What Causes Mold In Apartments
In the majority of cases, apartment mold is caused by an excessive moisture problem. This includes:
- Plumbing or weather-related leaks
- Occupant activities such as cooking, showering, or cleaning
- Complex-wide ventilation issues
- Failure on behalf of the tenant and/or landlord to maintain appropriate levels of moisture in the apartments
Lets say a tenant who lives on the second floor has a water leak in his bathroom, which causes a leaky ceiling for the tenant living beneath him. The tenant who lives on the first floor may notice bubbling or cracks in their ceiling, which could be indicative of a mold problem. If the landlord fixes the leak but doesnt check that bottom tenants ceiling, the tenant could be exposed to mold, which can trigger allergies and other illnesses.
Mold In A Basement Apartment
You might not even realize that you are living with mold until you develop symptoms. If you live in a basement apartment, the air could seem dry, but it could be infected with mold thats hidden in the walls, carpets, air vents, window sills, or ceiling tiles.
Mold can grow anywhere that moisture is present for a prolonged period. This means that mold could have grown after previous water damage, before you even moved into your apartment. Now it is hanging around, infecting your air.
Best Tips To Deal With Mold
Mold is a very serious environmental hazards causing concern among renters. It can lead to significant health problems such as rashes, chronic fatigue, nausea, cognitive losses, hemorrhaging, and asthma.
If you suspect there is mold in your rental unit, contact the landlord immediately. As per section 32 of the Act, the landlord must provide and maintain residential property in a state of decoration and repair that complies with the health, safety and housing standards required by law. However, the landlord may also say that you have caused the mold, for example, by leaving damp towels around, not keeping the bathroom fan on long enough, etc You, as the tenant, are responsible to maintain reasonable health, cleanliness and sanitary standards throughout the rental unit and residential property.
If youre dealing with mold that you believe is not your fault, take lots of pictures and document everything including conversations with your landlord. If you have questions, call the Residential Tenancy Branch at 1-800-665-8779.
There are very few situations in which a tenant is allowed to withhold the rent. These are:
- When the landlord agrees in writing
- When the landlord illegally increases the rent
- When the landlord does not reimburse the tenant for emergency repairs after receiving the written account and receipts.
If you are planning to withhold the rent, just be certain you are allowed to. Non-payment of rent is cause for eviction.
Arbitrated Decisions Regarding Mold
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What Should You Do If You Find Mold On Your Windows
Although it is possible to get rid of mold from your windowsills yourself, the cleaning process may be quite unsafe. Without the proper methods and protective equipment, there is an increased risk of mold spores spreading to other areas of the house. This may affect your health and the air quality in the home. If not handled properly, the mold can start to grow in areas of the house where they were previously absent. Mold spores inhaled can also cause harm to you and others within the home.
To eliminate any chances of exposing yourself and others to harmful mold spores or causing more mold issues, we recommend you seek the help of mold remediation experts. Our mold cleaning professionals at EcoFMR have the skills, tools, and expertise to ensure effective cleaning of molds and prevent the circulation of mold spores during the process. We also find and fix the root cause of the moldy issue, so you do not have to experience mold regrowth in the future.
Also read: Having known more about black mold on window sills, take a look at white mold behavior here!
This article was originally published in Dec-2020 and was last updated in Oct-2021.
Where To Check For Mold In Your Apartment
When you lease an apartment, you need to know where to look for black mold growing inside of it. By recognizing what areas of your apartment can be most susceptible to moisture, humidity and wetness, you can look for signs of mold growing in them.
Technically, however, black mold can grow anywhere in the place. During the time that you live there, you should examine every part of it to find out if it is growing anywhere in it. If you find it, you should report it immediately to your landlord so it can be treated and eliminated promptly.
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How Dangerous Is Black Mold
You may have heard the phrase “toxic black mold” in the news and on social media, which makes this greenish-black splotchy mold sound particularly scary. But is it really more dangerous than other types of mold?
“Toxic black mold” is a term often used to refer to Stachybotrys chartarum. Stachybotrys belongs to a class of molds that are toxigenic, meaning they produce a toxic substance called mycotoxins.
Science hasn’t found a causal link between black mold and certain serious health issues, so Stachybotrys isn’t necessarily more dangerous than other types of molds. According to the CDC, all mold problems should be addressed quickly, especially since the presence of mold in your apartment could be a sign of a long-term moisture problem.
