Tip #: Fix All Leaks As Soon As Possible
Without prompt water damage restoration, mold growth starts in as fast as 48 hours. Here are some things you can do to prevent a mold problem:
- Deal with any mold growth as soon as you find it to prevent further growth and possible health complications.
- During routine inspections, check for any leaks or water damage beneath cabinets and around all water fixtures.
- Encourage your tenant to place a maintenance request immediately when they spot a mold problem.
- Always conduct a move-in inspection before the tenant moves in.
As a landlord in Florida, its your responsibility to ensure your tenants live in habitable living conditions. Among other things, that means ensuring your property adheres to Floridas landlord-tenant laws regarding mold.
Here’s what Beth Johnson, a satisfied Markham customer, had to say about working with us:
I could not be more pleased with the promptness and professionalism of Markham Services. It is not an easy time when you have issues in your home particularly when they could be making you sick. They put my mind at ease as I knew that I was being given accurate information by people that knew what they were talking about! Thank you Liz and Marvin!
Mold issues can progress very quickly and are a hazard to your health. Don’t wait to schedule your appointment.
Removing Mold In Apartment: Is It Tenant Or Landlord Responsibility
Mold in apartments and other rentals can be very dangerous. If you are a tenant who suspects the presence of mold, its important to take the necessary steps as soon as possible. But who is responsible for removing mold in rental houses? Heres what you need to know.
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.
Recommended Reading: How To Stop Mold From Growing On Wood
How Much Time Does A Landlord Have To Remove Mold From My Apartment Or House
It depends on how you send notice to the landlord to repair or remedy the problem, and on the circumstances of the condition and its repair.
The landlord has a reasonable amount of time to remove the mold after receiving the tenants notice if:
- The tenant sent the notice by certified mail, return receipt, or other method with tracking or
- The tenant sent a second written notice after waiting a reasonable amount of time after sending a first written notice.
Tip: If you send your first notice by certified mail, return receipt, or other method with tracking, you are not required to send a second notice to your landlord.
Note: You should try getting the problem fixed as quickly as possible by talking with or calling the landlord. However, to protect your rights to repair under Texas law, it is very important that you give the landlord , preferably by certified mail, return receipt, or other method with tracking.
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.
Read Also: Killing Mold In Basement
Why Does Mold Appear
As in any usual household, mold can appear in rental properties for several reasons. Here are the most common:Excessive humidity occurs when there is excess moisture in the air compared with how much moisture can be absorbed by objects or materials in a room. High moisture levels often come about when plumbing leaks go undiscovered for an extended period since leaking faucets or a broken pipe release water into the surrounding environment.Poor ventilation – Ventilation with outdoor air exchange can significantly decrease indoor concentrations of mold spores. It is important to have fresh and clean air with adequate circulation capacity in each room of your home.Relative humidity levels that remain at or above 50% for extended periods will also contribute to increased levels of moisture in the indoor environment, which may lead to an increased presence of mold spores and other biological contaminants such as bacteria and viruses.Excessive debris/clutter – This includes things like dirt, dust, food scraps, etc., if they are not regularly cleaned up from areas susceptible to their accumulation, such as the basement. Clutter also includes excessive indoor plants.Poor housekeeping can allow excess amounts of dust to accumulate over time, attracting other biological contaminants to grow, including bacteria and mold spores.
What Legal Obligation Do Landlords Have To Maintain Their Premises
Florida statute 83.51 outlines what landlords are required to do to maintain a multi-family apartment building.
In sum, 83.51 states that a landlord must ensure the property is in good repair and in compliance with all applicable building, housing, and health codes. If there are no applicable codes, landlords are required to, at a minimum, maintain the roofs, windows , doors, floors, steps, porches, exterior walls, foundations, and all other structural components in good repair and capable of resisting normal forces and loads. Landlords must also make sure all plumbing is in reasonable working condition.
Unless otherwise agreed to in your lease, your landlord must also provide for the extermination of rats, mice, roaches, ants, termites, and bedbugs locks and keys clean and safe common areas garbage removal functioning heat and hot water, and smoke detectors.
Read Also: Getting Mold Off Leather
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.
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.
You May Like: Best Way To Get Mold Off Bathroom Ceiling
Does A Landlord Have To Remove Mold From A Rental Property In Texas
The law says that landlords in Texas have a duty to remove conditions that materially affect the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant if all of the following are true:
- The condition was not caused by the tenant , the tenants family, or the tenant’s guests and
- The landlord has proper written notice of the condition and
- The tenant is not delinquent in rent at the time of giving the landlord notice to repair or remedy.
