This article contains Q&As about the treatment and removal of mould in strata apartments. What can you do to help prevent mould and also how to treat mould once it is present in your apartment. These questions have been received from our NSW audience of lot owners after the recent weather events on the east coast in early 2022.
Table of Contents:
- QUESTION: Due to the ongoing bad weather in Queensland, some of our units have mould problems. Is it a body corporate responsibility to treat the mould?
- QUESTION: I have a dehumidifier. To prevent mould growth, what relative humidity level should I be trying to get down to?
- QUESTION: Can you provide some tips for our viewers who have joined us from areas affected by the recent high rainfall? What should they be doing right now to prevent mould from forming in their strata apartments if there’s high humidity outside?
- QUESTION: What is the most cost effective treatment that can be applied to remove mould from affected areas?
Question: Due to the ongoing bad weather in Queensland, some of our units have mould problems. Is it a body corporate responsibility to treat the mould?
Due to the ongoing rain in Queensland, some of the units in the complex have developed moulds in their units in various rooms.
Two of the unit owners believe this is a body corporate issue and that it needs to be fixed by the body corporate?
There are no pipe leakage in any common areas, just a lack of sunlight due to the amount of rain and the ground being so soaked.
Answer: Generally speaking, mould is internal to the unit and is the owners responsibility to clean and remove. If the mould is on a common property area, it is body corporate responsibility.
Generally speaking, mould is internal to the unit and is the owners responsibility to clean and remove. If the mould is on a common property area, it is body corporate responsibility.
There are some exceptions to this. For example, if there is a roof leak that has resulted in mould the body corporate might remove the mould when repairing the leak. It’s also possible that mould rectification is covered by the scheme’s insurance if it was caused by an insurable event. These are the exceptions though and need to be judged on a case by case basis.
When talking about these issues with owners, I often try to get them to consider the bigger picture. Let’s say the body corporate agreed for one reason or another to treat the mould in their units. That’s good for them now, as they don’t have to pay for this service today. However, a precedence has been set. It might turn out that other owners have mould issues – quite likely this year – and now the body corporate has to pay for those too. And it has to pay for future issues as well. These costs now have to be budgeted for and levies have to be raised to cover the expense. Are the owners still happy? Probably not. It doesn’t always work, but framing the discussion in this way can help the understanding of why the body corporate acts on some issues and not others.
Queensland Health has a good factsheet on how to deal with mould issues: Mould
This post appears in Strata News #579.
Question: I have a dehumidifier. To prevent mould growth, what relative humidity level should I be trying to get down to?
Answer: If you can get down to around about 45% – 50% relative humidity, that’s the ideal moisture content in the air.
Mould grows in a perfect environment. You need to reduce the relative humidity. If you can get down to around about 45% – 50% relative humidity, that’s the ideal moisture content in the air. A lot of people don’t have a device to accurately monitor the relative humidity. Restorers normally carry it, along with thermal imaging cameras.
Anything above 65% creates an environment that is able to grow mould. Don’t go too dry. If you go below 45% relative humidity, you start to get an itchy throat and it’ll dry out the air probably a little bit too much. Aim for about 45% to 50% and you shouldn’t have a problem.
This post appears in the June 2022 edition of The NSW Strata Magazine.
Question: Can you provide some tips for our viewers who have joined us from areas affected by the recent high rainfall? What should they be doing right now to prevent mould from forming in their strata apartments if there’s high humidity outside?
Answer: You just have to wait it out. Keep a dry setting on the air conditioner.
If you’ve got a split system air conditioner, set it to a dry setting. If there’s high humidity outside and you don’t have an air conditioner, there’s not much you can do. You can’t remediate Mother Nature. It’s just a matter of when the day is perfect, open the strata apartment up and ventilate to help with mould.
You can install fans. However, if you do install fans to speed up the rate of evaporation or dehumidifiers make sure that you can keep the wet air inside flushed out. With remediation when we do structural drying, there is a closed drying technique and an open environment technique and this depends on what’s happening outside.
If you’ve got two weeks of rain, there’s absolutely nothing you can do. You just have to wait it out. Keep a dry setting on the air conditioner and remove the mould’s its source. That’s the best you can do.
Question: What is the most cost effective treatment that can be applied to remove mould from affected areas?
Answer: Clean the mould affected area down with warm soapy water.
You can clean mould down with warm soapy water. There is the theory that you can use an 80/20 vinegar water mix. You can also use mould killers.
You want to be removing the mould, not just removing the colour of the mould or the mould may still be there. So warm soapy water is really the best for this. Get a hot bucket of soapy water and you can just wet wipe it down.
Try to avoid spraying with a trigger spray. If there are mould spores and you spray it with anything it can cause the mould spores to become airborne and move around and that’s when you can breathe them in.
This post appears in Strata News #554.
This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
Can you relate to this situation? Is something similar happening at your scheme? What have you tried to remove mould at your apartment building? Please let us know below in the comment section.
- NSW: Who is Responsible for Mould in Strata Living?
- What’s the Importance of Good Ventilation in Your Building? [Case Study]
- How to deal with mold in your home
Are you not sure about some of the strata terms used in this article? Take a look at our NSW Strata Glossary to help with your understanding.