Wednesday, April 24, 2024

How To Tell If My Apartment Has Mold

Mold Prevention And Removal

How to address tenant if mold found in rental home

The best way to prevent mold is to remove water and moisture sources. Fix leaks, dry damp areas and remove humidity from the air to help stop mold growth and keep it from coming back.

To remove mold:

  • Seal off moldy areas using a plastic sheet and duct tape until cleaned. Keep children and pets away.
  • Use water and soap to clean small areas of mold on walls or other hard surfaces when you see it. Wear waterproof gloves while cleaning.
  • Dry the cleaned area completely.
  • Clean any visible dust from work areas. Use wet mops or HEPA vacuums.
  • Throw away all cleaning-related waste in heavy-duty plastic bags and seal securely.
  • If the mold returns quickly or spreads, there may be an underlying problem, such as a water leak. Report repeated mold problems to your landlord.

    If large areas of mold are present, you may need outside help such as a professional mold abatement company. Be sure your contractor is licensed and follows NYS Labor Law requirements.

    To report a large amount of mold in an apartment if you are a tenant, or if the mold is in a non-residential location, submit a complaint online or call 311.

    Ductwork Is Circulating Mold Spores

    If you still suspect your rental property has a mold problem, and none of the above signs are there, check the ductwork of your heating and cooling systems. Central heating and cooling systems constantly circulate mold spores. They also often have dusty surfaces, which provide nutrients for mold. If there is moisture present, perhaps because of condensation on the air conditioner coil or a faulty humidified, mold can grow. Check the dust in the ductwork, and also check the air conditioning coil, and other areas within the system that have moisture. Send dust samples for testing to find out if there is mold actively growing in the dust.

    Mold is a problem that should be taken seriously and dealt with swiftly. The CDC have clear advice regarding mold: all types should be removed upon discovery.

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    Possible Liabilities With Apartment Mold

    If you fail to notify your apartment buildings management team and/or person of the mold problem and, as a result, it continues to spread or damage the interior, you may lose your security deposit in order to cover the cost of repairs.

    Depending on the terms of your rental agreement, you may even be held you liable for additional damages. Thus, its important that you take care of any mold problems immediately and the best way to do this is to call a mold testing and mold removal expert.

    Dont live in the presence of mildew and dont live in the presence of mold. Protect your apartment and protect yourself.

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    Where Mold Is Found

    Mold comes in various colors and shapes. The villainswith names like stachybotrys, penicillium, aspergilus, paecilomyces, and fusariumare black, white, green, or gray. Some are powdery, others shiny. Some molds look and smell disgusting others are barely seenhidden between walls, under floors and ceilings, or in less accessible spots, such as basements and attics.

    Mold often grows on water-soaked materials, such as wall paneling, paint, fabric, ceiling tiles, newspapers, or cardboard boxes. Humidity sets up prime growing conditions for mold. Buildings in naturally humid climates of Texas, California, and the Southern U.S. have experienced more mold problems than residences in drier climates. But whatever the climate, mold can grow as long as moisture is present.

    Is Black Mold Dangerous

    How do i test for mold in my apartment

    Black mold is very dangerous, especially to people who suffer from respiratory conditions like asthma. It can cause symptoms like:

    • Eye irritation
    • Wheezing
    • Nasal congestion

    It can cause pneumonia and internal organ damage in people who have underlying health conditions that compromise their immune systems.

    If you suffer from these conditions when you are inside of your apartment, you may have reason to suspect that black mold is growing somewhere in it. By eliminating it, you may relieve these symptoms and improve your health.

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    Signs Of Mold In An Apartment

    Watch out for these signs of mold in an apartment:

    • An off smell: If you notice a musty smell in your unit, it could very well come from mold. Check for further signs. Even if you dont immediately see anything obvious, a moldy odor means youll want to investigate more.
    • Dirty spots: Mold is not always visible, but people can mistake it for stains like soot or dirt when it is. Remember that mold can come in various colors, sizes, and shapes, so dont just assume youre in the clear if that strange spot isnt black. A small mold spot could mean you have more mold lurking behind your walls or in other areas.
    • Leaks: Because mold needs moisture, a leak in your unit may lead to mold. Mold often exists around pipes in front of and behind walls. If you have a leak, get it fixed right away, and check for mold signs after. The top causes of mold include leaks from another unit, clogged PTAC units, and broken washing machine hoses.
    • Condensation: Again, lots of moisture creates the right conditions for mold. Condensation collects when a lot of moisture exists in the air. High humidity can make condensation even worse, and by extension, the conditions for mold growth even better.
    • Flooding: Likewise, flooding often leads to mold. Even if the flood occurred a while ago, you might have mold that grew undetected and is just now showing itself.

