Tenants –v- Homeowners – The war against damp mouldy homes.
In Auckland we live in a humid and damp environment, many new comers to our city do not realise this and the importance of ventilation. Yes landlords can put in an HRV system but tenants can also open their windows. Yes landlords can put in a heat pump but tenants can also buy their own heaters. Not all homeowners have heat pumps so why do all tenants need heat pumps. If it becomes a requirement for a landlord to put in a heat pump for the tenants before a tenancy starts then surely all vendors need to put in a heat pump before the new purchasers move in. There is no difference between a tenant and a home owner they are both occupants of a property. This subject of heating, ventilation and insulation is nothing more than discrimination. It appears to me that the media want to divide home owners and tenants, create inequity and portray all landlords as rich and wealthy not wanting to maintain their properties. I do not believe this is true.
I have seen literally 1000's of rental properties during my near 30 year career, I can have a house rented for many years with several different sets of tenants with no mould or damp issues, then new tenants move in and on my first inspection there is mould forming in the bathrooms and bedrooms, windows are running with condensation and mouldy. They move out, new tenants move in and there is no sign of mould or dampness again.
The reason most homes are cold and damp is due to the occupants and the way they live, this is for both tenants and homeowners. Occupants need to heat, ventilate and clean their property to keep it free from mould. Drying washing inside either on an airier or in an un-vented tumble dryers puts litres of moisture into the property. You can't expect to dry your washing inside, take a shower or cook, never open windows and never wipe condensation from windows in winter. If you do you are creating a damp environment for mould to grow.
Yes of course there are going to be properties that have a leaking roof or be a leaky building but these properties are an exception, there are always going to be landlords that don’t fix things on time, just like there are tenants that don’t pay rent on time and the Tenancy Tribunal is already set up to deal with those situations.
Occupants have to be pro-active about ventilating and this is the main issue we see as property managers in damp mouldy homes, all internal doors closed, all windows and external doors closed, clothes drying on airiers inside and un-vented tumble dryers. All these items are at the occupants control, not the landlord.
Yes an extractor in the bathroom, range hood in the kitchen, HRV and heat pump will help prevent moisture build up. Insulation will help keep the heat in but it will not prevent moisture build up in the property. Occupants are the only people in control of the moisture build up and cleaning.
I live in a 1920’s cold draughty bungalow, my house has heating, it has insulation and an HRV. I open my windows and doors regularly, however on cold frosty mornings my windows are still running with condensation and when my family shower the bathroom still fills up with steam, when I cook there is steam and moisture in the kitchen. As occupants we choose to open the windows to let the steam out, I wipe my windows down every morning there is condensation on them, I regularly open my windows and doors to ventilate my home. I clean my house regularly including windows, window frames and ceilings. It is my choice to look after my home and ensure I don’t have mould growing on ceilings by creating a damp environment. Does it matter whether I own my home or rent it? published Hollie Joss Director