How To Check For Mold In Your House Or Apartment
Mold is the most common source of indoor air quality problems in houses and apartments.
With the average American spending 90% of their time indoors, according to the EPA, the presence of mold is something everyone should be concerned about.
Over time, exposure to mold spores can produce the following signs and symptoms:
- Musty, earthy odors
- Asthma or allergy symptoms while indoors
- Difficulty breathing
- Skin rashes
How to Check for Mold
To check for mold, look for discoloration on surfaces with a slimy, fuzzy, or powdery texture.
Mold can sometimes grow in hard-to-spot places, such as behind wallpaper, inside vents, or in an attic or basement.
Start by inspecting your house or apartment for leaky pipes or any other signs or sources of moisture. Mold always needs moisture to grow, so look in areas and surfaces that have been recently exposed to water, humidity, or condensation.
When you check for mold, youll want to answer these 3 questions:
- Do you have mold?
- What caused it?
- Where is it located?
With answers the questions above, youll have a much higher chance of successfully getting rid of the mold and keeping your house or apartment mold-free in the future.
If you discover mold growing in your home, its important to take steps promptly to find and remove it.
If You Suspect Mold in Your House or Apartment
Here is a list of common places to check for signs of mold:
Mold Pain And Suffering
The first step is to prove that someone else was responsible for the mold’s growth and presence. If you live in an apartment complex or a rented home, for example, you will need to prove that you alerted the proper person, such as a landlord about the situation and the landlord did not take action to get rid of the mold. In order to prove any type of claim in a personal injury lawsuit, consider the following:
- Determine what medical costs have arisen as a direct result of the mold.
- Determine what lost wages have occurred due in some way to the mold
- Determine what quality of life aspects have suffered, such as the development of asthma or other health conditions associated with the situation.
To further evaluate the pain and suffering claim, use other lawsuits filed within the state as help in determining the worth of such a lawsuit. This precedent is best researched by an attorney. A personal injury attorney can provide you with the information you need to determine what you can expect from this case.
What Happens If You Have A Mold Problem In Your House
Having a mold problem does not mean that you cannot get your house back. However, it does mean that you must take immediate action. Many people actually live in a home with mold and never realize it is there. They ignore the warning signs until the problem reaches a point where the mold is taking over and affecting their health.
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What Can I Do As A Tenant
Renters can address some minor moisture problems themselves.
- Always use bathroom fans during and after bathing/showering
- Clean up spills and leaks quicklyâespecially on carpets.
- Use kitchen fans when cooking to reduce humidity.
- Dont run showers or boil water to humidify your home.
- Avoid using humidifiers unless there is a medical reason to use one.
- Ensure good air movement in your home to help prevent condensation:
- Open windows when possible,
- Don’t block supply and return registers with furniture
- Keep a few inches of space between furniture and walls
Tenants should promptly notify their landlord when they find a moisture problemor indoor mold growth. Common moisture problems such as pipe leaks, roof leaks, sewage back-ups and overflowing toilets/sinks/bathtubs can become mold problems if they are not address quickly. For ongoing problems, notification should be in writing to help avoid misunderstandings. Request that repairs be completed within 14 days. Tenants should keep copies of letters. If there is mold growing indoors, the moisture problem needs to be corrected and the mold removed. Simply painting over the problem is not going to solve the issue. Growth on surfaces, such as concrete, metal, tile, and solid wood, can be cleaned with water and a household cleaner, if the building material is structurally sound. Porous materials with mold growth, such as dry wall, carpet, upholstery, and insulation, are difficult to clean and should be thrown away.
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.
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What Legal Obligation Do Landlords Have To Maintain Their Premises
Florida statute 83.51 outlines what landlords are required to do to maintain a multi-family apartment building.
In sum, 83.51 states that a landlord must ensure the property is in good repair and in compliance with all applicable building, housing, and health codes. If there are no applicable codes, landlords are required to, at a minimum, maintain the roofs, windows , doors, floors, steps, porches, exterior walls, foundations, and all other structural components in good repair and capable of resisting normal forces and loads. Landlords must also make sure all plumbing is in reasonable working condition.
