Mould – who is responsible for payment of cleaning of mould?

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Forums Repairs and maintenance Mould – who is responsible for payment of cleaning of mould?

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  • #75282
    stratify
    Member

    Hi YSP community,

    I have a question about mould. I’m the chair of a small block in NSW.

    We are in the process of getting ongoing water penetration issues sorted out. Part of this has involved us recently having a building inspection undertaken. During the recent inspection the inspector flagged up some mould in one of the apartments in our block that is rented to tenants. The tenants mentioned this to their agent, and the agent is now agitating for the cleaning of this mould to be paid for by the strata.

    We are yet to receive the inspection report, but if there’s any issues in the roof or commons areas contributing to this issue, we will obviously address these as a matter of urgency.

    But in the meantime, my understanding is that in NSW the responsibility for the payment for the removal of mould lies with owners, not the strata? Is that correct?

    There’s been 3 other apartments (including my own) that have also been affected by mould that is probably due to water penetration from the common areas. Our strata manager has advised on all of these occasions that the mould is the owner’s responsibility, not the strata. So we want to be consistent and I want to make sure that I am understanding this correctly.

    Here’s some links to things I’ve found in relation to this:

    https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/strata-and-community-living/strata-schemes/repairs-and-maintenance

    The relevant section being:

    There is damp and mould in my unit

    The owners corporation is responsible for water penetration problems coming in through external walls or the floor. The owner is responsible for the mould on their walls.

    I’ve seen other links saying that if the source of the mould is from the common area then the mould is the strata’s responsibly.

    Thanks in advance.

    #82400
    ts1904
    Expert

    Hi Stratify,

    The mould exists within the airspace of the lot, which is why the strata manager would be advising the owner to clean it.

    The mould treatment/inspection report will attempt to identify the cause but in my experience the reports are very broad (i.e. it could be water ingress, but could also be a lack of ventilation, or the occupants steaming their clothes etc).

    This puts you in a situation where you don’t truly know the cause.

    In my opinion, if common sense suggests the cause is a failure of the common property, the owners corporation would then reimburse the owner on the basis of Section 106(5) of the Act.

    If not, the owner accepts the cost, or challenges it via the Tribunal (although I remember reading somewhere that recently there was a case confirming that the Tribunal doesn’t have the power to make costs orders and that this would need to go to the Courts, but that’s another issue).

    #83470
    Ronsta……..
    Member

    I Agree with ts904.

    R

    #99202
    Amanda Farmer
    Expert

    +1 to ts1904 – including that we can no longer claim damages (ie: money claims) in the Tribunal. There’s a podcast on that just around the corner!

    Amanda.

    #105818
    stratify
    Member

    Thanks ts1904, P Plater and Amanda for your replies and info. Much appreciated.

    I’ll keep you posted on how we get on with this.

    This is definitely a great topic for a podcast episode Amanda.

    Thanks all

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