What Are My Options If The Owner Refuses To Help
First, it is important to check the lease agreement between the tenant and the landlord. Leases seldom address mold or moisture specifically, but they should include language specifying how maintenance and repair concerns are handled.
If a landlord fails to make repairs, the Attorney Generals publication Landlords and Tenants: Rights and Responsibilities suggests a number of remedies, including filing a complaint with the local housing, health, or building inspector, if there is one. Tenants can contact their city or county to see what codes and inspection services may be available.
The availability of inspectors and local codes varies throughout the state. Some cities have adopted property maintenance or rental housing codes. Another option may be the local health department. Some local health departments may apply their authority under Minnesota Law to declare a property a public health nuisance and may issue correction orders to the landlord. The Minnesota Department of Health does not provide direct services, such as inspections or testing, for mold problems.
If the city or county are unable to help, you may be able to take legal action, including a rent escrow action. The tenant should try to document the problem, where applicable, with letters, photographs, evidence of health problems, orders from local inspectors, and any other documentation that would help the case. More information on legal rights and action is available from these sources:
Leaks From Another Apartment
Broken pipes and water overflows can soak your ceiling and walls from above, or seep into your floors and walls from the side. The most common offender: Plastic water supply lines to sinks and toilets, which newer buildings tend to use more.
Treatment: If, for example, your upstairs neighbor’s toilet or shower overflows into one room of your apartment, your ceiling and walls would be affected. Professional water remediationwhich involves drying out the area behind the wall to prevent moldcosts about $1,200-$4,000. That process takes about three to 10 days and includes sucking up the standing water, making holes in the wall to ventilate the wall cavities, and may involve pulling down a light fixture to get air into the ceiling, cleaning and treating all surfaces with an antimicrobial agent, and setting up drying equipment.
If mold is present and the affected area exceeds 10 square feet, New York City Health Department guidelines require a full-scale mold remediation by a trained and qualified professional like Gross. Since 2016, New York state has required mold remediation companies to be licensed. The law also makes it illegal for companies to do both testing and remediation, as theres an inherent conflict of interest.
The mold limits usually come into play if the mold issue blows up months later or comes from a source that is not related to a covered perila blocked bathroom, vent, for example, says Jeffrey Schneider of Gotham Brokerage, a Brick Underground sponsor.
How Do You Know If Mold Is Behind Drywall
Mold can be black, green, gray, white, or brown. Mold can even appear orange, pink or purple when it grows behind vinyl wallpaper. Another sign of visible mold is discoloration of walls, even if it has been painted over. If the water damage inside the walls persists, mold will show signs on the surface.
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What To Do If You Have Mold In Apartment
Mold emits musty odours, which are caused by microbial volatile organic compounds emitted by the mold spores. These fumes are especially strong and prominent in small spaces such as apartments.
Besides health hazards and odours, the appearance of mold can wreak havoc on the structural integrity of your apartment, as it damages walls, ceilings, furniture and upholstery.
For smaller contaminated areas, you can clean them using vinegar and water, but make sure to dry them thoroughly afterward.
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.
If you suspect theres an issue with mold or mildew in your apartment, contact your landlord immediately and request professional mold remediation.
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.
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How Do I Get Rid Of Mold In My Apartment
Scrub surfaces: Clean moldy non-porous materials and wood surfaces with a wire brush and wipe clean with disposable wipes. Then use a soft brush to scrub all surfaces with a mixture of a quart of water and half a cup of bleach. When youre done, wipebut dont rinsethe surfaces so the bleach can kill the mold.
How Can I Test Myself For Mold Exposure
Testing for mold exposure using a mold urine test might seem counter intuitive but it is actually the best way to find mold in the body. Mycotoxin exposure is a serious medical issues that can cause other health problems, Realtime Labs uses small urine test to determine if you have been exposed to toxic mold.
