Are Landlords Responsible For Mold Caused By Tenants
Mold growth can also be caused by a tenants own behavior. For example, excess moisture can build up if the tenant does not ventilate the apartment regularly or fail to maintain a level of cleanliness throughout the apartment. Regardless of the cause of mold, the landlord is still responsible for addressing the issue and ensuring that the rental property is habitable. However, in this case, the landlord might charge you for expenses incurred or deduct from your security deposit.
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.
What Is The Landlord Responsibility For Mold In A Rental Property
Under Federal Law
As of 2013, there are no federal laws regarding what amounts of mold are considered safe. Landlord/tenant law is not typically covered by federal law, either, but by state laws, which vary from state to state.
Under State Laws
As of 2013, only a few states have laws regarding what amounts of mold are considered safe. In most states, thats not dictated by law.
State laws do outline the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants in all 50 states. While the laws vary slightly from state to state, in most states the following things are part of state law:
- Landlords must notify tenants about the presence of mold in a rental property before the lease is signed. Not knowing about the mold is not an excuse if a reasonable person would have known.
- Landlords must remove mold from a rental property and are responsible for the cost of mold removal if the mold occurs as a result of something the landlord is responsible for .
- Landlords must remove mold from a rental property if it presents a health hazardous or makes the home unlivable, even if the mold occurred as a result of something the tenant did however, the landlord can charge the tenant for the cost of mold removal if the mold problem was the tenants fault.
Under Local Laws
A few cities also have laws regarding how much mold is considered safe and landlord responsibility for mold.
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Preventing Mold In Rental Houses & Apartments In Maryland
The American Apartment Owners Association offers best practices for cleaning up mold in a rental unit at
Preventing Mold From Infesting Your Rental Property
What kind of mold remediation company would we be if we didnt show you how to check for mold in your rental property in Maryland?
We know mold is everywhere in the environment. It becomes a problem for homes when it finds a moisture source, whether from a wet carpet pad that never dried completely or a roof leak.
Mold control for landlords: Prepping the tenant and making sure he or she knows the signs of mold growth is paramount so that mold can be reported to the landlord as soon as possible.
Mold control for landlords and tenants: Mold can appear as quickly as 48 hours after water damage happens, and its even more of a risk if its in an area where youre not seeing the damage as it happens . Know when you should test for mold in the air.
Getting insurance to pay for mold remediation isnt always as straightforward as one may think. Read up on the circumstances regarding homeowners insurance and mold claims.
How To Prevent Mold From Coming Back
Whether you own your apartment or rent one, there are a few steps you can take to prevent mold problems in your unit. First, make a point of repairing leaky fixtures, including pipes that run underneath sinks. If you’re a renter, that’s a job your landlord is responsible for.
Also, be careful about letting excess moisture build up in your living space. Invest in a dehumidifier for your bathroom if it doesn’t tend to have great ventilation, or be sure to crack a window when you’re showering. Be careful in your kitchen, too — that’s another area that could experience high humidity when you cook, so if your apartmentâs ventilation isn’t great, open a window when you’re using your oven or stove.
Mold is a problem you really don’t want to ignore. If you think you have mold in your apartment, act quickly — before your health takes a dangerous turn for the worse.
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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.
How To Break A Lease Due To Mold
This article was co-authored by Clinton M. Sandvick, JD, PhD. Clinton M. Sandvick worked as a civil litigator in California for over 7 years. He received his JD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998 and his PhD in American History from the University of Oregon in 2013.There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 53,229 times.
Under certain circumstances, laws may permit residential tenants to break a lease and move out of a rental property. One such circumstance is when your property is is not fit for human occupation . Severe mold infestations may fall under one or more of these habitability standards, and, if severe enough, might allow you to break your lease. To analyze the problem and determine if you can validly break your lease, you should gather evidence on the living conditions, talk to a lawyer, read your lease, understand the law, and notify your landlord. If the problem is serious and it persists, you may be able to move out.
Read Also: What Will Kill Mold Spores
Why Is There So Much Mould In My Rented House
Condensation is the most common form of damp in rented properties. It appears when excess moisture in the air comes into contact with a cold surface, such as a window or a cold wall. It can lead to mould growth and tends to be worse in winter. It can be caused by a tenant not ventilating or heating their home properly.
What Your Landlord Needs To Do
Your landlord may choose to hire a handyman or might clean it up on their own. Oftentimes, preventing further water from leaking or spilling, properly sealing barriers, and either removing, replacing, or bleaching the affected area will take care of the problem.
If there is mold growing on your personal property, you will have to talk to your landlord about that damage. Be prepared, though, that you may be responsible for replacing any personal items per your apartment rental agreement. If the item is expensive, you may send it a claim to your renters insurance company.
