How to deal with mould

20 Feb 2023

Mould is something every Queenslander is familiar with, as our warm and wet weather is a key driver in the production of mould at different times of the year. 

Mould may grow indoors in wet or moist areas that lack adequate ventilation, including walls or wallpaper, ceilings, bathroom tiles, carpets, insulation material and wood. If left, mould can cause damage to a home and belongings, and can also pose a health risk to those living in the property.

Learn more by tuning in with RTA Expert, Stephen Watson.


Rental law changes introducing minimum housing standards came into effect for new tenancies (including renewed tenancy agreements) from 1 September 2023, and will come into effect for all remaining tenancies on 1 September 2024.

This podcast was recorded prior to minimum housing standards coming into effect, and some information may be out of date.


Host: Belinda Heit – Communication and Education – RTA

Guest: Stephan Watson – Customer Experience – RTA

Host: Welcome to the Talking Tenancies Podcast, brought to you by the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA). I'm your host, Belinda Heit. Join me as we explore everything you need to know about renting in Queensland with experts from the RTA and industry. We're here to help make renting work for everyone. 

Mould is something every Queenslander is familiar with as our warm and wet weather is a key driver in the production of mould at different times of the year. Mould may grow indoors in wet and moist areas that lack adequate ventilation, including walls or wallpaper, ceilings, bathroom tiles, carpets, insulation material and wood. If left, mould can cause damage to a home and belongings and can also pose a health risk to those living in the property. Today's expert from the RTA is Stephen Watson. Welcome Stephen.

Guest: Thanks for having me today, Belinda. Appreciate it.

Host: Now can you tell us about your role at the RTA and what you are responsible for?

Guest: Yeah, so I've worked for the RTA for about 10 years now. I'm currently a Senior Conciliator in our dispute resolution team.

Host: Amazing. And I know you're super busy as always, but today we're going to talk about dealing with mould in a rental property. So, to kick things off, in recent years we have seen a surge of mould forming in properties across Queensland due to wet weather events and flooding. Firstly, how does mould come about? And how can we prevent it?

Guest: So, mould tends to grow in damp and poorly ventilated spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms, and laundries. In Queensland in particular, after a cyclone or a flood, the heat, humidity and moisture can all cause mould to grow, which has definitely been what we've seen over the last couple of years. 

Weather conditions can contribute to mould formation, which can't always be avoided, so it’s best to chat with the property owner or manager if you do start to spot mould. That way you can work out a plan to resolve it together if the issue continues. 

The best way to prevent mould is by ensuring your home is dry and allows air through it. This can be achieved by such things as getting as much sunlight into the property; especially the bathroom, laundry and kitchen; opening doors and windows to allow air to circulate, particularly in the bathroom; opening windows when you're cooking, or using the shower, the bath, or the clothes dryer. Of course, checking that the air from your clothes dryer is vented outside, not inside; and cleaning wet areas of your home such as your bathroom, kitchen and laundry – again regularly wiping away moisture from the walls, the windows and taps; and keeping your bathroom walls, showers, shower curtains, baths and basins as dry as possible.

Host: Now, depending on how the mould is formed will depend on who's responsible for cleaning it up right?

Guest: Yeah, correct Belinda. If mould is a result of problems with the property, for example a leaking roof or water damage caused by leaking pipe work; it's generally considered the property managers or the owner’s responsibility to address the mould and to make any necessary repairs. On the other hand, if the tenant has arguably caused mould to appear, for example by allowing steam to build up in a bathroom without proper ventilation, and/or not doing regular cleaning, then arguably they're responsible for cleaning it and paying for any damage that mould has caused.

Host: It's also worth noting here that you can engage the services of a professional mould and moisture detection assessor to test and define the source of the mould and whether it may be harmful. So, what should a tenant do if they spot mould in the property that they're renting?

Guest: Ideally, the first thing you should do is to try and clean the mould, but also see if there's some prevention methods you could take to make sure the mould doesn't keep reappearing. This can be done by some of the things I touched on earlier – Is there a door or a window you can open to allow air flow in? Am I turning on the exhaust or ventilation fan in the bathroom when having a hot shower or bath? These sorts of actions can go a long way. If you are concerned about it, the best course of action is to always have an open line of communication with your agent. That way, if there is a problem, they are aware and can work with you to find solutions. 

Host: So, what are some of the best ways to get rid of mould?

Guest: The best way to get rid of mould is ventilation and sunlight. You should also make sure the affected areas are free from moisture and spot clean as mould appears. Tenants have a responsibility to ensure the property is clean to the standard it was when they moved into it, fair wear and tear aside of course. 

There are lots of mould removing products on the market, from vinegar through to commercial grade products, and you could also opt for a dehumidifier if there are areas in the property that are subject to more moisture, as they remove the moisture from the air.

Host: What can happen if we don't get on top of mould early and continue to tackle it?

Guest: Yeah, that's a great question Belinda. Mould if left untreated of course, can lead to a number of issues such as rotting, which can lead to structural integrity issues with the property and things like the paint peeling. Deciding who is responsible for mould cleaning and repairing any resulting damage depends on how the mould appeared in the first place, such as whether it's a result of the design of the property or the result of the tenant allowing steam and moisture to build up consistently. 

My best approach as a tenant myself, is to always inform the property agent if I'm concerned with anything, or if there's any issues with the property. It can also be useful to take photos to share. If there are disagreements on the responsibilities and ways to resolve mould issues which aren't addressed early and managed appropriately with clear communication, you could end up in our dispute process with us, with me. It also could result in a QCAT hearing, which we all obviously want to avoid if possible.

Host: Yes, there's nothing better than a dispute resolution conversation with you, Steve. It's important to note that mould is not actually covered in the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act). However, we need to keep in mind the standard of a rental property that must be maintained.

Guest: Yeah, correct Belinda. The Act is definitely not black and white, it is very grey and mould is actually not covered in the legislation. Pretty similar to light bulbs and lawns. It's important to note where the issue comes from and what communication has been had between both parties to work on solutions. But if we look at the legislation around maintenance or repairs, fair wear and tear and things like health and safety, tenants and property managers and owners should follow the same approach and responsibilities as they would under those circumstances.

Host: There's a lot to consider when it comes to mould. Thanks Steve, for helping us to get a greater understanding on what we need to know when it comes to dealing with mould in a rental property.

Guest: Not a worry, Belinda. Thank you very much for having me.

Host: Thank you for listening to the Talking Tenancies Podcast. For more information about the Residential Tenancies Authority, visit

Original publication on 20 Feb 2023
Last updated on 20 Feb 2023

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