What Is Mold And Where Is It Found
Mold is an environmental hazard that can exist in apartments and rental properties. Mold can come in various colors, textures, and musty smells. Some mold is clearly visible, but other types of mold can hide in less accessible places inside your apartment or rental property.
Mold, which needs moisture to grow, can be found in damp or water-soaked materials such as newspapers or cardboard boxes, ceiling tiles, or wall paneling. Naturally humid areas like the southern portion of the United States or parts of Texas and California may be more susceptible to mold. However, the truth is that mold can exist anywhere moisture is present.
How To Deal With Black Mold In A Rental Property
Step 1 Notify the Landlord
When you discover mold in your apartment, filing for an apartment mold lawsuit should not be your first step. Instead, you should contact the landlord or send him/her a notice immediately letting them know what you found. Due to the warranty of habitability, your landlord is responsible for removing the mold and should compensate you if you suffer any health problems from being exposed.
Chances are your landlord will react quickly and get the black mold removed. If the landlord shows reluctance in fixing the issue and you are convinced that it is not due to your negligence, you may consider pursuing a legal claim against the landlord.
Step 2 Pursue Legal Action
Filing a lawsuit should be your next move if the landlord refuses to address your mold issue. Depending on your loss you should be fairly compensated. It may be necessary to file in small claims court if the amount of damages falls under a certain threshold. Youll need to research the damage threshold in your state to determine what qualifies as a small claims case.
Should A Tenant Leave If Mold Is Found
Mold is a type of microscopic fungi that thrives in moist conditions and grows on any organic material including wood, paper and fibers. Colonies of mold can cover a large area and are usually black, white, grey, brown or green. 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.
Read Also: Uv Lights To Remove Mold
How To Know If Mold Is Present In Your Apartment
Even though you wont always have visible signs of mold, you dont need an indoor air quality test to conclude that you have a problem.
Even when its hidden, there are usually telltale signs that conditions are optimal for mold growth:
- Water spots on ceilings and walls
- Water collecting on the floor
- Stains on walls, ceilings, and floors
- Persistent musty or bad odours for which you cant pinpoint the source
- Other evidence of water leaks, flooding, or condensation
Unfortunately, most people dont realize they have a mold problem until they start getting sick. Some common symptoms include:
- Allergy symptoms: sneezing, sore throat, itchy and watery eyes, runny nose
- Asthma attacks
- Memory and concentration problems
What To Do If There Is Mold In Your Apartment
Mold is an environmental problem in rental apartments across the nation. As a renter or a tenant, you have a right to have a mold problem remediated in a timely manner. Because exposure to spores can lead to chronic and severe health problems, living in a mold-infested apartment presents many problems, legal and otherwise.
Some things you can do to help prevent mold or mildew in your apartment include:
Clean any moisture or wet spots anywhere in your apartment as they occur. If water or moisture reoccurs, check for the source. You may have a plumbing or roof leak. Check the drip pan for water or leaks on the floor around your hot water heater or AC unit Keep the humidity level down with a dehumidifier. Make sure your clothes dryer vents properly to the outside of your building. Make sure your bathroom has proper ventilation.
Problems that are related to the apartment building itself may require more extensive work and would be your landlords responsibility.
If mold is found in your apartment, you should first report the problem to your landlord. Keep careful documentation of all correspondence.
You may find a small amount of mold and decide to clean it up yourself. There are potentially serious risks in removing the mold yourself. For example, peeling back wallpaper or taking up tile can release mold spores into the air. Without following the proper safety guidelines, spores can spread throughout the apartment.
Read Also: Clean Mold Off Bathroom Ceiling
Where Does Mold Grow
Mold can grow on any surface that is kept wet or damp, such as a drywall, wood, tiles, or rugs.
In New York City, common sources of a mold problem are:
- leaky pipes or radiators
- broken or poorly sealed windows
- a damaged roof
- a damaged or deteriorated section of brickwork or the buildings facade
- water coming from a neighboring apartment
- air ducts
- poor ventilation, especially in a bathroom
- standing water
When mold develops on a consistently wet surface, it will grow into a musty, mildewy-smelling orange or black yuck that will likely be recognizable as mold. However, the mold may be coming from an area that is covered or hidden, such as a vent underneath a refrigerator, radiator, or sink or behind a wall that is tiled.