How To Remove Black Mold From Your Apartment
If you decide not to use the services of a professional remediation company, you may be able to get rid of it on your own. Regular household bleach is effective in killing and getting rid of all kinds of fungus.
You may find it best, however, to dilute and spray the bleach on the affected area and then use a sponge to scrub it away. You should wear eye goggles, gloves and even a respirator mask to avoid coming into contact with the spores.
Read Also: Can You Sue Your Landlord For Black Mold
Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Mold In Your Apartment
The bothersome fungus rears its ugly head in lots of places, and in a range of colors that include white, green and black. Toxicity varies, too. Among a laundry list of symptomatic issues, black mold, for instance, can cause serious respiratory health concerns. Mold can also be a trigger for headaches, sore throats, asthma and allergies.
Removing Mold From Exterior Home Surfaces
Chlorine bleach is quite effective in cleaning all types of house siding, concrete, brick, and stone, but it is harmful to plants and lawns. Be sure to cover any vulnerable plants with heavy plastic sheeting.
Mix one cup of chlorine bleach to one gallon of water. The solution can be used with a garden sprayer, power washer, or for hand-scrubbing. Always wear safety glasses, gloves, protective clothing, and a respirator. The bleach solution will cause color-loss on any type of fabric.
Wet the moldy areas with plain water, then the bleach and water solution, and allow it to work for several minutes. If the mold lightens, move to another area. If stains remain, scrub the area and then reapply more bleach and water solution. Allow to air dry completely.
Rinse down nearby planted areas with plain water.
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Removing Mold From Tile And Grout
Bathroom humidity and body soil on surfaces create the perfect environment for mold growth. There are plenty of commercial cleaners that you can buy, but chlorine bleach and water are just as effective and much less expensive.
Simply mix one part bleach to 16 parts water and apply to the mold-affected areas. Allow the solution to remain on the moldy area for at least 15 minutes before scrubbing or retreating. Rinse with water and wipe dry, keeping windows open until fully dry.
Mold Growth And Health Risks
Most molds arent harmful like the one that grows on shower tiles. But there are some kinds of mold that grow in your apartment that can be harmful. Mold poses serious health risks to people with underlying health problems, infants, children, elderly people, immune-compromised, and people with respiratory conditions, allergies, and asthma. Youll start facing some health issues if theres any mold growing in your apartment. Here are some mold allergy symptoms:
- Watery eyes, coughing, or trouble breathing.
- Sinus Headaches
- Congestion and runny nose
Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Mold In The Bathroom Ceiling
How To Prevent The Growth And Spread Of Mould
Proper ventilation is the key to avoiding mould thats caused by condensation. A good first step is to make sure you have an extractor fan installed in your kitchen and bathroom – if your property is a newer build then it will likely have them already as extractor fans are a legal requirement, but for older properties you may want to think about getting one fitted.
If your property is already suffering from damp, dehumidifiers can be used to dry things out before you start to remove the mould. Though you cant control your tenants future behaviour, if the property is empty while you solve the problem make sure to keep it properly heated and open the curtains during the daylight hours.
You can also decorate your property in a way that will help prevent the spread of mould. Using anti-mildew paint in areas prone to mould will help prevent it from growing, while using a curtain pole that keeps your curtains set further back from the windows will make them less likely to get damp.
What Apartment Mold Symptoms Should Worry Me
Mold is a fungus that grows in the presence of moisture in warm, dark places. It releases tiny little spores into the air and, if left untreated, can make you really sick. Those spores can settle into your lungs.
You might have mold if you witness or experience any of the following:
- A persistent musty smell
- You see black or dark green spots appearing on any surface
- You start having physical symptoms like sneezing, coughing, trouble breathing, itchy eyes, or skin rashes that get better when you leave your apartment
- You see signs of water intrusion like bulging drywall, bubbling or peeling paint, and/or discoloration from water stains that werent dried out immediately.
You might only see or feel just one symptom, but it is very important not to ignore signs of mold for the sake of your health. Each of these apartment mold symptoms is a cause for concern.
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Follow These Steps For Thorough Mold Remediation:
How To Prevent Mold
The bestapproach when it comes to mold issues is preventing mold growth before itbecomes an issue. Mold thrives anywhere where there is moisture, so if you wantto prevent it, moisture control is key. Here are the strategies you can use tocontrol moisture indoors.
