There Are Few Clear Guidelines About Mold
Few jurisdictions have clear rules about landlord responsibilities for mold, partly because the health impacts are uncertain. There is no federal law, and only a handful of states and cities have addressed the issue directly . Without clear guidance, landlords may mistakenly assume they can’t be held liable for tenant damages caused by mold.
Is It The Landlords Responsibility To Remediate Mold
Yes, it is the landlords responsibility to remediate mold. This is because, under the law, the landlord has an obligation to keep the property in a reasonable state of repair. The landlord also has to ensure that the premises are habitable.
And even though mold problems are not generally considered to be urgent repairs, they can make premises uninhabitable. They can also compromise a propertys state as being reasonably repaired. Therefore, mold problems are the responsibility of landlords.
However, it is not their responsibility to fix the mold problem if the tenant is directly responsible for causing it in the first place. In cases where mold arises because of the tenant forgetting to turn off their tap, failing to use fans, or keeping wet or moist items in poorly aerated spaces, the landlord is normally not required to shoulder the burden of remediating the mold that results.
Can I Withhold Rent To Get My Landlord To Do Something
Question & Answer
Important COVID-19 update about the Landlord and Tenant Board
Because of COVID-19, the Landlord and Tenant Board has changed some of its processes. You can learn more in the question: ?
Sometimes it might seem fair to stop paying some or all of your rent if your landlord isn’t giving you what you are paying for. For example, your landlord might be harassing you, invading your privacy, or refusing to do repairs.
But it can be very risky to stop paying your rent in order to resolve problems with your landlord.
If you do not pay your full rent, your landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board .
If your landlord applies to the LTB, you can ask the LTB to consider the problems you are having with your landlord. But you could still be evicted if the LTB doesn’t believe you, or doesn’t think the problems are serious enough.
Don’t Miss: Black Mold In Grout
Mold Caused By Tenant Behavior
The liability picture changes when mold grows as the result of your own behavior, such as keeping the apartment tightly shut, creating high humidity, or failing to maintain necessary cleanliness. Tenants have some duties to maintain their rental unit, so when a tenant’s own negligence is the sole cause of injury, the landlord is not liable. To avoid causing any mold problems, practice good housekeeping, such as ventilating your apartment.
S To Take If A Landlord Refuses To Remove Mold
In case your landlord fails to take any action after you report a dangerous mold outbreak, you have the legal right to:
- Stop paying rent until the remediation is complete
- Pack up and leave
- Charge your landlord to pay for alternative living expenses
- Use a months rent to hire a mold inspector and remediator
- Complain to appropriate authorities
- Sue your landlord for damages
California mold disclosure laws are designed to protect tenants from the dangers of mold. If your landlord does not comply, then you can take legal action against them.
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Mold In Shower Ceiling
What Can A Tenant Do If The Landlord Refuses To Fix A Mold Problem
Mold-related legislation is not currently required in every state. Despite this, premises liability and personal injury law still adhere to the principles established by the statutes that govern these matters. That implies negligence is a factor in determining responsibility.To be found liable for negligence in a premises liability claim, someone must have been aware that the issue existed or should have been aware that the problem existed. In some circumstances, negligence can be established circumstantially. It’s not uncommon for landlords to be held responsible for creating a toxic environment if the problem is mold exposure.A mold infestation, on the other hand, will need to be demonstrated.This can be done in the following ways:
What Is Considered A Reasonable Amount Of Time To Make A Repair Or Remedy A Problem
Seven days is generally considered a reasonable amount of time. However, the court can consider a different length of time to be reasonable based on:
- The date the landlord received the notice,
- The severity and nature of the condition, and
- The reasonable availability of materials and labor and of utilities access.
Note: Exceptions apply to the timing to complete a repair if the damage to the rental property was an insured casualty loss. If the mold problem is a covered condition, the landlord has a reasonable amount of time after receiving the insurance proceeds to complete the repairs. Talk with a lawyer about your right to end your lease before the problem is corrected or receive a rent reduction if the property becomes totally unusable during the time your landlord is waiting for insurance proceeds to make a repair.
Recommended Reading: Getting Mildew Off Leather
Can I Just Remove The Mold Myself And Reduce The Amount I Pay My Landlord In Rent That Month
No. The repair and deduct method is not automatic and only reduces a future rent payment . This method is not recommended without the advice of a lawyer.
If you want to have the mold removed , you must either:
- get a court order requiring the landlord to remove the mold, or
- follow the repair and deduct rules in Tex. Prop. Code § 92.0561 that, for example:
- limit the rent deduction for the cost of repair in any given month to the greater of one months rent or $500.00 ,
- limit the rent deduction for the cost of repair in any given month to the greater of the fair market value of one months rent or $500.00 ,
- only allow a tenant to repair and deduct if the landlord has a duty to fix the problem, and
- only allow the tenant to repair and deduct if the tenant did not waive his or her right to the repair in an enforceable provision in the lease agreement. , .)
