Mould is challenging to treat once it takes root in your home, so prevention is the easiest way to beat this culprit in the winter months. 

The issue can be the landlord or tenant’s responsibility, depending on whether the problem is a structural or ventilation issue.

If it’s a building or structural issue, it’s most often your landlord’s responsibility to treat and rectify the mould issue. However, it becomes your responsibility if, for example, you weren’t opening windows while showering or you’ve done something else to limit airflow.

Health tip: If you need to remove mould from your home, always wear gloves and a mask. If it covers a large area, contact your property manager/landlord and get expert help.

Here’s a handy list of ways to reduce excess moisture and humidity within your home.

GENERAL

  • Open your curtains and blinds during the day to let the sun into your home
  • Ventilate your rooms by opening windows and doors. This will keep your windows and walls dry. Consider using extractor fans and heating rooms with dry heat

LIVING AREAS

  • Regularly air and clean your carpets and rugs
  • Keep your indoor plant collection under control (they create humidity!)
  • Clean regularly; dirt and dust can be a contributing factor to mould growth
  • Try to place furniture an inch or so away from the walls

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KITCHEN

  • Run your exhaust or range hood van. Cooking can generate large amounts of steam, so this will prevent a build-up of steam and moisture
  • Try to use lids on your pots and pans; this will help avoid steam build-up
  • Wipe any wet stains from surfaces after use (sinks, kitchen counters, tiles, etc.)
  • Regularly clean your exhaust or range hood fan to avoid blockages

BATHROOM

  • Run the exhaust fan when you use hot plumbing to prevent moisture build-up on surfaces
  • Open your bathroom windows to allow any moisture to escape
  • Make sure your exhaust fan is clear and clean at all times
  • Add cold water to your bath first to reduce steam production

LAUNDRY

  • Dry your clothes and linen thoroughly before you put them away
  • Open a window when you use a drier with a vent on the front to avoid moisture build-up
  • Dry your clothes in a cool area. This will take longer, but less moisture will be held in the air
  • Leave your washing machine door open after each wash to allow moisture to escape
  • Remove wet clothes from your machine immediately after a wash
  • Where possible, dry your clothes outside

BEDROOMS AND CUPBOARDS

  • Keep cupboards and bedrooms uncluttered and well ventilated
  • Store your dry items in sealed, plastic containers
  • Maintain good air movement in storage areas

HEATING

  • On cool days, try to keep the inside temperature at least five degrees higher than outside
  • Provide a continuous low level of dry heat to reduce condensation and mould growth

Health tip: If your rental is prone to dampness, invest in a dehumidifier. These machines will literally suck moisture out of the air, which will help prevent mould from growing in the first place.

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Can you break your lease because of mould?

If your property (or part of the property) is deemed uninhabitable or unusable, you or your landlord may be able to terminate your lease agreement by giving notice of termination. A lessor could be in breach of your agreement if mould develops as a result of not attending to maintenance matters you’ve reported. Check with your state tenancy support service for clarification. 

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