    If any of these issues exist in your apartment, you should start addressing them with your landlord right away.

    How Do I Prevent Mold In My Apartment

    Improve Your Apartments Ventilation One of the best ways to prevent mold from growing is to improve air circulation inside your apartment. Moisture is a key factor that helps mold grow, and mold growth is inevitable if humid air is stagnant in your unit.

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    Learn About Your Landlord’s Liability For Mold Problems How To Get Rid Of Mold And How To Prevent It In The First Place

    By , Attorney

    Mold is an environmental hazard that can cause concern among renters. Across the country, tenants have won multimillion-dollar cases against landlords for significant health problemssuch as rashes, chronic fatigue, nausea, cognitive losses, hemorrhaging, and asthmaallegedly caused by exposure to “toxic molds” in their building.

    If you suspect there is mold in your rental unit, learn what to look for and when your landlord might be liable. Even better, take steps to prevent mold before it becomes a problemor clean mold up before it does become a problem.

    How To Get Rid Of Mold

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    There are plenty of DIY mold removal options for you on the web some more effective than others. These may suffice if the problem is minor. After DIY treatment, it may be good to have an air quality test taken to determine the effectiveness of your work.

    If the problem is more than minor, DIY methods will likely only remove the appearance of mold for a short time. If the problem is more serious, the best approach is to hire a certified and reputable local mold remediation company.

    Most mold remediation companies will recommend demolition of the infected part of your home to get rid of mold, so keep in mind that you might have additional expenses to restore a portion of your house. Besides that, the process might take several days.

    If you are looking into demolition-free mold removal, then look into the companies that use a dry fog technique. When properly done, this method not only kills mold without demolition to your home, but it also takes less than a day to complete.

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    What To Do If You Think Your Apartment Has Mold

    If there is mold in your apartment, you need to notify your landlord immediately. You might also consider asking your landlord to bring in a professional mold inspector. Mold usually grows in difficult to see places, like behind walls or appliances, and the professionals will have equipment to detect it.

    Mold Is A Health Hazard

    So, what is mold? It stems from untreated moisture and warm temperatures that combine to form a fungus, which is what you know as mold. You don’t have to touch it to get sick because it becomes airborne. You may not know how bad mold actually is for your health. Breathing in mold spores can cause numerous health problems. As mold starts and grows in your apartment, there are spores that can produce allergens, irritants, and mycotoxins. These spores can enter your lungs and cause major problems that can even lead to hospitalization. For those who are allergic to mold, it’s even worse and can lead to death in extreme situations. It’s no joke.

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    What Mold Looks Like

    Molds are a type of fungus and can look like their fungal cousins, mushrooms and yeasts. Outdoors, molds can be seen gobbling up the dead organic matter on decomposing surfaces like fallen leaves and rotting logs indoors, house mold thrives in wet, humid environments like bathrooms and basements or anywhere that has recently flooded. There are thousands of types of mold, and their appearance can vary depending on the type of mold and where its growing.

    The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum , is also sometimes found in homes and other buildings. This greenish-black growth can grow on fiberboard, paper, dust, and lint, particularly in areas that may have recently flooded or suffered other types of water damage. While black mold can certainly look scary, the CDC says that Stachybotrys chartarum isnt any more harmful than other types of mold.

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    Mold Caused By Tenant Behavior

    Mold in my Apartment

    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.

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    Who Should Pay For Getting Rid Of Mold That Depends

    Steve Wagner, a real estate attorney and partner at the firm Wagner Berkow & Brandt , says he has seen a steady stream of complaints and lawsuits that involve mold, in both old and new buildings. “People are far more aware now of whats needed to remediate, and the danger of living in a building where mold isnt properly remediated.”

    If you bought in a newer building with mold, you may be able to sue the developer in certain circumstances.