- Dry the wet areas of your apartment immediately Remember to dry your walls and floor after a shower. Avoid leaving wet items lying around, and get rid of water-damaged carpets, bedding, and rugs.
- Improve air circulation in your apartment Your routine tasks could be contributing to the growth of mold in your apartment. Ensure that activities such as taking showers, doing laundry, or cooking meals dont invite mold by allowing adequate air circulation in your home. Use air conditioning units, but remember to check and clean them on a regular basis. For more energy efficiency, simply open your windows for better air circulation.
- Monitor humidity indoors Indicators of excessive humidity in your apartment include condensation on the windows and walls. Invest in a dehumidifier to keep the condensation at bay and consequently prevent the potential growth of mold.
- Fix leaks immediately If there are any leaks in your apartment, ask your landlord to fix them as soon as possible so as to reduce the chances of mold developing in your apartment.
Read Also: Clean Mildew Off Bathroom Ceiling
Renters Strategies For Dealingwith Mold
If you dont like that your landlord is ignoring the mold problem, you might consider a repair and deduct strategy.
As Nolo reports, this entails eliminating the mold yourself and then deducting the expense for it from the rent that you have to pay.
Withholding rent money completely is another strategy. However, if you created the mold problem, then this wont work. In addition, generally youre supposed to inform your landlord of the mold problem and give them a reasonable period of time in which to fix it.
If you act too hastily, such as by threatening to withhold rent, this is quite unreasonable.
Theresalso the issue of how serious the mold is. If theres a small mold problem,this doesnt mean you cant live in the apartment, so it wouldnt be fair foryou not to pay rent, as Nolo explains.
But what if the mold is a big problem that concerns you? Youll be pleased to know that there are situations in which you can withhold rent. According to Mass Legal Help, if you answer yes to all five of the following questions, then you can stop paying rent.
- Do defective conditions existin your apartment?
- Do these defective conditionsendanger or materially impair your health, safety, and wellbeing?
- Does the landlord know aboutthem, and did he/she know about them before you stopped paying rent?
- Were the conditions caused bysomething or someone other than yourself?
- Can your landlord makerepairs to fix the problem without you having to permanently move out?
What Should Be Done When Mold Is Found In My Apartment
Mold should be cleaned up, according to the NYC Department of Health, with a mild bleach and water solution by a person who is not allergic or sensitive to the mold. Young children, especially babies, older people, pregnant women and anyone with asthma or other allergic or lung condition should not be involved in or around the mold or the clean up. The cleaning cloths should be discarded, and any thing that had the mold growing on it, such as carpets, curtains, furniture, paper, wall paper, plaster or sheet rock should also be discarded. The citys health department has clear guidelines for cleaning up mold growths which should be followed. If your landlord is doing the cleanup, make sure the workers follow the guidelines. Obviously, very large growths should be handled by a trained contractor hired by the landlord.
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How You Can Prevent Mold Issues In Rental Properties
The absolute best way to avoid any legal issues with tenants regarding mold in apartment buildings is to have the unit thoroughly inspected. It is often impossible to find traces of mold with a simple visual test plus, it often grows in very hidden places.
A professional mold inspection service will collect samples from the carpet, walls, and even the air to check for any presence of mold spores. Inspectors take videos and photos and use state-of-the-art technology like thermal imaging and moisture testing devices. This helps them to pinpoint exactly where the mold is growing and what is causing the growth.
All of the mold samples are then sent to an Unbiased 3rd party AIHA Certified laboratory to determine the type of toxins. The comprehensive inspection and the laboratory results will allow the Hygienist to provide you with a written report that will outline the necessary scope of work that is needed to remediate the mold infestation. If elevated levels of toxic mold are present, proper remediation will be necessary to eradicate all traces of the mold.
It is highly recommended that all landlords schedule a thorough mold inspection for their units before a new tenant moves in. Additionally, an inspection should be scheduled within 24-48 hours after any water damage is reported, such as a pipe leak.
Is It A Violation For There To Be Mold In My Apartment
The citys housing department will record mold growths as C class, or immediately hazardous violations. However, many tenants find the enforcement of laws by the citys health and housing departments to be insufficient when dealing with a landlord who is resistant to spending the money to cure the problem. If your landlord is not responsive, you may need to take futher action such as taking your landlord to court
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