Young woman evicted from home over ‘gross’ mould

It started as a small patch in the corner of a room.

Now Juliana has been evicted from her home on NSW’s east coast because the property needs to be knocked down after it became overrun with mould.

The 23-year-old and her roommates were not overly concerned when they noticed mould after moving into the Newcastle home last year, even though they thought it might be an issue.

But after a year of severe wet weather and constant dampness it grew “out of hand” and they could not “contain it anymore”.

“It’s really disgusting,” Juliana told NCA NewsWire.

“It started out just in the corners of our bedrooms and living area, but at this point it’s taken over most of the walls and roofing spaces.

“Even after multiple attempts to remove it, it keeps growing back thicker and in new spots.”

The mould destroyed their personnel belongings, and now Juliana fears it has also affected the health of her roommates.

“A few pieces of our furniture have been impacted with mould, including bedding, clothing and towels. It’s a constant juggle in trying to maintain my stuff and keep as many of my belongings mould free,” she said.

“Both of my roommates have been sick for the past six months with no explanation – a constant cough and runny nose. We’re pretty certain this is from the mould growing in their bedrooms.”

They tried to be proactive and get on top of the situation by doing some DIY work at the start of the year, but the continuous rain kept helping the mould grow back.

“We told our landlord and he took care of it by cleaning it himself, but this only seemed to push the mould spores across the ceiling so it was more spread out,” Juliana said.

“We recently had a maintenance inspection and we told them we want a professional to remove it. They agreed to this, promising us that they’ll sort it out, but we heard nothing.

“A month later we got a letter saying our rent was increasing, but still no progress on the mould removal.”

Juliana said while their landlord helped out “here and there”, they felt they “haven’t been attended to” as much as they would have liked.

“It’s a very dangerous situation and it’s being treated like a minor issue,” she said.

But Juliana could have never imagined where the issue would end up.

After living in the Newcastle house for around a year, she and her roommates were evicted because the property needed to be demolished due to the mould.

“It’s become so bad that we’re being evicted from the house so it can be knocked down and rebuilt,” Juliana said.

“We’ve been super frustrated. I feel like it‘s a constant losing battle and it’s a shame that we are being forced to move due to the mould impacting the house structure.

“I wish a professional had been called in sooner to repair the roof and remove the mould when we first requested it so this all could have been avoided.”

Unfortunately Juliana is not alone in her plight, with thousands of Australians dealing with similar issues as they continue to battle wild and severe conditions.

New figures from tradie marketplace service hipages showed 71 per cent of mould and mildew removal jobs were marked as ASAP or emergencies, a 21 per cent rise from the same time last year.

It comes as the country deals with its third consecutive La Nina event, while there is an increased risk of an above average number of tropical cyclones, higher humidity in southern areas and widespread flooding over the next six months.

Hipages chief customer officer Stuart Tucker said “there are a few war stories out there” of people who have had to deal with significant mould issues.

“We know that those damp, humid areas around the home, bathrooms, kitchen, ceilings even around windows and door frames, is where it can really start to take over,” he said.

“From a personal health point of view we know that mould and mildew can really cause issues with asthma and skin irritation, even respiratory issues.

“It can also have a negative impact on the integrity of the house. It might start to weaken structures and frames and really soften plaster, and that can become a real issue.”

On how to deal with mould, Mr Tucker said “prevention is always the best cure”.

“One easy path that homeowners can do is to purchase a dehumidifier which just takes that moisture out of the air,” he said.

“The other key really is a well ventilated home and we know in the year to October we’ve seen ventilation jobs increase by 300 per cent in that period of time, so it does look like Australians are trying to stay on top of this issue.

“There’s little things like getting the gutters cleaned out and staying on top of that so rainwater can get away from the house. It’s making sure that there’s no blockages in the drains as well around the home.”

But he urged homeowners and renters to seek professional help if there are signs mould is getting out of hand.

“It‘s very important for people to know their limits. There are certainly some jobs that you really should never attempt yourself,” Mr Tucker said.

“Even if you think you‘re a bit of a handy person, just step back and say ‘do I really know how to do this’. Because the average cost to repair a DIY disaster with a tradie is around $1500 per job.”

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