Ventilation Standard for Homes
Every rental home must have windows that open in the living room, dining room, kitchen, and bedrooms. Kitchens and bathrooms must have extractor fans or risk mould and dampness due to poor ventilation. During a tenancy, tenants need to keep the house well-aired and remove any mould straight away.
All private rentals must comply within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy after 1 July 2021, with all private rentals complying by 1 July 2024.
All habitable rooms in a rental property must have at least one window, door or skylight which opens to the outside and can be fixed in the open position. In each room, the size of the openable windows, doors and skylights together must be at least 5% of the floor area of that room.
For kitchens – In any room with a cooktop, new fans or rangehoods installed after 1 July 2019 must have a minimum diameter (including ducting) of 150mm or an exhaust capacity of at least 50 litres per second.
For bathrooms – In any room with a shower or bath, new fans installed after 1 July 2019 must have a minimum diameter (including ducting) of 120mm or an exhaust capacity of at least 25 litres per second.
Landlords should ask installers for the details of the fan diameters, ducting and flowrate in writing, so they can show they are compliant with the healthy homes ventilation standard.
Under the healthy homes standards, landlords will need to make sure their rental properties have efficient drainage for the removal of stormwater, surface water and groundwater. The drainage system must include gutters, downpipes and drains for the removal of water from the roof.
If the rental property has an enclosed subfloor, a ground moisture barrier must be installed if it is reasonably practicable to do so.
What tenants should do to prevent mould
Once you move in, you need to keep the house clean and tidy. This includes keeping it in a condition that doesn’t encourage mould and damp. A well-aired, ventilated house is crucial to prevent mould.
You’re most likely to have problems with damp and mould in autumn and winter. A dry, well-aired home is easier to heat and healthier for you and your family. Open windows and doors whenever you can and open the curtains during the day.
Other things you can do to prevent mould and damp are:
- keep lids on pots when cooking
- wipe condensation off walls and windows
- hang washing outside, and make sure everything’s dry before putting it away
- leave wardrobes a bit open and pull beds and furniture away from walls
- keep the shower curtain hanging inside the shower or bath so water doesn’t drip on the floor, and wash the curtain every few weeks
- use an electric heater rather than portable gas heaters (these release water as the gas burns)
- keep only a few plants inside
- if you have a mattress on the floor, air the mattress every day by removing the covers and lifting the mattress onto its side