Note: An exception exists if you and your landlord agreed in writing for you to repair a condition at the landlords expense. Read the law here: Tex. Prop. Code § 92.0561, .
S To Avoid Mold Problems When Renting An Apartment In Georgia
One of the biggest steps you can take to avoid mold concerns is to properly research your rental before committing to a lease with a landlord.
Consider these factors in your research:
- Basement apartments tend to be more prone to damp and moisture issues, so if mold is a concern, you may want to avoid renting this type of unit.
- If you are renting in a multi-story building, find out if there have been any flooding issues in the basement. If so, best to avoid renting because if the building had a wet basement, there could be mold growing and since the HVAC system is located in the basement, mold spores will circulate in all units.
- Check the unit for bathroom and kitchen fans. If there are none, then do not rent the unit because the building will likely have moisture issues and mold.
- Ideally, rent a unit without carpet. However, if you are considering renting a unit with carpet, find out how old it is and if possible, get the landlord to change it before you move in.
- Try to find out as much about the building history, specifically, does the building have a history of roof or plumbing leaks. If so, avoid renting because there will undoubtedly be mold.
Bottom line, as the tenant you are the customer of the landlord, so you have the right to choose who you rent from and should do your due diligence before you rent.
Steps To Avoid Mold Problems When Renting An Apartment
Also Check: Mold Or Mildew On Bathroom Ceiling
Landlords Duty Of Ordinary Care Related To Mold Remediation
On the other hand, if the tenant discovers mold and promptly notifies the landlord of such condition, the Landlord must promptly respond and use ordinary care to remediate the mold in accordance with professional standards. If the remediation timeframe exceeds 30-days, then the Tenant may legally terminate the lease without penalty . Further, the Landlord must reinspect the dwelling unit to confirm that there is no longer visible evidence of mold in the dwelling unit .
Landlords should be very careful at this juncture in light of the Virginia Supreme Courts ruling in Sales v. Kecoughtan Housing Company, 279 Va. 475, 482, 690 S.E.2d 91, 95 , in which the Court held that the landlords representations regarding the mold conditions, and the remediation thereof, were statements of fact, not opinion, which could form the basis of a claim for fraud.
e hold that Abbitts alleged statements that the apartment was safe for habitation and that the mold problem had been remedied were statements of the present quality or character of the instant property, and thus statements of fact rather than opinion. These statements are alleged in the amended complaint to be misrepresentations of a material fact that were made to Sales, that Sales relied upon them, and that he was damaged as a result thereof. Thus, whether made intentionally or negligently, these alleged statements may serve as a basis for an action for actual or constructive fraud.
Is Black Mold Dangerous
This type of mold technically goes by the name Stachybotrys chartarum and can cause serious health problems after periods of exposure, including respiratory problems, internal organ damage, mental impairment, nausea, and skin inflammation. Mold also can cause irreparable property damage. And since black mold thrives in dark places lacking ventilation, it usually goes unseen until it’s too late.
Recommended Reading: Remove Mold On Bathroom Ceiling
Can Mold Be Removed
Yes, through a process called mold remediation, which can be costly.
The Environmental Protection Agency has published tips on how to remediate mold online. The EPA asserts that water damage must be addressed within 24-48 hours to avoid toxic mold growth. In other words, if it has been longer than that since water damage occurred to your rental property and that water damage has gone unaddressed, you will have mold growth.
Do I Need An Attorney To Help Resolve My Mold Dispute With My California Landlord
If there is mold in your rental home, you should immediately contact a skilled and knowledgeable California landlord tenant lawyer. They will be able to explain your rights and options, and help you file a lawsuit against your landlord in order to recover any available damages. Further, they will be able to advise as to when you are legally able to vacate the premises or withhold rent, due to the mold growth.
- No fee to present your case
- Choose from lawyers in your area
- A 100% confidential service
Read Also: Cleaning Mold Bathroom Ceiling
Why Is Mold One Of The Biggest Concerns Of Tenants In Georgia
Based on a tenant review website, the five most common complaints of tenants include the following:
An environmental hazard, mold is a type of microscopic fungi that thrives in moist conditions, and is very prevalent in humid climates. It grows on any organic material including wood, paper, drywall, tiles, wall paneling, paint, rugs and fibers.
Colonies of mold, like like stachybotrys, penicillium, aspergilus, paecilomyces, and fusarium, can cover a large area and are usually black, white, grey, brown, green, or gray. Some molds are powdery or shiny and can give off a musty or mildewy smell. Unfortunately, not all mold is visible and can be hidden or covered in the areas such as a vent underneath a refrigerator, radiator, or sink under the floor or a ceiling or behind a wall.
