How Can I Prevent My Landlord From Blaming Me For The Mold Problem
Legally, youre not allowed to repair and deduct, withhold rent, or break your lease if you caused the mold problem. Make sure to promptly report spills and leaks to your landlord, and, if you do notice mold anywhere in your apartment, let your landlord know in writing before it becomes a more serious issue.
Keep records of any conversations you have with your landlord about a mold problem. Write down the date of all phone conversations and what was discussed, including any promises the landlord makes. Its even better if you communicate in writingmake sure to save all emails, texts, or letters. Also, keep a written record of any doctor appointments and medical bills relating to possible symptoms from the mold. Finally, be sure to take photos of mold infestation with time-date stamps.
Why? Theyll be important if you ever end up in court. A tenant in North Carolina broke her lease because of a severe mold problem, and her landlord sued. At the trial, she presented convincing evidence in the form of pictures, documents, and testimony to show that her apartment was not only damaged but uninhabitable. As a result, the court determined she was justified in withholding rentand, whats more, was entitled to $4,015 in damages.2
How Do I Detect Black Mold Inside My Walls In The First Place
Peeling wallpaper can also be a symptom of mold. While some scruffiness and discoloration tend to eventually strike your wallpaper, unusual surface or peeling abnormalities such as crackling or bubbling can be a sign of wall moisture. And remember, a reliable precursor to mold is always going to be moisture. Make sure to pay attention to any warped areas that feel damp.
To keep mold from growing in your cooling or heating systems, you can have a specialist check them regularly. Another indication of mold in the house is dark grout between bathroom tiles. Even if this type is most likely the harmless type, there could be flooding in the adjacent room or a leak in bathroom plumbing that could produce a more toxic fungus type that only professionals can remove. A sample sent for testing will let you know whether or not your shower is harmless.
Mold could also be the culprit when you have pre-existent problems with breathing that after long periods at home seem to flare up. Many household species of mold wont affect persons that do not have issues with breathing. However, in individuals suffering from asthma, it could aggravate it. Consider a mold inspection and a doctors appointment if the problems with your breathing seem to get worse with no clear cause.
Is Mold The Landlords Responsibility
There aren’t many laws that specifically govern a landlord’s responsibility when it comes to mold in rentals.
Some property managers require renters to sign a separate waiver or document related to mold on the premises when they move in. Make sure you review it along with your lease agreement to get a better understanding of your rights and responsibilities.
Even though there aren’t many mold-specific laws in the books, in most states your property manager is legally required to provide a habitable premises. Here are a few questions to ask yourself that will help you determine who’s responsible.
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Black Mold And Warranty Of Habitability
Fundamental tenants rights are included in the warranty of habitability, which says, in part, that tenants have the right to rent a property that meets basic living and safety standards.
That means the landlord is responsible for ensuring the units they oversee provide such an environment. This guarantee, or warranty, is extended to tenants not only at the time they sign the lease but remains in effect through the duration of the tenants occupancy.
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.
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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.
Who Is Responsible For Mold In A Rental Apartment
When it comes to mold, there are no well-defined boundaries for individual mold tolerance. Very few states have regulations in place that define what level of mold, if any, is acceptable in homes. Visit the health departments website for your state to learn more.
Not having regulations doesnt mean you no longer have the right to live in a mold-free environment. Just by the nature of the tenant-landlord relationship, its the landlords responsibility to address and fix plumbing issues if doing so is outlined in the lease.
If you feel mold is growing because of a water leak due to a pipe that was your landlords responsibility to fix. Your landlord can be held accountable for addressing and correcting the mold problem.
You might be entitled to withhold future rent payments until the landlord fixes the issue. You might even have a legitimate legal claim against your landlord if their negligence led to the presence of the mold in the first place. Dont withhold rent, however, until after youve sought consultation from an attorney.
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Mold Clause In The Rental Agreement / Lease
You can save any future landlord-tenant mold drama by putting EVERYTHING into writing in the lease.
Here is an example of how you can do that:
Having that in the lease will cover just about all scenarios in writing. That way there is no disputing what the tenants responsibilities are.
If you are a tenant, if you treat the home as if it was your own, and if you are a landlord that treats the home as if your own family lived there, a dispute should never arise!