Read the law here: Tex. Prop. Code § 92.056.
Addressing Moisture And Mould In Your Home
Health Canada considers indoor mould growth to be a significant health hazard. The word mould is a common term referring to fungi that can grow on building materials in homes or other buildings. Damp conditions and mould growth in homes increases the risk of respiratory allergy symptoms and exacerbate asthma in mold-sensitive individuals. It is important to know how to identify, address and prevent moisture and mould in your home.
People living in homes with mould and damp conditions are more likely to have:
- eye, nose and throat irritation
- coughing and phlegm build-up
- wheezing and shortness of breath
- worsening of asthma symptoms
The level of concern depends on the extent of mould, how long it has been present and the sensitivity and overall health of the residents. Some people are more susceptible than others. For example, infants, children, the elderly and those with health problems such as breathing difficulties are more at risk from mould and dampness.
Any respiratory health concerns should be discussed with a physician if you suspect that these could be caused by poor indoor air quality. Your physician is best suited to determine if your symptoms may be related to environmental factors or some other underlying cause.
Health Canada recommends controlling dampness indoors and cleaning up any mould regardless of the type of mould presentFootnote 1.
Also Check: Ceiling Mold In Bathroom
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.
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.
Also Check: Mold Off Bathroom Ceiling
Responsibility Of The Landlord According To The Law
When youfind mold in your apartment, you will obviously expect the landlord to pay forits removal. However, due to the expenses involved, some landlords are lessthan willing to handle the costs.
Lawsregarding landlord liability when it comes to mold vary from state to state andregion to region, so you will want to consult an attorney in your area if youwant to know the specifics that apply in your location.
With only afew exceptions, the responsibilities of a landlord regarding mold are notclearly spelled in building regulations, codes, ordinances, or statutes.However, landlords can be held responsible for issues related to mold even whenthere are no specific laws on the matter.
There are nofederal laws that set permissible amounts of mold or tolerance standards formold in apartment buildings, and only a few states and cities have taken thenecessary steps to establish the tolerance standards for mold and regulationsfor mold present in indoor air.
Even if yourcity or state does not have laws regarding mold, your landlord is required toprovide safe and livable housing. Some of the general regulations in moststates regarding a landlords responsibility regarding mold include:
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.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Mold Out Of A Blanket
What If Your Landlord Refuses To Take Action About The Mold
Ideally, if your landlord understands their legal obligations and has a desire to preserve their property value, they should be eager to handle it. But what if they refuse?
Unfortunately, some property managers may decide to hold the tenant responsible, while others may simply not wish to spend the money remove the mold.
Fortunately, there are several avenues to take should your landlord refuse to deal with the mold issue.
Most municipalities have departments you can contact for assistance. Your local public health department can log the case and put pressure on your landlord to deal with the problem. As well, the municipal property standards office is responsible for enforcing all by-laws pertaining to rental units, and they can arrange an inspection of the premises and, potentially, force the landlord to take action.
If all else fails, you may need to take legal action against your landlord. In Ontario, the Landlord Tenant Board of Ontario is responsible for conducting hearings and issuing rulings for or against landlords and tenants when there is a dispute.
If youre successful, the tribunal can issue a judgment ordering your landlord to fix the mold problem within a certain timeframe.
You can also speak to your insurance company if you have renters insurance. If you own a condo, consult with your condo board. But regardless if you do pursue these avenues, make sure you get proper legal advice so that you can protect your rights.
What Do I Do If I Suspect Mold In My Apartment
If a tenant suspects that there is mold in the apartment, it is his/her responsibility to inform the landlord as soon as possible. In turn, it is the landlords responsibility to ensure that the mold issue is addressed properly and within a reasonable time frame. In cases of black mold in a rental house, landlords must act with urgency due to the potential health risks.
Don’t Miss: Clean Mold Bathroom Ceiling
Can Mold Spread From One Apartment To Another
Unlike houses, apartments are not usually self-contained living environments. Apartments exist as interconnected units with common ventilation and plumbing systems.
As a result, if one apartment has a mold and mildew problem, it can easily spread to other apartments through the air in HVAC systems.
This means that even if you remove mold from your apartment, it could still come back if other apartments in the building remain contaminated. In addition, its very difficult to find the source of the contamination especially if you dont have the help of a professional mold inspector.
Did you know?
Only 8% of living rooms we have tested didnt have presence of mold?! Find out more exciting mold stats and facts inside our mold statistics page.
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.
Read Also: Clean Mould From Ceiling