Unless otherwise agreed to in your lease, your landlord must also provide for the extermination of rats, mice, roaches, ants, termites, and bedbugs locks and keys clean and safe common areas garbage removal functioning heat and hot water, and smoke detectors.
Is It Illegal To Have Mold In Your Apartment In California
For example, an apartment building in Santa Rosa, California, had such a high level of mold that the city ordered several reportedly sickened tenants to vacate their homes. Although the landlord gave the tenants $2,000 for relocation, the tenants are suing the landlord for damages, according to a press report.
Federal law doesnt require you to disclose a problem with mold in the property to potential renters, but some states do, including California and New York. Remember that poorly ventilated bathroom?
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How Do I Detect Mold In An Apartment
A musty odor might be the first sign of mold in an apartment, or maybe you spot a suspiciously damp patch next to a window. Most indoor spaces contain mold spores, but the spores only begin to grow in certain conditions. Commercial companies provide mold testing services, though these can be expensive. Alternatively, you can use a much cheaper home kit to discover if mold is infesting your dwelling.
What Is Toxic Mold Syndrome
Toxic mold based illness is a very prevalent and under diagnosed condition that can manifest in many different ways, including with symptoms that are exclusively psychiatric, such as depression, anxiety, attentional problems, brain fog and insomnia.
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How To Test For Black Mold
Do you keep getting a whiff of something musty in your bathroom or basement? Afraid it might be mold? Learn about three of the most popular kits to test for mold at home.
Its no secret that damp areas of the home provide the perfect conditions for mold and mildew to grow. Whether your nose knows, or your eyes spy dark spots in strategic locations, you want to make sure.
Mold doesnt just eat away at your wood, wallpaper, or grout. Its spores get airborne and cause all kinds of health problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says enough evidence exists to link mold to upper respiratory tract symptoms like itchy eyes and runny nose to cough and wheeze in otherwise healthy people.
Sort Inventory Classify And Dispose Of Personal Belongings
Apartment cleanout after a tenant dies necessitates dealing with the renters personal belongings. Dealing with a tenants personal property typically is a four-part process:
Keep in mind that the probate court may require an official inventory of the property that is filed with the court itself. Otherwise, an inventory is necessary to keep track and account for a tenants personal property.
A tenants property can be classified into four categories as part of an apartment clean out:
- Property to be kept
- Property to be thrown out
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The Basics Of Toxic Black Mold
Mold has a bad reputation. While this is warranted in certain situations, many times some mold is okay or even desired. Penicillin, for instance, is derived from mold. Furthermore, many types of mold found in a house or apartment are harmless.
Toxic black mold, however, is harmful and dangerous. Officially known as Stachybotrys chartarum, this type of fungi can lead to serious health issues after prolonged periods of exposure. Health problems might include:
- Mental impairment
- Respiratory issues
- Internal organ damage
This doesnt even include the serious property damage that can occur. Black mold, like any other type, thrives in dark and damp spaces. It likes wallpaper, baseboards, insulation and other places where it can grow until you happen to notice it. By then, it may have done irreparable damage, since mold eats whatever it lives on until the structural integrity of the property is at risk.
Thats the bad news. The good news is if your rental unit has been damaged by black mold, you do have legal recourse. Suing your landlord is one of these methods.
Another tried-and-true method is renters insurance. If your belongings have been damaged because of black mold, contact your insurance company immediately. This route may be easier than starting a lawsuit, so pursue these options first before taking legal action.
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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Found Mold In Your Apartment Here’s What To Do
Mold is something you definitely don’t want. Here’s what to do if you spot it in your living space.
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When you live in an apartment, there are certain challenges you might encounter. Noisy neighbors, for example, can make home life unpleasant, while a broken elevator can make the act of accessing your living space an exercise in breathlessness and sweat. But if there’s one problem you really don’t want to grapple with in your apartment, it’s mold growth. Here, we’ll talk about what a mold problem looks like and explain what steps to take if mold shows up in your unit.
Do I Have To Have The Property Inspected For The Mold Removal To Be Covered By The Landlord
Not always. Mold removal can be covered without an inspection where:
- Your landlord agreed to the mold removal or
- Without an agreement, a court finds that the mold condition materially affects the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant and lets you:
- end your lease, or
- get a court order requiring mold removal.
