographs of the mould, using a flash to show the mould in the greatest possible detail.
You will need to contact the landlord or real estate agent to inform them of the problem. It might feel like it's the quickest and easiest option to clean the mould yourself by using an anti-microbe scrub (available from hardware shops), but the agent or landlord might have their own required procedure to deal with the issue.
Request an Inspection
Hopefully the mould will be an isolated incident, but it's important to be thorough. Request a professional mould inspection. The visible mould will be noted, and other parts of the property will also be inspected. Mould might be developing inside a ceiling or wall, even if it's not yet visible on the plaster.
Mould can be caused by any number of sources, and it might be a leaking pipe inside a wall, or perhaps an issue with the roof that is allowing a small amount of moisture into the ceiling cavity. If the issue is not your fault, you are well within your rights to request that any damage is repaired as soon as possible.
If the landlord or estate agent does not take reasonable action to fix the issue, you might wish to consider vacating the property. In most cases, mould is little more than an inconvenience. Mould spores can be a health hazard if you or anyone in your home is affected by asthma or another respiratory ailment, or has a compromised immune system for any reason. You can claim that the property is not habitable due to the mould. This is a worst case scenario, and a property owner or manager will most likely fix the problem without any further disputes. It's in their best interests to maintain the property in order to secure the income that comes from renting it. Having said that, if the mould is deemed to be your fault, then you might be liable for cleaning and any repairs. This could be damage to the property that has allowed moisture to penetrate the premises, or failure to reasonably ventilate the property (particularly in the bathroom and laundry areas).
Mould will only get worse, so should you notice mould growing on a wall or ceiling in your rented property, you will need to take immediate action.