Common causes of moisture include the following:
- leaky pipes or radiators
- broken or poorly sealed windows
- a damaged roof
- poor ventilation, especially in a bathroom
- standing water
There are two key problems caused by mold. First, it damages the surfaces it grows on, which could eventually cause structural problems. Second, it can also cause serious health problems. Depending on your sensitivity to mold and the extent of the mold growth, you may be forced move out of your apartment if mold is present.
Healthy people constantly exposed to mold can also develop severe illnesses and allergies when exposed to mold.
Who Is Responsible For Smoke Detectors
- A separate law requires landlords to provide smoke detectors and have the tenant acknowledge in writing that the unit has a functional smoke detector.
- Each landlord must install a battery or hard-wired smoke detector. If a tenant gives written notice to replace or repair a smoke detector, the landlord must do it within seven working days after notice.
- Report violations to your local prosecutor. Ask for inspections by the state fire marshals office.
Read Also: Clean Mold Off Of Leather
Mold And The Landlord’s Duty To Maintain Habitable Premises
Even if your state or city doesn’t have specific mold laws, your landlord could still be liable for a mold problem in your rental, as a result of landlords’ responsibility to provide safe and livable housing. Depending on the situation, state law might give you options such as rent withholding if your landlord fails to fix a serious mold problem, or you might be able to file a lawsuit for mold-related health problems.
Black Mold And Your Landlord’s Responsibilities
Landlords are required by law to provide proper living conditions for their tenants, free from health or safety hazards, often referred to as an “implied warranty of habitability.” The standard for habitability is generally defined as the minimum required by your local jurisdiction’s building code, which addresses the health and safety concerns of tenants. While certain minor problems such as drippy faucets are not considered crucial to habitability, toxic mold certainly is.
Since the landlord-tenant relationship is legally defined through contract , contractual provisions addressing things like plumbing or ventilation defects — which may contribute to mold growth — would be enforceable. So if the contract states that the landlord is responsible for promptly fixing all plumbing problems, but a leaky pipe eventually leads to black mold growth, failure to fix the problem could lead to a breach of contract lawsuit.
Read Also: Mould Bathroom Ceiling
How Do You Get Rid Of It
Prevention is the best solution, but if you do find mold growing on your property and it appears to be a small-scale problem, try cleaning it with unscented detergent and water. Wear rubber cleaning gloves, protective goggles and a dust mask to protect yourself from spores, and stop if you develop nausea or headaches. Make sure the area is well ventilated post-cleanup, or the mold will return. Dealing with a larger mold problem, recurring mold, or a very damp apartment is best handled by a professional.
Can I Withhold Rent Or Use My Rent To Fix A Mold Problem Yes
What is my landlord responsible for?Your landlord has a duty to keep your apartment in good shape and make all necessary repairs. If she fails to do this, you may be able to:
- Make the repairs yourself and deduct their cost from your rent
- Withhold a portion of your rent
- Sue your landlord or
- Terminate your lease agreement. This pamphlet explains when and how you can do these things.
What must my landlord do to maintain the condition of my apartment?Keep your toilet, bathtub, shower, and bathroom sink in good working order
- Keep your furnace and boiler in good working order
- Keep your windows weatherproof
- Keep your floors, walls and ceilings in good repair
- Keep your plumbing fixtures in good repair
- Keep your electrical outlets safe and operable
- Prevent the accumulation of stagnant water
- Keep all of the appliances he supplies in good working order
- Maintain the building is foundation, exterior walls, and roof in good and watertight condition
- Provide adequate hall and stairway lighting Keep all stairways and porches in a safe and sound condition
- Provide trash containers
- Protect you against rodents and insects by exterminating and
- Comply with all other requirements of Chicagoâs Municipal Code.
If my landlord doesnât make necessary repairs, can I use my rent to pay for these repairs?
Yes, but only if the repair will not cost more than $500 or one-half of your rent . Using your rent money to make necessary repairs is called ârepairing and deducting.â
You May Like: Mold In Water Filter
Are There Any Laws Regarding The Safety Of A Rental Environment
Your landlords responsibility and liability in handling a mold problem can vary from state to state. The federal government has no established standards where this environmental and health hazard is concerned.
However, a few states as well as some municipalities, have passed their own guidelines. Searching the National Conference of State Legislatures database for mold will help you determine if any statutes exist for your own local community. Even if you live in an area where no laws are in place to address the issue of mold in a residential rental, your landlord still has a responsibility to provide proper maintenance and repairs.
But just as the landlord has obligations where mold is concerned, so do tenants.