Tip #: Use Mold Inhibitors In Your Propertys Paint
Mold spores are always going to be present. In the presence of moisture, they can grow rather quickly. Mold inhibitors work by effectively preventing mold spores from attaching to painted surfaces and growing.
So, the next time you are sprucing up your apartment for the next tenants, consider adding inhibitors to the paint.
Don’t Miss: Best Way To Remove Mold From Bathroom Ceiling
Theres Mold In My Apartment: What Do I Do
Mold isnt just ugly to look atits dangerous to be around, especially for older adults, children, and people with certain health problems, like asthma. While there are some things you can do on your own, your landlord is legally required to fix the problem, whether youre in public or private housing. Use the steps below as a guide for getting your mold problem under control.
What Is My Landlords Responsibility To Eliminate Mold In My Apartment
Your landlord is responsible for properly cleaning up the mold and for repairing any conditions that are keeping the condition in your apartment wet.
The source of the water or moisture build-up should be stopped prior to cleanup If mold is cleaned but the water source isnt stopped, the mold will soon re-emerge. Even replacing a section of wall, ceiling, or floor will be inadequate, as the new piece will soon become wet.
Certain fixes may be expensive, such as replacing pipes between the walls or in adjacent apartments, fixing the roof, or repairing the outside walls of your building. Your landlord is responsible for making whatever repair is necessary to cure the problem, no matter what the repair costs. If your landlord resists, you may need to involve the courts.
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Mold On The Bathroom Ceiling
What Is Covered Peril Mold
If mold comes from a malfunctioning appliance, you are covered. While covered perils vary by insurance policy, common covered perils include sudden or accidental damage to a water heater or HVAC system, unexpected freezing of appliances due to weather, the weight of snow, ice or sleet, and explosions.
Consider The Source Of The Problem
First, consider whether whatever has caused the mold to grow is something you can manage yourself. If you find mold in your shower, for instance, the solution could be as simple as cleaning it up and then cleaning your shower more frequently. But if the mold growth is the result of a problem like water damage, you’ll need to get your property manager involved.
Don’t Miss: Getting Mildew Off Leather
Health Problems Associated With Black Mold
Mold, a microscopic fungus that grows in very damp settings, has been identified under Article 11, section 581 of the San Francisco Health Code as a “health nuisance.” Like all forms of mold, black mold has many health problems associated with it, including the following:
- Mental impairment
Can I Sue My Landlord For Black Mold Exposure In My Apartment
If you’re subjected to any type of mold exposure, you should be concerned. When toxic black mold is involved you should be even more alarmed, due to its reputation for causing illness. If you have mold in your apartment, you will want to know whether you can sue your landlord for any harm you’ve suffered.
Read Also: How To Clean Ceiling Mold Bathroom
We Will Litigate Your Black Mold Lawsuit
Yes, you can sue your landlord for mold issues. Whether youve just noticed mold, you or members of your family have developed symptoms of mold infection, or your household goods or personal property were damaged by mold, give us a call to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
We know how to win a mold case, and weve gotten our clients black mold lawsuit settlements and judgments. Our toxic mold lawyers will evaluate your case at no cost to you and help you file a lawsuit to recover monetary damages as well as make sure your rental property is a safe place to live for you and your family.
+++++ Disclaimer+++++ This blog is considered advertising and does not constitute any client-attorney privilege and does not offer any advice or opinion on any legal matter. This blog was drafted by Digital Mixology a digital marketing, Public Relations, advertising, and content marketing firm located in Philadelphia, PA.
Saffren & Weinberg
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.
You May Like: Bathroom Ceiling Mold
Do I Have A Responsibility As A Tenant To Keep My Home Free Of Mold
Simply put, yes. Tenants do have a responsibility to do what they can in order to keep the rental home free of mold. Additionally, tenants also have a responsibility to maintain clean and sanitary conditions in the house or apartment they are leasing. Examples of this may include:
- Not allowing sinks, toilets, bathtubs, and other water sources to to overflow
- Keeping windows closed during rainstorms or
- Utilizing exhaust fans in order to prevent mold from forming and growing in humid bathrooms.
It is important that tenants report maintenance issues to their landlord, as soon as the issues become apparent. It is especially important to immediately report if there has been a leak or flood in the rental property. Damp conditions could lead to mold growth which will need to remedied as soon as possible.
