If there ever was something dreaded by both tenants and landlords, it would be mold. Regular property maintenance will help keep on top of this uninvited lodger, and we all know that prevention is better than cure.
To be best placed at keeping mold out of your rental, you first need to know more about what mold is and where to find it, and what property maintenance is required to reduce the likelihood it pays a visit.
Finding Mold in All the Wrong Places
Mold is a fungus that is found both inside and outside, and it thrives in areas with excessive moisture. Mold spores enter a property through windows, doors, air conditioning units and vents, as well as on people and pets. When these spores land on moist areas, they begin to grow and usually show up as dark-coloured spots.
Bathrooms, kitchens, window frames and panes, walls, ceilings, carpets, laundries, and bedrooms are common areas where mold is often seen. You should also search behind blinds and curtains, furniture close to walls, in cupboards and wardrobes, and ceilings are also A DIY mold testing kit can also help you identify growth in areas without any visible signs, or you can hire a professional to test for you.
Stop Mold with Regular Property Maintenance
It is important to remove any mold once you are notified of it and add mold inspection and treatment to your property maintenance checklist. This is because not only can it cause damage to and within your rental, but it can also have negative effects on the health of people using the property. Fever, shortness of breath, allergic reactions, wheezing, itchy eyes, and skin are just some of the negative effects people may have.
While your tenants do have a role to play in reducing the likelihood of mold appearing, you also play a role during your property maintenance regime:
- Check that extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom are working correctly and install them if they are not present.
- Ensure that the tenant’s dryer is correctly vented outside the property.
- Look for signs of leaks on walls, around doors, windows and from the roof, and repair if required. Leaks are also commonly found under sinks and dishwashers, under the washing machine, around toilets and underneath heat pumps and radiators.
- Identify damp areas inside your rental using damp finding kits, look for signs of condensation, and by feeling walls and floors for moisture. Consider providing a dehumidifier for the tenant to use and encourage them to use an air conditioner or open windows regularly to dry the room.
- Ensure that water is draining properly away from your property and if not, engage the services of a professional to sort this for you.
- Check that any caulking around the seals of showers, windows and doors is adequate, adding more if required.
- Clean external gutters frequently, as roof leaks easily occur when blockages are present.
It is also important that your tenants understand what they can do to reduce the opportunity for mold to grow, and property inspections are a good time to reiterate the following points to them:
- Open windows for short periods each day
- Wipe up any spills or puddles immediately
- Use exhaust fans when cooking, showering and bathing
- Shut the doors to the kitchen and bathroom when using to reduce moisture spread
- Remove any condensation on walls and windows with a dry cloth
- Use a dehumidifier in rooms with high humidity and moisture levels
- Dry-washing outdoors or in the dryer, not inside
Molds may cause medical problems and have been linked to asthma, allergies, fever, shortness of breath, stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Remember that as a landlord, it is in your best interests to keep your rental mold-free, and regular inspections and maintenance are two of the best ways you can achieve this.