What Should I Do If My Health Has Been Harmed By Hazardous Mold
If you feel your health has been harmed due to hazardous mold exposure, talk with an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately. Owners of property could potentially be held responsible for health effects you are able to prove you suffered due to exposure to hazardous conditions on the property. A personal injury lawyer can help you determine if you have a toxic mold claim that is connected to your mold exposure.
Note: Since gathering of evidence and environmental testing is critical to a toxic mold claim, you should talk with a lawyer quickly so you may begin to prepare evidence for your potential claim.
For more information on mold and toxins, see the Center for Disease Controls site: .
Mold Caused By Tenant Behavior
The liability picture changes when mold grows as the result of your own behavior, such as keeping the apartment tightly shut, creating high humidity, or failing to maintain necessary cleanliness. Tenants have some duties to maintain their rental unit, so when a tenant’s own negligence is the sole cause of injury, the landlord is not liable. To avoid causing any mold problems, practice good housekeeping, such as ventilating your apartment.
Reasons To Report And Actions The Health Department Will Take
A landlord is responsible for keeping a rental property in habitable condition, that is, fit to be lived in. If there are health or safety issues at the property that are breaching the warranty of habitability, the tenant can contact a local agency regarding the problem. Learn how to report a landlord to the health department.
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Document The Problemand Keep Track Of Your Communication With Your Landlord About It
Take photos of the mold and any other sources of moisture. You should also save copies of any communication you have with your landlord about the issue, in addition to the Letter of Complaint. Save copies of any emails, and take screenshots of your call log and text messages. For phone calls, write down the date, time, and what was said. This documentation can help later if you have a problem getting repairs made, and need to go to housing court with proof of the requests youve already made.
Make sure you are also calling 311 to submit formal complaints to the city if you live in private housing, or call the NYCHA Customer Complaint Center if you live in public housing. NYCHA residents also have the option to to add more pressure to your request at 1-888-341-7152. Additionally, any tenant can call the NYC Department of Health at 311, or the DOHs Office of Environmental Investigations at 212-442-3372.
How Long Does It Take For Mold To Grow In A Rental House
Mold growth can occur as quickly as 48 hours. When mold contamination is evident inside your rental property, a professional mold remediation service is best suited to clean up the damage. Attempting a do-it-yourself cleanup only scatters the mold spores to other areas of the home, spreading the contamination.
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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
Taking Care Of Your Mold Problem
1. If you have been suffering anyillnesses that wouldnt go away like allergies, itchy eyes, sore throat,headaches, fatigue, etc., go see your doctor and explain to him that you havemold in your home. Knowledge about the mold will help him to correctly treatyou. Here is more on the symptoms of mold exposure.
2. Have your home tested by a trainedmold tester. Many people make the mistake of cleaning up the mold withouttesting. It is important to know the type of mold your dealing with, and howbad the problem is. Most mold testers are engineers so they can give your homea thorough inspection to find all the mold. If its a small problem they mayrecommend cleaning it yourself, and will give you advice on removing it. If itslarge job and a removal service needs to be hired, they will oversee the cleanup and supervise the removal process.When the cleanup is done, they will come back and test again to make sure theremoval was properly done. Make sure if you hire a removal company that youdont pay them until the final testing comes back showing the home is clean.For a list of licensed mold testers in your area, follow the link.
4. Contact your insurance company andfind out if mold removal is covered in your policy. In many cases it is,depending on the cause of the mold. This article on homeowners insurance andmold explains it well.
10. Be proactive in the future aboutmold prevention. Here is more information on preventing mold.
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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.
Landlord Liability & Responsibility
Before leasing out to the tenant, the landlord should have conducted appropriate inspections and cleaning of the property. If a tenant reports mold to a landlord, the landlord is obligated to eradicate the problem.
However, prevention is preferred to a costly mold clean-up. Maintenance and repair requests made by tenants should be promptly responded to. Such requests also include cleaning air conditioning and clothes dryer ducts.
If such requests are grossly delayed in resolving or are ignored altogether, liability for resulting mold growth falls on the landlord.
As a landlord, make sure you delineate in the lease agreement if it is your tenants responsibility for mold maintenance, before considering issuing an eviction notice to them for a moldy buildup on the property.
