Is this mold?
November 13, 2010 7:06 PM   Subscribe

I think I discovered mold on the carpet underneath my luggage while packing. How should I handle this with my landlord?

I'm just assuming this is mold. It was covered with a layer of white stuff when I moved my luggage out of the way. This is in the closet. I'm renting and the lease expires on Tuesday.

I did a quick google search about who's responsible for mold in Perth, Australia, and this is what the Department of Commerce (and the Residential Tenancies Act) says:

If there is mould or mildew caused by faults in gutters or other fixtures, then you must fix it. On the other hand (where the property allows), the tenant must ensure there is adequate ventilation throughout, to help avoid mould problems in winter.

I'm not sure if this means that I shouldn't have used my luggage as a makeshift wardrobe or if it's just referring to the space in general. (I tend to keep the sliding doors to the closet open and it's generally pretty dry and hot over here.)

I have put boxes and other heavy stuff on carpet without moving it for approximately 1.5 years before without any problems (in Wellington, NZ, which is a lot wetter than Perth). Is it generally a bad idea to put heavy stuff onto carpet?

The only thing I can think of is that the closet shares a wall with the shower, so perhaps there's a slight leakage?

I will ring the Dept. of Commerce on Monday, but in the mean time, please help me figure out if I'm dealing with mold and how I should handle this situation.

I'll be leaving Perth on Tuesday and won't be back for at least 2 months.
posted by fallsauce to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
There well could be mold in that photograph, but it is a bit unclear - there are a lot of marks, and I am not clear if some of them are mold and some of them are other sorts of marks. But I have seen mold in wardrobes that presents as white stuff.

I think the 'ensuring adequate ventilation throughout' is probably more a reference to a situation such as a tenant who does not run a bathroom fan that is installed and always keeps the bathroom doors and windows shut. In a case like that, the tenant should have been able to ensure adequate ventilation and might be responsible if say, the bathroom became moldy.

So, I think your hypothesis about the shower is probably more accurate - unless you stored damp things in the cupboard, I don't think wardrobes should turn moldy.

I would like to say that you should be direct about it, while suggesting that this is an issue for them, and not for you or your tenancy - "I was packing up the wardrobe and discovered there is mold there, so you may want to investigate whether there is a leak in the shower - fortunately none of my stuff was ruined". Having said that, I am so tired of dealing with useless landlords, I would seek advice from either the Department or the tenancy union in your state.
posted by AnnaRat at 7:43 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

I had an apartment with closet sharing a wall with a shower that had a moisture problem. That's where I'd look first.
posted by mendel at 7:48 PM on November 13, 2010

Do big supermarkets still rent steam cleaners? If not, I'm sure there's someone who does. Maybe try your local Godfrey's. Kennards have them on their site, but I guess that would come down what your local shop has in store before Tuesday.

If you get one, maybe have a very thorough go at cleaning it yourself before (what I'm assuming will be) your compulsory end of tenancy carpet cleaning.
posted by Ahab at 1:18 AM on November 14, 2010

I can't tell much at all from the photo, but I lived in Perth for years and it has a very dry climate (unlike Wgtn where I've also lived, funnily enough) and I really can't see how you would get mould growing on the carpet unless there was already damp under the floor or in the wall, or if your suitcase was somehow damp or something like that.

I guess this is not that helpful but I wanted to chime in that from my years and years of Perth experience, I cannot imagine that mould could possibly be your fault unless your luggage was wet or damp to begin with. We've had heavy chests of drawers and all sorts on the carpet for long periods of time, and you won't get mould in Perth unless water is actually coming in from somewhere. In other words, it's almost certainly not your fault.
posted by rubbish bin night at 5:39 AM on November 14, 2010

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