A number of recent cases in NCAT have explored the consequences of terminating leases due to mould, highlighting the circumstances in which it is the landlord’s responsibility to deal with mould within a residential rental property. In Andrew Fletcher and Song Fletcher v Luke Bunbury [2015] NSWCATCD 60, the tenants gave a 14 day termination notice after an expert issued a report that the property in question was not fit for habitation. While the landlord had taken steps to install sub-floor vents, and the tenant had kept the property cleaned and the windows open for ventilation, the mould problem was still prevalent. The landlord argued that the tenant had misused the property by failing to ventilate, but the Court ultimately held that it was the landlord’s responsibility to ensure the premises was habitable. As compensation, the tenant was given a refund of excessive rent for the rooms they could not use due to the mould and $15,000 for the cost of professionally decontaminating their affected goods.

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