It’s that dreaded problem that tends to rear its ugly head each winter… mould. And while in many cases a quick wipe with some mould killing spray (be it vinegar or something bleach based), may be enough to solve the problem, there are some cases of mould that have been left neglected so long that more drastic measures must be taken.
This can often be the case when it comes to tenanted properties as the tenant may feel that it’s up to the landlord to provide measures to prevent mould from occurring and the landlord may feel that mould is a cleanliness factor that falls under the tenant’s responsibilities. In many cases it’s both.
Mould thrives in damp conditions such as a bathroom or kitchen so it’s ideal to have sufficient ventilation in these areas, often in the form of exhaust fans. Of course, these can be fitted into a property fairly cost effectively, however, if a tenant chooses not to use them, it will not solve the problem. Other causes can be due to leaking pipes inside of walls which is sometimes only picked up due to the mould issues. Reporting of these problems to the landlord or property manager immediately is essential to ensuring that the issue is fixed and the mould does not continue to spread.
Mould damage, when left untreated, can become a much larger issue than it need have been. Mould can take over wall plaster leaving it unable to be cleaned and, in the worst-case scenario, in need of replacement. At the very least, a landlord may need to call in professional mould removal and cleaning teams to get the property back to a liveable state which can be quite costly. The question for many landlords will be ‘is this covered by my building or landlord insurance?’
Unfortunately, there is no one right answer here. It will largely depend upon your policy and the situation which has led to the damage in the first place. There may be cases where a leaking pipe in a wall may be covered by the building insurance, however, the mould damage caused from this may not be. As always, it’s important to review your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to see if there are any exclusions which may prevent claiming for this damage for any reason.
In many cases, mould claims may fall under exclusions such as ‘any failure by you or your property manager to take all reasonable steps to protect and maintain your building and/or contents’ or even ‘tenant neglect, poor housekeeping, deliberate damage or unhygienic living practices’.
Although not great news for any potential claim submissions under your insurance policy, it’s important to have a solid understanding of what can be claimed and what is unlikely to be covered under your policy.
In the case of mould damage, if you have a property that is prone to mould during the cooler months it may be an idea to highlight this with your property manager who can ensure that an inspection is completed during these months. Early identification of mould issues can help to get a hold of the problem before it gets to a level of damage where you would need to make a claim.
BMT Insurance work with some of Australia’s most experienced insurance providers to select the most suitable and cost-effective insurance for you. BMT Insurance have access to expert construction cost consultants that have inspected tens of thousands of properties each year, ensuring they have the necessary knowledge to calculate the replacement cost for your property and protect your investment.
Visit bmtinsure.com.au or call the BMT Insurance team on 1300 268 467 to discuss your coverage today.