Monday, January 23, 2023

What To Do When You Find Mold In Your Apartment

What Are The Three Causes Of Moldand What Can You Do About It

How to search for hidden mold in your home

Moisture encourages mold growthso places like bathrooms and basements are top spots for mold growth, as are areas around heating and cooling appliances and vent ducts.According to Gross, the following three scenarios are the most common ways mold takes hold in NYC apartments, both new and old.

Many types of mold present a serious health hazard. And getting rid of mold is expensive. Very often, your landlord, co-op or condo building should bear the cost. To get them to act responsibly, you may need to take legal steps, says New York City real estate lawyer Steven Wagner. An attorney who knows what they are doing can find the leverage points of your situation. Sometimes, all it takes is a letter from your lawyer. To schedule a free 15 minute telephone consultation with Steven Wagner, or call 646-780-7272.

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.

How Do I Check For Mold In My Apartment

There are several ways to do a quick check, both physically of the apartment, and of your own body, to see if you potentially have a mold problem.

The first and most common sign is if there is a smell. Like a strong, musty smell as if your apartment smells more like a swimming pool that has just been drained than a clean place to live. Smell is going to be a primary way to determine if you have mold in your apartment or not. In fact, many of the professional restoration services will trust their nose first and foremost when they walk into a new job simply because they have been around the mold so much, they know what it smells like straight away.

The next thing to look for is any discoloration on your walls or floor. You are looking for spots that either look like they currently have mold, which would show as black or brown or green spots, or it may just look like a bad water stain on the floor or wall. This is going to be the telltale sign that there had been significant water present in the past and mold could be hiding behind wherever you see the discoloration.

If there is mold behind the wall or ceiling and all they do is patch the hole, that mold is going to stay present in your apartment, continue to grow, and spread the spores airborne to other parts of your unit. Basically, just patching the weak or discolored spot isnt going to take care of the problem, you need to have them treat your apartment for mold.

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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
  • Memory and concentration problems

Consult Your Lease Agreement

3 Steps To Take if You Find Mold in Your Apartment Building

The first step you should take if you discover mold in your apartment is to consult your lease agreement. Your lease agreement should have a clause that addresses mold and other environmental hazards.

For example, your lease may require you to notify the property manager of any health or safety issues within a specific time period. Or it may outline precisely what responsibilities the landlord has for mold remediation.

Yet, even if your lease does not explicitly address mold, you may still have options. For instance, most states have a legal doctrine called the Implied Warranty of Habitability. This warranty states that landlords must maintain their rentals in a livable condition. Therefore, your landlord may belegally obligated to resolve the issue.

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Wet Window Panes Can Be Dangerous Because Of Mold

The problem with condensation on the window is possible mold growth.

Mold prefers humid and warm air.

Mold is often only recognized when it has already spread behind wallpaper or furniture.

The consequences can be devastating.

Asthma, coughing and general breathing difficulties can be the result, especially if you stay in a room infested with mold for a long time.

But what can be done against condensation on windows?

First, consumers should wipe away the water that has formed on the window with a cloth.

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:

Also Check: How Does Mold Cause Allergies

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:

Black Mold Is A Health Hazard

Understanding Houston renters’ rights when mold grows in their apartments

Technically known as Stachybotrys chartarum, black mold poses a serious threat to human health by causing respiratory problems, mental impairment, skin inflammation, and internal organ damage.

Black mold thrives in moist, dark places that have poor air circulation like between walls or beneath floorboards. That means it can go unnoticed until its too late.

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What Should You Do If You Have Mold In Your Apartment

Mold in your apartment can be a scary problem. Not only is it hard to completely remove, but it is also a health hazard. When you find it and try to remove it, it may persist. It can even spread. The more it spreads, the bigger the health risk. And while mold in your apartment may seem like a small nuisance, it can become a bigger problem without you realizing it.

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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Renting And Found Mold In Your Residence

Heres What You Can Do:

If you have found mold and believe it is causing health issues for those living in the house, condo or apartment youre renting and inhabiting, there are steps that can be taken to protect yourself and your loved ones.

1. Look at your lease

You can examine your lease to determine what it specifies about maintenance and notify the landlord or management immediately, in writing, about your concerns. If the mold is due to faulty construction, or due to negligence on behalf of the landlord, you will need to seek a remedy from the landlord.

2. Know the law

While Georgia doesnt have a specific law that addresses a landlords duties or liability specific to mold, landlords are bound by a statutory duty to maintain and repair the premises as well as the implied warranty of habitability, meaning that they must provide tenants with a habitable residence.