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Headaches Or Memory Problems
When you have mold, mycotoxins present a big concern. Mycotoxins come from toxic mold strains and can cause serious health issues. Symptoms of exposure include:
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Memory loss.
- Short attention span.
As with the allergy symptoms that non-toxic molds can cause, these symptoms can mean mold exists in your unit if they get worse when youre at home.
Consider The Indoor Air Odor
When you first walk into the apartment, you should be able to assess the smell of the home. Most often, mold spores put off a musty smell caused by moisture problems and is undeniable to the senses. If you find yourself constantly burning candles or spraying fresheners to change the smell of the air, you may be dealing with a mold infestation. You can always ask friends or family members to come over and see if they can smell anything that may be mold growth. You may have a smell in a particular closet or room.
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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.
Mold The Silent Threat
A mold problem can be difficult to identify because it often grows in places that are not easily seen such as behind the wall or cabinetry. It can also take months or years before there are enough signs of mold buildup to the point you notice that it has taken hold.
Any environment that supplies moisture, darkness, and airflow can lead to mold growth and spore production. As mold grows, it releases the mold spores into the air, where they can be inhaled by those in the room.
If water has been a problem in your apartment, maybe because the roof leaked or the bathtub flooded, you need to be concerned about the silent threat of mold. You may find these funguses growing in the ductwork of the HVAC unit, inside walls, under the carpet, or underneath the refrigerator. When growing, you may see brown, black, or green-spotted areas. If you know or suspect a water problem in your apartment, make sure to check your apartment for mold as it can cause health issues.
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Cracking And Peeling Of Paint
Again, high-quality and fresh paint is not subjected to cracks and peeling in any way. Its the moisture and the presence of mold doing these wonders. Hence, if you notice the newly done paint losing its original vibe then quickly watch out for the existence of mold in that specific portion of the paint.
What Should You Do If You Find Mold In Your Apartment Or Rental House
Mold in an apartment is a significant health hazard for adults and especially for young children. Many law firms have won multimillion-dollar cases against landlords for their negligence in preventing black mold in apartments and taking care of the mold problems theyre already aware of.
Mold can cause severe symptoms like fatigue, nausea, asthma, rashes, and even internal organ damage. The scariest part is that these symptoms commonly overlap with a myriad of conditions, so theres no effective way for a parent or spouse to accurately diagnose a mold infestation in their apartment without seeing it.
Use this guide to recognize mold in your apartment so you can keep you and your family safe. Learn when your landlord is liable for this problem so you can take the necessary legal action to get the problem cleaned up.
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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.
How To Test For Mold
You probably dont need to do mold testing or buy a mold test kit, especially if the fungus is visible. Because the health effects of mold vary from person to person, the CDC says that if you can see it or smell it, it should be removed, no matter what type of mold is in your home.
While its not possible to completely eliminate mold in your house, you can prevent a build-up by cleaning up any wet or damp spots and fixing any existing water leaks.
Neither the CDC nor the EPA recommends doing routine mold samplingsboth organizations point out that there are no federal limits for mold in buildings, so people cant check their apartment complexs compliance with the law, for example. Plus, the testing can be expensive.
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How To Find Out In Advance If An Apartment Has A Mold Problem
When looking for a new apartment, its important to investigate whether or not the building is contaminated with mold. Unlike many other apartment flaws, mold growth can often be difficult to spot. Even when an apartment appears clean and mold-free, there can be spores hidden throughout the property. Before signing a lease youll want to request a walk-through of the apartment, so you can check for mold problems in advance.
Look for moldy discoloration on walls and fixtures near sources of excessive moisture. Mold is most prone to growing in moist areas, according to the Toxic Black Mold Information Center. Mold does not always exist as a large, easily noticeable cluster of spores. In many cases small spots of black, blue, green or gray discoloration can be indicative of small mold deposits. Make sure to thoroughly check for mold discoloration near pipes, windows, faucets, air conditioning units, refrigerators and any other places in the apartment that are prone to excessive moisture.