If there is black mold, your landlord will need to hire a professional mold removal service as it is extremely dangerous and must be handled in a specific way to prevent it from spreading.
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Mold In A Rental Landlord Wont Fix The Mold Problem A Guide To Mold And Tenants Rights
Having a mold problem in your home can be so frustrating. But having mold in a rental can be an absolute nightmare.
If those are both bad, try having mold in a rental when a landlord wont fix the mold problem.
If you are dealing with mold in a rental, then this article is for you. While tenant rights laws and mold laws vary from state to state, the bulk of the information in this article applies to anyone in any state.
This article isnt just for tenants! If you are a landlord, there is information that you simply must know not only to protect your investment but the health of other people living in your home.
The information that is about to be laid out for you is by no means considered legal advice. A lawyer should be consulted if you plan on pursuing any legal action.
Can I Sue My Landlord For Black Mold
Created by FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors
If you have reason to believe your rental is contaminated with toxic black mold, and it has caused health problems, suing your landlord for black mold is one way to get compensated.
The following information will help you understand your rights and legal options when you have been injured by black mold in an apartment or other rental unit.
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Condensation On Windows Window Frames And Sills
- Promptly repair any leaks.
- Lower the indoor moisture levels.
- Use exhaust bathroom fans and a kitchen range hood.
- Keep window coverings open to move the warm air over the windows .
- Keep baseboards or heating vents clear of furniture to make sure the heat flows.
- Dry your window frames and sills daily to keep water from dripping and causing mould to grow.
- Leave interior doors open for good air and heat flow.
- Unplug and remove humidifiers.
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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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 monthâs 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.
How Do You Get Rid Of It
Prevention is the best solution, but if you do find mold growing on your property and it appears to be a small-scale problem, try cleaning it with unscented detergent and water. Wear rubber cleaning gloves, protective goggles and a dust mask to protect yourself from spores, and stop if you develop nausea or headaches. Make sure the area is well ventilated post-cleanup, or the mold will return. Dealing with a larger mold problem, recurring mold, or a very damp apartment is best handled by a professional.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Rid Of Mold In Hvac
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:
If The Contaminated Surface Is Small To Moderate:
- Wear safety glasses or goggles, a disposable N95 mask, and household disposable gloves.
- You may want to isolate the area by taping plastic sheeting to the walls and ceiling to prevent the spread of dust and mould particles.
- Vacuum the area with a HEPA vacuum cleaner before and after cleaning.
- Clean the mould by using water and dish detergent. There’s no need to use bleach. When cleaning drywall, use a damp cloth so you don’t make the drywall wet.
- Sensitive people should not be in the same room during the work and may want to leave the house until the mould is removed.
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Liability For Toxic Mold In Texas
If you have health problems caused by mold on a Texas property you are leasing, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the landlord or property manager.
It is their responsibility to keep the property in habitable shape and to protect the tenants physical health and safety, as noted before, in Texas. As such, any problems associated with the building would be their problem to handle.
Also, if you just purchased a new home in Texas and toxic mold becomes obvious, the previous owner could be held liable for losses. If the previous owners knew about the mold problem, they were legally obligated to disclose this information to potential buyers.
Just like they were obligated to tell you about a leaky roof, they had to tell you about the black mold if they knew about it.
What You Need To Know About Mold In A Rental As A Tenant
All tenants should educate themselves about the basics of mold. You can check out my Mold Facts page to learn more but lets cover a couple of basics here.
A mold problem generally occurs because of one of two reasons :
- A leak or other water intrusion
- High indoor humidity
Without either of these your chances of having a mold in a rental are reduced.
Black Toxic Mold
It seems like mold in rental homes and apartments is always referred to as black toxic mold. The thing is, this isnt the only mold out there. While you dont want any type of mold present in large amounts, you dont want any toxic mold present in your home at all.
The black toxic mold you hear about is most often Stachybotrys which is one of the few types of mold that produce mycotoxins which can really cause negative health effects. This is why it is very important not to move into a moldy rental to begin it.
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Landlord Responsibility For Mold
We frequently receive emails from tenants asking about the landlord responsibility for mold in an apartment or rental house. When tenants find mold in an apartment or rental house, they usually want the landlord to pay for mold removal. Sometimes disputes occur when landlords dont want to pay.
We can tell you a bit about landlord liability for mold in rental housing, but its important to understand that the laws vary from place to place and laws also change over time. Consult an attorney in your state if you need to know the specific laws that apply in your area. We definitely recommend consulting an attorney before you decide to stop paying your rent or to violate your lease in some way.