In this post we will discuss what a tenant (ie renter or leasee) do if his or her house is mouldy? Can the lease be terminated and can compensation be claimed?
A landlord has an obligation provide a property that is clean and fit for habitation at the start of the lease. The landlord also has an obligation to maintain the property in a reasonable state of repair throughout the lease. These obligations are expressly included in the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (RTA) and are an implied term in all lease contracts.
Providing a property that is mouldy and damp can be a serious health issue and may be a breach of the RTA. The tenant can potentially claim for compensation (damages) to property (eg clothes, couches etc) as well as personal injury (eg illness) resulting from mould exposure. The landlord may also be liable to the tenant under the common law of negligence.
A tenant should continue to pay the rent and ask the landlord to fix the problem. If the landlord refuses and the tenant thinks his or her health is in immediate danger, the tenant should move out and ask to be released from the lease. The tenant could apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) and seek an order that the lease be ended and the bond returned. By continuing to pay the rent until the matter is heard the tenant will be in a far stronger position than relying on an argument that the landlord had repudiation the lease.