Look for additional discoloration indicative of the use of bleach or other harsh cleansers. If you notice bright white or yellow patches throughout the apartment, ask the landlord if this is the result of DIY mold removal. Many people try to remove mold with bleach. While bleach can kill surface mold, it does not penetrate porous surfaces to kill hidden mold spores. Unexplained bleach stains could mean that the unit has a mold problem.
How To Tell Whether You Have Mold
Its not always obvious that mold is present, but these are things to look for, and be aware of:
Water damage: You’ll 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 doesn’t 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, Gross says.
Health problems: Respiratory reactions including asthma are most common, though mold sensitivity can also cause headaches, irritated eyes, and skin rashes. Some people have symptoms immediately, for others, it develops over time. Note that not all types of mold cause health problems, and that not all black mold is toxic mold. To identify which type of mold you have, an industrial hygienist will need to collect a sample for testing.
If you do think you have mold, there are many at-home mold testing kits available. You can also hire a certified industrial hygienist to take air samples, perform a survey, and devise a clean-up plan.
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Moisture: Investigating And Solving Problems
Mould will grow indoors if moisture is present. Moisture problems in homes may result from:
- daily activities such as showering or bathing, washing clothes or cooking, if exhaust fans are not working properly or are not used
- infiltration of water from the outside when there are cracks or leaks in the foundation, floor, walls or roof
- plumbing leaks
- moisture condensation on cold surfaces
- flooding due to weather conditions
- inadequate ventilation.
Moisture indoors accumulates when it cannot be vented outside and becomes a problem when building materials become damp or wet.
Moisture problems are preventable.
Unless the cause of the moisture problem has been identified and solved, mould will reappear. Once the moisture problem and its causes have been identified, they must be fixed. To prevent future problems, measures should be put in place to control sources of moisture in your home, for example:
- Ensure rain, irrigation water and snowmelt drain away from the house by sloping the grade away from the building.
- Keep eavestroughs and downspouts clean of debris and ensure that the outflow runs away from the house and not into neighbouring foundations.
- Repair plumbing leaks promptly.
- Use exhaust fans, ventilation and air conditioning systems to vent moisture outdoors.
- Use moisture tolerant materials in areas likely to get wet .
Run a dehumidifier in damp areas such as basements or if you observe that moisture is condensing on cold surfaces such as window panes.
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.
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What To Do As A Homeowner If You Find Mold In Your Apartment
If you own your apartment, it may be on you to pay to have your unit tested for mold, and if the problem stems from your unit , you may have to pay for mold remediation yourself. On the other hand, if that mold growth didn’t originate within your unit, but rather, traveled in the form of airborne spores, then there may be a problem that needs to be addressed at the building level. At that point, your homeowners association or co-op board will need to address the issue at hand.
How To Tell If Your Apartment Has Mold And What To Do About It
Learn how to tell if you have mold in your apartmentand what steps to take if you do.
Whether youre about to sign a lease or already in an apartment, you should know the telltale signs of mold. Mold can lead to property damage as well as an array of health problems, so youll want to take care of any mold problems as soon as you discover them. By learning the signs and symptoms of apartment mold, youll know when you need to take action.
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Signs Of Mold In Apartment
This may surprise you: there are mold spores in your apartment already! The tiny spores float through the air both indoors and out. They can get into your apartment through open windows or by hitching a ride on your oryour pet.
Fortunately, mold spores only grow indoors when they land on surfaces that provide the right environment for them.
The symptoms of mold in your apartment can be subtle if the affected area is small or dramatic if the mold has spread. Here are a few telltale signs to look for:
- Your apartment smells like mildew or has an earthy, musty odor.
- You notice signs of water damage like stains or bulging drywall.
- You have physical symptoms of sensitivity to mold like a stuffy nose, watery eyes, coughing or trouble breathing.
- Your apartment has visible signs of mold growing on surfaces.