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What Should Be Done When Mold Is Found In My Apartment
Mold should be cleaned up, according to the NYC Department of Health, with a mild bleach and water solution by a person who is not allergic or sensitive to the mold. Young children, especially babies, older people, pregnant women and anyone with asthma or other allergic or lung condition should not be involved in or around the mold or the clean up. The cleaning cloths should be discarded, and any thing that had the mold growing on it, such as carpets, curtains, furniture, paper, wall paper, plaster or sheet rock should also be discarded. The citys health department has clear guidelines for cleaning up mold growths which should be followed. If your landlord is doing the cleanup, make sure the workers follow the guidelines. Obviously, very large growths should be handled by a trained contractor hired by the landlord.
Black Mold In A Rental Apartment
In fact, apartments are just like any other type of residence and can become infested with spores that easily take root, spread and thrive in the right conditions. Even more, your landlord may not even be aware of the problem until you bring it to his or her attention.
Regardless, you have rights as a tenant to expect this type of problem to be addressed right away. If you did not cause the problem to start in the first place, you may be entitled by law to have your landlord have the place tested and treated for it at his or her own expense.
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Difference Between Mold And Mildew
When it comes to testing for mold infestation, it is important that you know the difference between mold and mildew.
Both of them are an unpleasant sight in a building, but mold is likely to cause more damage than mildew.
Mildew is a fungus that is often grey and powdery in appearance. You can easily clean the fungus using a household cleaner or elbow grease.
Mold on the other hand has a fuzzy appearance and comes in different colors such as orange, green, black, brown, yellow, purple, pink, or white.
Unlike mildew, mold grows inside the material that is why getting rid of a mold infestation is difficult and costly.
It requires the removal of the infected portion of the floor or wall with a new one.
Dealing with mold infestation promptly will reduce the risk to the health, and also reduce the extent of damage to the property.
What To Do If There Is Mold In Your Rental
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: The mold growth is related to landlord negligence. This means showing documentation of your correspondence with the landlord about any leaks / water intrusions or visible mold growth.
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Can You Sue For Mold Exposure In Apartment
If you have mold-related losses , you may be able to sue your landlord in small claims court, if your claim is in the $3,000-$10,000 range, .
Is Mould a landlord’s responsibility?
Landlords are generally responsible for damp if its caused by leaky pipes, structural defects or a damp proof course going wrong. The tenant is responsible if its caused by condensation because of lack of ventilation, like not opening windows or inadequate heating.
How To Get Your Landlord To Repair The Mold In Your Home
Florida Statute 83.56 can pressure a landlord to make repairs when the landlord wont do so willingly.
Mold is an increasingly common issue in Florida because of the humid climate, aging buildings, and dated construction materials. Tenants often are told by their landlords that mold is a concern of the tenant when, in reality, it is the landlords responsibility to mitigate and repair this condition, which they often fail to do. For this reason, we have prepared this article as a practical guide for tenants facing this problem.
This article is written purely from the standpoint of Florida landlord-tenant law and not from a personal injury perspective. The reason is that it is very difficult under Florida law to pursue a personal injury case related to mold. In addition to the difficult legal standard, most personal injury claims resulting from mold are factually difficult to prove as well. Unless and until a tenant can prove that the mold was from the landlords action or inaction , and compile medical reports that not only diagnose a specific medical condition, and relate the cause of that condition to mold, the evidentiary burden is likely too great to pursue an injury claim in court.
But for those that are interested in demanding their landlord repair the mold condition and are willing to move out of the premises if the landlord fails to do so, read on:
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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.
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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:
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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.
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.
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How To Find Out If Your State Is Considering Mold Related Legislation
To see whether your state is considering mold-related legislation that might affect residential rentals, you can search the National Conference of State Legislatures Environmental Health State Bill Tracking Database. Check the Indoor Air QualityMold box in the Topics column, and check the box next to your state.
Landlord Legal Responsibilities For Tenant Exposure To Mold
With a few exceptions, landlord responsibilities regarding mold have not been clearly spelled out in building codes, ordinances, statutes, or regulations.
No federal law sets permissible exposure limits or building tolerance standards for mold in residential buildings, and only a few states , and a few cities , have taken steps toward establishing permissible mold standards or guidelines and regulations for mold in indoor air.
To see whether your state is considering mold-related legislation that might affect residential rentals, you can search the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Environmental Health State Bill Tracking Database. Check the “Indoor Air QualityMold” box in the “Topics” column, and check the box next to your state.
For local mold-related rules, contact your city manager, mayor’s office or other local government department.
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What To Do If You Have Mold In Your Apartment
Besides health hazards and odours, the appearance of mold can wreak havoc on the structural integrity of your apartment, as it damages walls, ceilings, furniture and upholstery. For smaller contaminated areas, you can clean them using vinegar and water, but make sure to dry them thoroughly afterward.