If, however, you want to use the repair and deduct remedy, you must have the appropriate local housing, building, or health official provide the landlord with written notice that the mold condition materially affects the health or safety of an ordinary tenant. This official might be a city health inspector, for example.
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How Can You Tell If Mold Is Toxic
Pay attention to the color and consistency: We already talked about black mold above, though its more accurate to say that Stachybotrys chartarum has a greenish-black hue. Toxic mold can also have a grayish, soot-like texture, or a slimy, wet surface. In some cases, you may even notice furry orange or brown spots.
Getting Sick From Mould In Apartments: What Can Be Done
WITHIN THE CONTROL OF THE TENANTOUTSIDE OF THE CONTROL OF THE TENANTFORCING A LANDLORD TO DEAL WITH A MOULD PROBLEMGETTING AN ORDER TO FIXfit for habitation20. LANDLORDS RESPONSIBILITY TO REPAIR— A landlord is responsible for providing and maintaining a residential complex, including the rental units in it, in a good state of repair and fit for habitation and for complying with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards. SAME—Subsection applies even if the tenant was aware of a state of non-repair or a contravention of a standard before entering in the tenancy agreement.WHAT A TENANT SHOULD DEMONSTRATE
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What To Do As A Renter If You Find Mold In Your Apartment
If you uncover a small mold problem in your apartment, you may be able to tackle it yourself. For example, if you see a small cluster of black spots in a specific part of your home — a cabinet that a sink flows into, or a certain part of your wall — then you may be able to scrub it off with soap and water or a bleach solution .
But if the issue is more widespread, you’ll need to loop in your landlord — especially if the source of your mold problem isn’t obvious, or if you’re not seeing signs of mold, but rather, are experiencing the health issues that come with an infestation.
It’s a good idea to inform your landlord of your mold issue in writing. That way, if your landlord drags his or her feet, you’ll have evidence in support of further action you might need to take if the problem goes unaddressed for too long, like withholding rent or even breaking your lease.
At that point, your landlord should bring in a company to do some mold testing. If a mold problem is confirmed, and its source isn’t something attributable to your actions , then your landlord should pay for whatever mold remediation is needed. Your landlord should also take steps to prevent mold from coming back, whether it’s addressing a leak in your building’s roof, repointing its bricks, or addressing issues with the building’s HVAC system that result in excess moisture.
Is It Ok To Move Out Of Apartment With Mold
Not only does mold damage the surfaces it grows on, it can also cause serious health problems. Depending on your sensitivity to mold and the extent of the mold growth, it could be a good idea to move out of your apartment if mold is present.
Tenants have some duties to maintain their rental unit, so when a tenants 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. Mold Clauses in Leases
However, even if tenants are responsible for the cost of mold removal, landlords may be required by law to have the work done in order to make the apartment habitable. Landlords can then charge tenants for the work. You should consult an attorney if you need legal advice about a specific situation.
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Your Tenants Have Allergy
Some molds, like black mold, produce mycotoxins, which can cause health problems in some people. While there is still much to be learned about the health effects of mold, researchers have found a link between indoor mold exposure and the following symptoms:
- Upper respiratory tract symptoms in otherwise healthy people
- Asthma symptoms in people with asthma
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis in people with that condition
- Development of asthma in young children
Mold may be present if your renters are complaining of hay-fever-like symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, rash, shortness of breath, or irritated eyes, skin, throat, or nose. Remember not everyone will exhibit these symptomsdont take the lack of these symptoms to be a sign that your property doesnt have a mold problem.
Broken Washing Machine Hose
“We get a lot of these,” Gross says, squarely placing the blame on cheap rubber washing machine hoses. Those are the ones that break, as opposed to the less-than-$30 stainless-steel-wrapped hoses you can buy at Home Depot that almost never leak.”
Treatment: For minor damage, the removal of moldings and drilling of holes to promote air circulation and drying, for a cost of about $1,200-$5,000.
If mold has already set in, a full-scale remediation would entail removing the flooring and base moldings, cutting the sheetrock walls up two feet around the perimeter of the room, then treating as described below. Price: $8,000-$12,000.
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