If it is found that the tenant simply ignored the issue, or caused the leak/flood and didnt want their landlord to know, then the tenant may be found responsible for the damage.
What If You Have Become Very Sick From Mold Exposure
Living in a home or apartment that is infested with mold can sometimes cause people to get sick, especially those with allergies or weakened immune systems.
We strongly advise anyone living in a residential building with mold that they believe to be making him or her sick, to immediately move out after giving the above-referenced notices. Many people feel better and breathe easier within days of leaving.
Talk With Us
Don’t Miss: Clean Mould From Ceiling
What Can I Do If My Landlord Does Not Remove The Mold In My Home
As previously discussed, landlords have a charge to maintain safe and habitable conditions for their tenants, and mold is considered to be a threat to those conditions. As mentioned above, if you report mold issues to your landlord, and they do not make efforts to remediate the mold, you may have the right to:
- Withhold paying rent until the mold has been properly repaired remediated by your landlord
- Vacate the premises
- Charge the landlord for potential cost to live in a motel or hotel room, or another unit, until you may safely return to your own home
- Apply one months worth of rent towards hiring a mold remediator in order to fix the mold and damp conditions that caused the mold growth
- Report the mold to the appropriate health code officials or
- File a civil lawsuit against your landlord, for damages.
It is important to mitigate the damage caused by the mold. For example, if you discover the mold is caused by a leak, then do your best to stop the leak and report it to your landlord. If you found out that the mold is making you sick, then remove yourself from the environment until the mold problem is cleared.
However, if you are unable to leave for a valid reason or if you cannot stop the leak on your own, then you will most likely not be held liable. The duty to mitigate is only as reasonably required, so the tenant would not be expected to do anything that another reasonable person would not do.
What Are Your Tenant Rights
Most cities and states do not actually have tenant laws that actually require landlords to inspect their rental units for this type of fungus. However, most tenant laws do require landlords to provide safe and sanitary places for tenants to live. With that, any type of fungal infestation may fall under those tenant laws, thus requiring landlords to address such problems in a prompt and professional manner.
If you did not cause the fungus to crop up and grow in the rental unit, you are not obligated to get rid of it. The landlord must either remediate the problem on his or her own or hire a remediation company to come in and clean it up for you.
Read Also: Can You Sue Your Landlord For Black Mold
Mold Disclosure Requirements In Florida
While lead paint disclosures are required from a landlord, there are no regulations or statutes that require a similar disclosure when it comes to mold contamination.
Please note that, as a landlord, you need to disclose any mold issues to prospective tenants if you decide to list the property for sale.
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.
Recommended article: How to identify black mold
Don’t Miss: Mold In Water Filter
How Long Does A Landlord Have To Fix A Mold Problem
After a tenant notifies their landlord that there is a mold problem, and that the condition is making the premises uninhabitable, the landlord must respond to the tenant and correct the problem within a reasonable time.
Under California Code, a reasonable time is deemed to be within 30 days from the day that they received notification from the tenant. If the landlord does not respond, then a tenant may take action against the landlord.
What Options Do Tenants Have If Their Landlord Wont Remove Or Repair The Mold
Showing actual damages is another problem facing tenants experiencing a mold issue . If a landlord is guilty of violating the Florida Statutes and is found to be in material noncompliance with the statute or the lease , the tenants remedy many times is to simply terminate the lease and vacate. Practically speaking though, this is not possible for many tenants as many have no place else to go.
A second alternative is demanding of the landlord to repair the mold or bring the unit into compliance with the lease and/or the building and health codes. In such an instance the tenant may be able to withhold rent. A tenant should be aware that such instances of withholding rent are almost always met with an eviction lawsuit filed by the landlord. The tenant would then have to defend the lawsuit, using the landlords violation of Florida Statute 83.51 as a defense. A tenant may or may not have to deposit rent into the court registry during the pendency of an eviction lawsuit. A tenant may also sue the landlord should any personal effects be damaged, and possibly recover the expense of moving if the tenant so chooses. The legal value of personal property however is usually not great and many times not worth the expense and effort of a lawsuit. None of these options may be particularly attractive to a tenant. However, if your situation is not manageable, please read on:
Find and Read Your Lease Agreement
Recommended Reading: Black Mold Bathroom Ceiling