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CobdenHayson tells renters to open windows to prevent mould as Sydney shivers through freezing week

Sydney estate agent sparks outrage over email to tenants on how to prevent mold – but is his advice fair enough?

  • Sydneysiders shiver through the city’s coldest winter start in three decades
  • Real estate tells tenants to open windows regularly in winter to prevent mold
  • Thousands of homes suffer from mold from recent heavy rains, floods

A real estate agency has told hundreds of tenants to open windows and let in fresh air to fight mold growth as Australia’s largest city shivers with freezing weather.

Sydney has experienced the coldest start to winter in three decades as nighttime temperatures dropped to 6°C on Friday morning and as low as 1°C in the west of the city.

As the battle to keep warm stretches into the long weekend, real estate agency CobdenHayson sent tenants a list of suggestions to help them “prepare for the winter season.”

In the email, obtained by The Guardian Australiathe agency said houses in Sydney are “designed to have windows open regularly” to help avoid the health risk of mold.

Homes along Australia’s east coast face a mold epidemic after the wettest year on record.

The email, sent by the agency’s Marrickville branch in Sydney’s west, also reminded tenants that mold control was their responsibility.

A Sydney property has urged tenants to open windows in winter to prevent mold

A Sydney property has urged tenants to open windows in winter to prevent mold

“As winter approaches, residents are often reluctant to open windows, but this is critical to ensure adequate ventilation,” the email read.

“Whenever possible, leave a window slightly open during the day.

Mold isn’t always a sign of a leak or problem, it’s largely attributed to a lack of ventilation and can manifest itself in humid environments and then spread quickly if left untreated. Cleaning this early will not only improve your health, but will also help with ongoing mold control.”

CobdenHayson Marrickville said the email to tenants was a directive from headquarters.

“The email refers to general recommendations, if the tenant chooses to follow those general recommendations, it is entirely at their discretion,” the agency said.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted CobdenHayson headquarters for comment.

Households have been battling mold since Australia was inundated with torrential rain for much of 2022.

From the backs of picture frames and wall-mounted bed heads to hand-woven baskets and storage canisters, Aussies have spent months fighting the dangerous growth, discovering it in hard-to-recognize places.

Sydney tenants urged to let in fresh air during the coldest start to winter in decades

Sydney tenants urged to let in fresh air during the coldest start to winter in decades

According to the NSW Tenants’ Union, tenants and landlords have obligations and responsibilities regarding mold control in homes.

Tenants must keep the premises ‘reasonably’ clean, inform the estate agent or landlord of any mold damage and take reasonable measures to prevent damage.

The landlord must meet ‘fit for occupancy’ standards, including adequate ventilation, plumbing and drainage

They must ensure that floors, ceilings, walls and supporting structures are not subject to moisture, that roofs, ceilings and windows do not allow water to enter the home and to keep the property in ‘reasonable’ repair.

The recent drop in temperatures has also led to a spike in illness as Australia braces for its worst flu season in three years.

NSW Tenants’ Association Leo Patterson Ross says tenants should not be expected to expose themselves to an environment that is too cold by opening a window to prevent mold from forming.

Added mold damage greater than the size of a slab is a likely indicator of a structural problem, which is the landlord’s responsibility.

Tenants and landlords both have obligations to prevent mold from forming after recent heavy rains and flooding along Australia's east coast

Tenants and landlords both have obligations to prevent mold from forming after recent heavy rains and flooding along Australia’s east coast

Why and where does mold grow?

If you see or smell mold, you should generally clean up and remove the mold immediately, as mold can damage the surfaces it grows on. The longer it grows, the more damage it can do.

Mold only grows if there is sufficient moisture. When mold appears, the first task is to try and determine where the moisture is coming from.

Areas of a home that get wet or are poorly ventilated are prone to mold growth, such as:

Avoid conditions that encourage mold growth by using heat, insulation and ventilation. The cheapest and easiest way to reduce moisture and humidity is to ventilate a room by opening a door or window. Use exhaust fans where available.

Source: Better Health Victoria

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