HOUSING | Mould and Rental Properties.

AuthorFeng, Judy

Caselaw suggests mould can be a deficiency that affects whether a property is fit for living in. But who's responsible for it?

We recently heard about a tricky situation involving mould in a rental property. During a property inspection, the landlord found severe mould in the unit. The tenant apparently never said anything to the landlord about the mould. The remediation was going to be costly and take months.

The situation got me thinking of a few questions, including:

  1. Who is responsible for mould in a rental property?

  2. Does a tenant have to inform their landlord about mould in a rental property?

  3. What can a landlord or tenant do if there's mould in the property?

Mould, otherwise known as mildew or fungus, is a living organism. The Environmental Public Health, Alberta Health Services website notes mould grows indoors in places that have water leaks, are very humid or have condensation problems. While mould usually doesn't make people sick, there's a higher risk of health problems if there's more of it in places a person spends a lot of time in--for example, at home. Mould can cause health problems including asthma flareups, itchy skin, stuffy nose and blocked sinuses, breathing problems, and irritation of the eyes, nose and throat.

Whenever we get a question about mould on a property, we direct people to the Minimum Housing and Health Standards and our publication. The Minimum Housing and Health Standards set out specific conditions that are essential to making a place safe, sanitary and fit for human to live in.

The Standards do not explicitly cover mould on rental properties. But, a review of caselaw suggests that mould can be a deficiency that affects whether a property is fit for living in. It can also be a deficiency that affects a tenant's benefit of the residential tenancy agreement and right to enjoy the property.

Who is responsible for mould in a rental property?

Property owners/landlords are responsible for maintaining rental premises to the minimum standard. If the property falls below standard, they must fix it. Failing to meet the minimum standard is a breach of the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). When a landlord breaches the rental agreement or RTA, the tenant has several remedies including:

* recovery of damages

* rent abatement (reduction)

* compensation for the costs to fulfill the landlord's obligations

* termination of the lease

Extending this line of thinking to mould means property owners/landlords must fix...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT