A third of homes have mould problems

The ODT reports that More than a third of region’s homes have mould issues.

In the consumer advocacy organisation’s national rental survey, the results of which were released earlier this month, 37% of respondents in Otago said their rental properties suffered from mould that was difficult to remove or had reappeared.

Consumer NZ head of research Jessica Wilson said the bulk of those surveyed in Otago lived in Dunedin, and the proportion of renters reporting mouldy homes was significantly above the national average of 26%.

Cosy Homes Trust project manager Jordana Whyte said she was not surprised Otago rentals were more likely to be mouldy than those in other regions.

I’m not surprised, Dunedin can be a damp cold place at times, and there are many old houses in the city.

Thirty-eight percent said they were unsure what to do, compared with a national average of 23%.

Renters should approach Tenancy Services if they struck problems with their landlord, Ms Wilson said.

“In cases where required repairs haven’t been done, you can issue the landlord with a 14-day notice to fix.

Dampness and mould is not only a landlord problem, it makes a difference how you live, how you heat and ventilate your home, and how you cook and how you dry clothes and air your bathroom.

And this won’t be confined to rental properties. I have an old home and continually have to deal with mould in the bathroom and living area. And we have a ventilation system, an outside vented clothes dryer, a kitchen extractor and two dehumidifiers to keep things under control.

And there a re a lot of young people flatting in Dunedin. I remember my son drying clothes on a rack in his bedroom, and he had a dampness problem.

Ms Whyte said the best way to remove mould was to create a mixture of 70% white vinegar and 30% water in an old spray bottle, spray it on the affected area, wait for two minutes and then gently scrub to remove the mould.

“The water’s important. It tricks the mould into thinking it’s getting a drink.”

The vinegar killed the mould, unlike bleach which turned the mould white but often left it alive, she said.

Rather than just implying landlords are the problem it would be better to educate people how to manage moisture in their flats or homes. Given the number of students in Dunedin perhaps they could have compulsory couyrses on sensible living at the University and Polytechnic.