When dealing with challenges such as mold in your apartment, tenant rights can be confusing. For example, you may wonder, when is your landlord responsible for mold infestation in the rental property, and when are you liable for the damages? But more importantly, what steps can you take to protect your home and your family from microbial growth?
Mold can quickly reproduce in different parts of your home as long as moisture is present. Mold can quickly reproduce in different parts of your home as long as moisture is present. Unfortunately, if left untreated, it can also affect the building’s structure and cause various health issues, so addressing it promptly and adequately is essential. To help you safeguard your household’s well-being, here’s a useful guide on handling mold in a rental property and the next steps to take.
Signs Your Apartment May Have a Mold Problem
As a tenant, you want your rental space to be well-kept and regularly maintained, so spotting signs of mold can be a cause for concern. Before anything, remember that the best way to deal with mold in a rental property is to detect and report it early. Sorting out the expenses with your landlord can wait, but delaying mold removal can cost you your health and even cause significant property damage.
Speak to your landlord if you’ve been experiencing these signs:
- Colored, furry growth on moisture-exposed surfaces like floors, walls, ceilings, and carpets.
- A damp, musty odor
- You or your family members are experiencing frequent headaches, allergy-like symptoms, or other respiratory issues
Inspecting these spaces for microbial growth can also help:
- Your basement, as this is usually the dampest part of the home and receives little to no light.
- The attic, especially if you have recently dealt with a leaky roof.
- Your bathroom ceilings, which are regularly exposed to moisture during your showers or baths.
- Your HVAC’s ductwork, as can easily circulate spores inside your home.
Addressing Mold in Rental Property: Who Should Be Responsible for Mold Remediation?
In most cases, landlords are responsible for enlisting mold remediation and keeping their rental properties safe and livable. This is part of their duties under the warranty of habitability — they are required by law to provide their tenants with housing free from health or safety hazards. With that said, there are also instances where you, as the tenant, can be liable for mold infestation.
If Mold Was Caused by a Landlord’s Negligence
Landlords in almost all states are expected to keep their rental properties fit and habitable. This includes repairing plumbing systems and fixing leaking roofs and windows, contributing to microbial growth.
If your landlord fails to take care of necessary repairs and mold grows in your home, they may need to shoulder the costs of mold removal and decontamination. As a tenant, you have the right to be provided with a habitable rental home.
If Mold Was Caused by Your Actions
When considering the liabilities for a mold infestation in an apartment, a tenant’s rights can change if the microbial growth results from their own actions. After all, as the tenant, you also have a responsibility to maintain the rental unit.
This means that when you frequently keep the apartment shut, neglect the humidity level inside, and fail to clean the space regularly, your landlord may charge you for the cost of mold remediation. However, your landlord won’t be considered liable if the mold infestation resulted from your own negligence.
With all of that said, it’s still crucial to remember that tenants and landlords must combine their efforts to get rid of mold and keep rental homes safe. Whoever is at fault, cooperating to carry out a swift cleanup plan still benefits both parties.
What You Can Do as a Tenant To Keep Mold at Bay
The steps you can take to get rid of mold and maintain the property you’re renting ultimately depend on the terms of your lease contract. However, there are practical tips you can follow as a tenant to address minor moisture issues and prevent mold from reproducing in the first place, like the following:
- Use vents or open a window (if the weather allows) every time you take a shower or bathe to let excess moisture out.
- Wash and dry damp items right away — avoid leaving them in your hamper or on the floor.
- Clean up spills on carpets quickly.
- Repair plumbing leaks and remove excess water inside your home as soon as possible.
- Maintain good air circulation in your home by opening your windows regularly.
How To Find Professional Mold Remediation Professionals
While some tenants and landlords often try to address microbial growth by themselves, hiring a professional mold remediation team offers considerable advantages. Reaching out to experts in mold remediation assures you that the job will be done right and in the safest way possible.
Here are some smart tips to consider before enlisting mold remediation services:
- Confirm that they’re properly trained and insured. Some states require a specific license to perform mold remediation. Reliable mold professionals will have proper training and adequate insurance.
- Ask them about the mold removal and decontamination process. They should be able to explain all the steps they’ll take clearly and thoroughly.
- Look into the equipment they’ll use. Professional mold remediation teams use proper equipment like HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) air scrubbers and vacuums to thoroughly clean up your home and the indoor air.
- Inquire about their experience. Experts who have been in the business of removing mold and restoring damaged properties possess hard-earned expertise that they can use to solve different cases of microbial growth.
The Next Steps: Preventing Another Mold Infestation in the Future
If you’re faced with mold in your apartment, tenant rights and landlord responsibilities are factors that both parties must understand. However, tenants and landlords who work together can find helpful solutions and implement preventative measures rather than attempting to shift responsibility. After all, mold is a problem both tenants and landlords don’t want to have.
If you have recently had to deal with mold in a rental property, working with your landlord to take these preventative steps is recommended:
- Look for and immediately repair any leaks.
- Install fans or dehumidifiers in bathrooms and kitchens.
- Repaint treated areas with paint containing mildewcide to keep mold from coming back.
- Seal wood surfaces with an oil-based primer to protect them from mold and mildew.
- Enlist routine inspections with your trusted mold remediation team to detect early signs of microbial growth.
Mold infestation is a significant issue that quickly leads to more inconveniences, so waiting is not recommended for you and your landlord. If you see signs of microbial growth in the property you’re renting, it’s best to communicate the fact with your landlord right away. Most importantly, calling a certified team to remediate the problem swiftly will ensure your rental space remains a clean and safe environment for all.