How to avoid bathroom mould problems in your investment property

15 Nov 2021

Promoted by Jim's Plumbing

Dealing with bathroom mould problems in an investment property can be challenging. You’re not there every week to follow up on cleaning routines. You can’t inspect every nook and cranny regularly. A certain amount of trust has to be placed on the tenants. 

However, there are still several important steps you can take to prevent mould growth as the owner. Your preparation and organisation could make all the difference for an investment property. That’s beneficial for both yourself and any tenants. 

There’s no reason to expect widespread mould and bacteria growth in a well looked after home. Here’s how you can avoid mould problems in your investment property’s bathroom. 

Fix Leaking Taps 

Leaking bathroom taps and leaking showers will cause mould to grow if left alone for too long. Standing water in the sink drain and throughout shower tiles is a hotbed for fungal growth. 

That’s why it’s best to never ignore dripping taps or showers. It may seem like an ongoing nuisance when taps require regular repairs but it is a necessary fix. You will also achieve the best results by contacting a licensed plumber for shower plumbing and tap repairs, rather than attempting unqualified DIY repairs. 

Also, consider long term implications. A tap that routinely breaks and drips is not worth the cost of ongoing repairs. Replacing taps with a new fitting is always the best option when new tenants are moving in. 

Inspect Old Pipes and Plumbing 

The cause of mould and mildew could be hiding behind your walls. And if the pipe is fairly inaccessible, well you might have some serious concerns. 

That’s why you should inspect the plumbing when you purchase an old house. Older pipes are often made of steel, lead or cast iron and they can rust. Leaks will occur while joints will break. Poor and unregulated installation from the past often leads to major wall leaks, too. 

Always keep an eye out for wall stains, mould and a damp smell in rooms and cupboards. These signs should be enough to scare you away from an investment property. If you’re keen enough, though, just know you have to take care of old plumbing before anyone moves in. 

Install an Exhaust Fan 

Current Australian building codes require an exhaust fan in the bathroom. Therefore, your property should have one ready to go. But if you have just taken on an investment property, chances are the existing fan is old and damaged. It might not be up to scratch. 

Excess moisture and humidity in the bathroom creates a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and mould growth. High levels of moisture can also cause paint and wallpaper to peel, and wooden surfaces to warp. 

That’s why direct ventilation above a shower is especially important. The steam and water that normally settles on walls, corners and crevices is instead vented out or has a helping hand for fast drying. Bathroom ceiling exhaust fans also remove harmful chemicals produced from cleaning. 

As per current Australian exhaust/ducting regulations, your bathroom and toilet exhaust fans must have a minimum flow rate of 25L/s. The exhaust must be directly vented outside or into an appropriately vented roof space. 

Provide Natural Ventilation 

If your bathroom does not have an appropriate level of ventilation, your renters may have the right to cancel a rental agreement prior to moving in. It’s also something they can call in a third party to fix. 

If you have some budget flexibility or are restoring an old home, explore natural ventilation options. For example, a fixed window could be replaced with a window that opens and brings in natural airflow. 

Just remember to consider safety and privacy when making alterations. Regulations restrict how far a window can open when the room is two metres or more above the ground. If the window cannot be opened, even leaving the door open helps circulate some air from other cross breezes. 

Another option is a skylight exhaust fan. Again, this is stepping up in the budget, yet it offers convenience and flexibility. It’s an eco-friendly option that embraces both natural light and airflow assisted ventilation. 

Clean Regularly 

Much of the responsibility for avoiding bathroom mould lies with tenants themselves. There’s only so much you can do when you’re not actually in the house. 

This is where your tenants have to look after the property. Regular bathroom cleaning is a must. From wiping down wet surfaces to always using the exhaust fan, there are some quick and easy ways to get rid of mould. 

Countless cleaning products at the supermarket will get the job done. And the easiest way to clean is pre-emptively. What do we mean by that? Well, if there is already mould growth, extra effort is required to remove it. 

However, by cleaning consistently and tidying up after every shower or bath, there is no chance for fungal growth. A spotless bathroom is actually quite easy. 

But it is important you do follow up if you notice any concerning signs during an inspection. Speak to your tenants regarding bathroom mould and address the best solution to avoid them in the future. It might even be professional cleaners. Do all you can to assist with a prompt outcome so you can avoid ongoing headaches. 

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