    If leaks and mold are the result of design defects and exist throughout the building, the board may want to consider a lawsuit against the sponsor or developer. Those kinds of cases are expensive, and may not be cost-effective for an individual, says Wagner. That said, Wagner’s firm has successfully secured a multi-million dollar settlement for an individual client in a mold-related case.

    If you’re renting, you shouldn’t have to pay to remediate mold, experts say. Learn more about filing a mold complaint with the city.

    A cost-effective way of forcing repair or remediation would be through housing court. These lawsuits are available to owners or renters in co-ops or condos, Wagner says. An abatement of rent may be available under warranty of habitability.

    Where Can I Find More Information About Renters Rights To Repairs In Texas

    For detailed information on renters rights to repairs in Texas, see the following links:

    Tip: The Austin Tenants Council has do-it-yourself forms for sending notices to your landlord to ask for repairs on your rental property. It also has do-it-yourself forms for ending your lease and for filing a lawsuit. Get forms here from Austin Tenants Council Self-Help Repair Packet.

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    Landlord Liability For Mold In Florida

    There is currently no federal law covering a landlord’s responsibilities when it comes to mold. Also, Florida doesn’t have any laws that specifically address a landlord’s duties or liability when it comes to mold prevention and remediation.

    However, tenants who believe they have been harmed by the presence of high concentrations of mold in their apartment can try to recover damages from their landlord in court to compensate them for their loss. If a judge or jury agrees that the landlord negligently created a mold problem or allowed one to continue at a property, the landlord could be on the hook for any harm.

    For example, a local news channel investigation uncovered tenants at an Orlando, Florida, apartment complex living with serious mold, leaks, and flooding issues, as well as damaged electrical outlets that posed a fire hazard. The city reportedly fined the landlord $15,000 per day for 31 violations of its health and safety code.

    How To Tell Whether You Have Mold In Your Apartment

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    So how do you know if you have a problem? Its not always obvious, says Anthony Pieri from Drytech Restoration Services.

    • Water damage: Youll probably notice water damage and staining before you notice any signs of mold, because mold tends to grow faster inside the wall than on the surface. Thats why its important to address any moisture problems quickly.

    • Odor: One of the first signs that mold might be present is a wet, musty smell or the smell of moldy, wet building materials. These indicate a moisture problem that can lead to mold it doesnt necessarily mean you have mold.

    • Spots: Black, gray, green or brown spotting. Only testing can prove whether or not its mold, but if you see spotting on a surface like sheetrock that is or was wet, its worth testing, says Gross.

    • Health problems: Respiratory reactions including asthma are most common, though mold sensitivity can also cause headaches and skin rashes. Some people have symptoms immediately for others, it develops over time. Note that not all types of mold cause health problems to identify which type you have, an industrial hygienist will need to collect a sample for testing.

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    What To Do If You Find Mildew In Your Apartment

    Like mold , mildew is troublesome and should be immediately removed. Keep your eyes and nose open to signs of mildew in your apartment. In many cases, tackling mold and mildew should be left entirely to the professionals. Its important that the job is done right the first time, to ensure a proper and safe remediation.

    How To Get Your Landlord To Fix A Mold Problem

    This article was co-authored by Mike Kapur. Mike Kapur is a home inspector and the owner of Sonic Home Inspections, a home inspection company in Westchester, New York. With over 15 years of experience in pre-inspecting properties, Mike specializes in mold, radon, asbestos, lead, water, and air quality testing as well as hazardous materials, pest, infrared, and general home inspections. Prior to founding Sonic Home Inspections, Mike worked pre-inspecting apartments. Mike holds a BS in Accounting from Queens College and is a Certified Mold Assessor in the state of New York.There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 44,514 times.

    Mold is a dangerous health hazard that can reduce your quality of life. If you find mold in your apartment, you should document the extent of the mold and ask your landlord to clean it up. Your landlord should also fix the underlying cause, such as a leaky roof or pipes. If your landlord won’t fix the problem, you should consider your options, which may include suing your landlord in court. Because lawsuits are complicated, you should probably consult with an attorney.

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    Can You Sue Your Landlord For Mold Exposure

    You can sue your landlord for mold: If you ve incurred any costs in attempting to remediate the mold yourself For mold -related damages to your personal property, if you do not have renters insurance or your renters insurance does not cover mold For your pain and suffering caused by the health effects of mold.

    Broken Washing Machine Hose

    Is this mold in my AC? Should I be worried ...

    “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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