3. Talk to your landlord

The ideal situation is one in which landlord and tenant communicate and resolve the issue. If you find that is not the case, you need to seek legal representation. In Georgia, there is no governmental agency that has the power to intervene in a dispute between a landlord and tenant.

What to do if your landlord doesnt handle it

Contact an attorney today

Miranda Hanley

What Do I Do If I Suspect Mold In My Apartment

SERVPRO of Marble Falls, Lampasas &  Brownwood Mold Remediation News And ...

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.

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Is Black Mold Growing Due To Your Negligence

Keep in mind that you cannot blame the landlord for your mold problem if its growing because of something youve done or neglected to do. If the apartment isnt properly ventilated to help eliminate humidity. If you dont perform proper cleaning then you may have trouble filing a lawsuit against the landlord.

This is because tenants have certain obligations when they rent an apartment, and not doing your part doesnt make the landlord responsible. To avoid such situations, make sure you do what you can to limit mold growth by ensuring air can easily move through and that the apartment stays clean and free of standing water.

Things That Can Be Mistaken For Mold

Moss, algae, and lichen can grow on the siding, roof, or patio of your home and can often be mistaken for mold. They tend to grow in naturally humid climates. You might see moss growing on apartments in Seattle, WA, but it would be pretty unusual to see it on apartments in Phoenix, AZ.

These plants tend to be harmless, but they can be signs of a moisture problem that can lead to indoor mold or damage the home. They can also mean other, larger issues with the home.

Dark stains, pollen, and even dust buildup can also be mistaken for mold damage.

When in doubt, document the problem and tell your property manager or landlord, just in case.

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What To Do If You Suspect The Presence Of Mold In Your Apartment

Your liabilities and responsibilities will differ depending on whether you rent or own your unit. If you are a condo owner, you will generally be responsible for handling it yourself, although there could be shared liability if the mold issue affects common areas.

Dont Let Money Delay You From Removing Mold

We Offer Financing

Notify Your Landlord

If you are a renter, notifying the landlord should be your first step. Doing so promptly allows your landlord to investigate and fix the problem quickly. It also helps to reduce any potential liability on your end if its determined that your actions or inactions led to the molds appearance.

Disrupt Mold Growth

If its within your control, try to remove the mold growth factors. Removing and preventing excessive water or moisture from accumulating, or using a dehumidifier to bring down the humidity levels will help disrupt the growth by starving it of what it needs to survive.

What’s The Difference Between Mold And Mildew

What to do if you find mold growing in your home

According to the EPA, mildew refers to certain types of mold or fungus, but it’s often used as a catch-all term. The science gets a bit technical, but here’s a simple way to think of it:

  • Mold: Mold thrives on organic materials such as cardboard, wood, drywall, upholstery and fabrics.
  • Mildew: Mildew is found on hard surfaces such as shower walls or vinyl window frames.

Both mold and mildew grow wherever moisture is present and both can create the same health risks.

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Is It The Landlords Responsibility To Check For Mold

Do you have reason to think that your apartment has mold in it? If so, the first thing you want to do is tell your landlord. You want to do this so that the mold doesnt spread throughout the building any more than it already has. From there you can figure out a solution.

Many people are going to be wondering if the landlord is responsible for the testing and removal of the mold. Your landlord is first and foremost responsible to the tenant to providing them with a habitable rental property. This doesnt mean they are responsible for cleaning up the water damage that you caused while you were living there, but it does mean that they are responsible for making sure your apartment unit was good to go from the beginning of your stay. If it wasnt, they would be on the hook for testing and cleanup.

Lets look at a couple of different scenarios.

Say your landlord rented you your apartment and didnt realize there was mold growing in it. Either behind the walls or in the ceiling due to a leak in the apartment above the year before. In this case, the landlord would be responsible for taking care of the testing and removal of the mold.

More than likely, they would call in a professional restoration company that is experienced in mold and have them do some testing, then fumigation, then treatment of any and all areas that need it.

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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 or deteriorated section of brickwork or the buildings facade
  • water coming from a neighboring apartment
  • poor ventilation, especially in a bathroom

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.

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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.

Cause #: Clogged Ptac Units

$1,000,000 Awarded In Toxic Mold Settlement â ExpertsPost

All-in-one heating-and-cooling units, lodged radiator-style against the wall, are a huge blind spot for NYC apartment owners in newer buildings who tend not to realize that PTAC units require twice-yearly maintenance, and that falls under the apartment owners responsibility, Gross says. If you rent, its your landlords responsibility.

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