In New Zealand, issues with mould in older houses are quite common, and determining whose responsibility it is and what the appropriate actions are can be challenging. Let’s analyze the responsibilities and approaches of both tenants and landlords/property managers using a Tribunal case as an example.
A tribunal case: A tenant took their landlord to the Tribunal, claiming mould problems in the house. However, the tenant’s case was unsuccessful due to their failure to formally notify the landlord about the mould issues before applying to the Tribunal.
Absolutely, it’s crucial for both tenants and landlords/property managers to have a clear understanding of their respective responsibilities. This understanding and communication can help prevent disputes and ensure a smooth experience for both parties.
Tenant’s Responsibility: As occupants of the property, tenants should promptly document and alert the property manager or the landlord of the condition of the house, particularly regarding mould issues. While landlords or property managers conduct routine inspections, mould can develop gradually over a short period or worsen during specific seasons. Tenants should formally notify the landlord or property manager, preferably in writing, using a 14-day breach notice, to establish a record of the issue. Resorting directly to the Tribunal without prior communication is not the correct course of action.
Landlord and Property Manager’s Responsibility: Landlords and property managers indeed have a responsibility to ensure that the property remains mould-free, as mould can impact the tenant’s health and property value. However, tenant notification is crucial, as it provides landlords and property managers with an opportunity to address the problem. Once notified, it is the responsibility of the landlord and property manager to take appropriate action to resolve the issue, including repairs and preventive measures.
In conclusion, when mould issues arise in rental properties, both tenants and landlords share a certain level of responsibility. Tenants need to proactively notify and provide evidence, while landlords and property managers must take steps to address the problem. Effective communication and cooperation can lead to better handling of such issues, safeguarding the rights of tenants and the property value for landlords.