La Nina: Residents warned to prepare for mould during rainy, humid summer

East-coast Australians are being warned to prepare for another mouldy summer after the announcement of a third La Nina event.

In northern NSW and southeast Queensland, residents are still in the midst of clean-up efforts more than six months on from the devastating flood crisis.

The Bureau of Meteorology last week officially declared the third La Nina event in as many years.

The weather event is forecast to collide with two other major weather events – a Negative Indian Ocean Dipole and a Southern Annual Mode – bringing persistent and above average rainfall as well as the threat of major flooding in some areas.

The Australian Medical Association has issued a warning to east-coast residents to prepare for a mouldier than average summer season, Channel 9 reported.

High moisture and humidity levels are ideal conditions for mould to grow indoors and increase the risk of developing a respiratory infection.

For most Australians, the risk is low but elderly and immunocompromised people can suffer significant health issues if inhaling mould matter for an extended period of time.

Real Estate Institute NSW (REINSW) chief executive Tim McKibbin told NCA Newswire that there are a few ways tenants and homeowners can prepare ahead of the mouldy season.

“Mould like damp, dark and still air,” he said.

Combating damp

Turn a fan on in the bathroom when you shower or bathe.

Let the light in

Mould hates natural sunlight so pulling aside blinds and curtains to let light into a room is an easy way to reduce the spread of mould.

Crack a window

Open a window in bedrooms and living areas to keep fresh flowing through the house.

“I guess it‘s a bit like Covid – you get all your injections, you wear your mask, you do everything right but unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that you’re not going to catch the virus,” Mr McKibbin said,

“Similarly here, you do everything right but unfortunately, it’s likely to appear and then it will need to be dealt with.”

What rights do I have as a tenant?

“It’s a partnership between the tenant and the landlord,” Mr McKibbin said.

“If a landlord doesn’t have a fan in the bathroom, then it’s difficult to get fresh air coming through the place.

“But if there is a fan in the bathroom and the tenant doesn’t put it on then we have the same outcome.”

Mr McKibbin said the property does have to be fit for purpose, so if the property is made uninhabitable because of a mould outbreak – the tenant has grounds to complain.

“First thing to do is report it to the property manager and then you not only need to have it remedied but also look at some prevention strategies,” he said.

Unlikely places to check for mould

  1. Behind the couch
  2. Behind the bedhead
  3. Inside cupboards
  4. Around cupboards
  5. Outside the home

Originally published as Experts warn to prepare for mould in the home ahead of third wet summer