Renters’ rights in mouldy homes: can you get a rent reduction or compensation for damages?

Theoretically, tenants in all three of Australia’s La Niña-hit east coast states could be eligible for discounts and damage payments, but seeking them is complex

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When torrential rain hit Sydney in March, Sam* soon noticed a leak in his family home. Litres of water came through the roof in one bedroom, causing mould to develop and mushrooms to sprout from the ceiling. Sam and his mother contacted their real estate agent, who took six weeks to respond before sending out a roofer who told them it was too wet to do any work and left.

It wasn’t until a family member, who is a lawyer, wrote their agent a formal letter that anything happened: they were granted a one-off rent reduction of $960 for their three-bedroom home, the equivalent of nine days’ amnesty from rent.

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