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
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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.
Responsibilities Of A Landlord If There Is Mold In A Rental They Own
The landlord has one overall responsibility that generalizes all their responsibilities in one:
Provide a habitable environment for the tenant.
Mold prevention will always be the biggest proponent of ensuring a mold problem doesnt occur in a rental home you own. So as a landlord, be sure you practice good home maintenance and educate your tenants on the 27 things they can do to prevent mold.
Have The Property Inspected For Any Leaks/HVAC Issues
Before the tenant occupies the property, a landlord should come up with some kind of schedule to have the home inspected to prevent mold. Once a quarter should probably be sufficient but that will be up to both the tenant and landlord to decide.
A landlord should look for any visible stains or signs of a leak. Is paint bubbling at all? Are any drywall nails popping out of the wall? These are tell-tale signs that there may be moisture intrusion into the home.
An HVAC company should be hired to perform maintenance on the unit once every 6 months or so.
If any parts of the HVAC unit, the unit itself, or any plumbing fixtures are not properly functioning, the landlord must repair or replace.
Have Leaks Corrected Right Away
The sooner water intrusion is corrected and dried out the more of a chance mold can be nipped at the butt!
If a landlord takes their good old time to dry up a water damaged area, well, you can expect a mold problem if the conditions are right.
How Long Does A Landlord Have To Fix A Mold Problem?
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What Damage Does It Cause
If mold grows undetected, it can cause stains and discoloration on the carpet, walls, fabric or any other surface its growing on. If you ignore it, it could ruin these materials as well as cause wood rot and disintegration. The major concern about toxic mold, though, is that it can cause health problems. Mold releases spores and chemicals that can trigger allergic reaction or illness in occupants. While the severity of the reaction depends on the type of mold and degree of exposure, those with weak immune systems, such as the elderly and young children, are usually the most at-risk.
What Should I Do About Mold In My Apartment
If you notice mold growing that you believe your landlord is responsible for removing, you should notify your landlord or property manager. Provide notification in writing so that you have a record of your complaint. If your landlord disagrees that your apartment is contaminated with potentially toxic mold, you may need to pay for testing and an inspection yourself.
If your landlord does not respond to your concerns, your recourse may depend on whether you live. For example, in California rental situations, renters can pursue self-help strategies on rent withholding or repair and deduct. In other words, renters conduct a cleanup on their own and subtract the cost from their rent payments.
If you notice mold in your apartment, dont panic. Some molds can cause health hazards, but everyday molds, such as the type of mold that can grow inside your bathroom shower, are not hazardous. You can easily clean up these types of mold with everyday cleaning products. If you think the mold in your apartment could be toxic or a health and safety hazard, let your landlord know about it right away. Depending on the circumstances, your landlord could be responsible for mold cleanup.
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Is It Safe To Sleep In Room With Mold
Because of the risks that come with mold exposure, it can be unsafe to sleep in a house with mold, particularly in the affected areas because you put yourself at risk of mold allergies. This becomes especially concerning if you are sensitive to the mold. When mold grows indoors, it can often be found in the bathroom.
Did Your Behavior Cause The Mold
If something you did resulted in mold in your apartment, then it’s your responsibility. If you’ve created excess moisture, failed to clean up and dry a spill or your cleanliness routine needs an upgrade, it will be up to you to take care of the mold problem. You could be liable for damage if you don’t.
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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:
Can You Sue Your Landlord For Mold
Yes. However, a tenant will have to prove there is a mold problem. When it comes to mold in a rental the tenant typically needs to prove 4 things:
This is where a consultation with an attorney well versed in mold laws comes into play. You dont want to tackle a mold lawsuit on your own.
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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.
Clean Up Mold On Hard Surfaces
You can remove the mold in your apartment yourself if it’s:
- On a hard surface
- Not related to moisture problems that are outside your control
- Commercial cleaning products, soap and water or a mixture of no more than one cup of household bleach to one gallon of water are all effective ways to remove mold from hard surfaces. There are also some natural ways to get rid of mold.
Never mix bleach with other household cleaners or ammonia. Doing so can create poisonous fumes. Always wear gloves and keep your room well ventilated when you use cleaning products.
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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.