Mold is never a welcome housemate to discover in a rental property. Dealing with this menace requires recognizing it, notifying your landlord, and seeing its removal through to completion.
According to experts from All Dry USA, this environmental hazard can cause symptoms similar to allergic reactions, including skin irritation, sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, and other issues. While there are steps to prevent mold, it is still important to know what to do if this pest does intrude on your rental.
Of course, the first step is to recognize and identify the presence of mold. It can surface in various colors and shapes. Mold can be powdery, shiny, or somewhere in between. There might be a noxious odor or an invisible scent as mold creates its home between walls, under floors, and, as expected, in basements and attics. This nuisance thrives in damp places and naturally grow in humid climates. No matter the climate, the presence of moisture can create a growth spot for mold.
Loop in Your Landlord
Once mold is detected in your rental, the first step is to notify your landlord. Utilize the means you know will work, whether this is email, text, or a phone call. In the waiting process, you’ll want to document the issue. Take photographs of the questionable areas and share them with your landlord. If your landlord proves difficult to contact, consider sending a certified letter or providing a deadline for response. Written communication is best as a paper trail means documentation if the issue escalates to legal involvement.
Take Care of Yourself
A risk factor with mold is any detrimental effect it might have on your health or that of fellow roommates or family members. If you notice unusual or steady coughing, sneezing, persistent headaches, or other allergy-like symptoms, a doctor’s visit is in order. If you detect mold, a doctor’s visit is a good safety measure.
Test It Out
As indicated before, there are multiple types of mold that might be present. You should have your landlord coordinate an indoor air quality test. This will determine the mold type and further decisions can be made on how to be handle it. De-humidifying your home and sanitizing and disinfecting the area can potentially slow down further growth. However, the best route is to call in the experts for professional removal.
Determine Landlord Liability (or Your Own)
The responsibilities of a landlord center on providing a safe and livable environment. In determining liability for the mold, it might be in the hands of the landlord. If the rental has had a history of leaks, mold might grow as a result. If the landlord has historically failed to prevent or fix these leaks, a judge might determine the landlord is responsible for any subsequent health issues linked to the presence of mold. In some instances, landlords can be responsible even in the absence of mold specific laws.
To check for rules and regulations specific to your state, refer to the department of environmental protection or the state department of public health. In terms of federal protection, very few states have standards for mold standards or regulations. Those states include California, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, and Texas, as well as some large metropolitan locations, like New York City and San Francisco.
On the reverse, the mold might have formed as a result of your behavior. If you have failed to keep the rental to some standard of cleanliness or created unnecessary humidity, the negligence may create liability on your part.
Ideally, your landlord and your standard of living will prevent the creation of mold in the first place. If a landlord is problematic and unhelpful, be aware of legal courses of action that may be necessary. When in doubt, talk to a lawyer and explore the option of filing a lawsuit. Through the avenues of the local court system, you may be able to push for repair as well as reduced rent, civil penalties, compensation for actual damages, and the cost of the attorney. If legal action is imminent, document everything. You’ll need this in court.
At the end of the day, your health is the priority. Moving out is always an option and definitely one to pursue if the mold is damaging your health and quality of living.