Mold affects people in different ways, but for many, especially the elderly and children, it can lead to respiratory issues, while others may suffer from mold allergies. As such it’s important to know where you stand with regards to mold in a rented property. The biggest problem with determining this is that it varies from state to state. Even within a state, different counties may have different laws with regards to responsibility and liability of mold within a rental property.
Beyond the 5 things to know about mold below, be sure to research local laws in your area so you know what to expect.
Disclosure of existing mold
If you’re renting a new property it’s always important to do a pre-inspection. When you do this, specifically check areas where mold is likely to occur, such as in bathrooms and near water pipes. If you can detect occurrences before you move in, you can at least force the landlord to sort it out, and you can’t be held liable. In some areas, landlords are required to disclose any occurrences of mold that they are aware of in rental property. You are then free to decide whether you’re happy to live in that condition, or demand it rectified.
Although there might not be specific legal requirements surrounding mold, many landlords will try include mold related clauses within your lease contract. Take special care to read through such clauses and make sure you agree with what is dictated in the lease. While lease agreements can be overruled if a judge deems them to be in bad faith, this is not the norm, and understanding your lease will lead to less problems in the long term.
Tenant at fault
In certain situations, a tenant can be held liable for mold damage in a house. If you as a tenant create environmental factors that support mold’s growth and fail to take action, the landlord can hold you financially responsible for any damage or cleanup required.
Landlord at fault
In other situations, where you’ve notified the landlord of the occurrence of mold, or an environmental factor that is encouraging the growth of mold for which you have no control, the landlord can be found liable. Such an example would be a leaking tap, which you reported timely, and the landlord failed to rectify. If mold grows as a result of that leak, the landlord would be responsible.
Getting rid of mold
The best cure for mold is prevention. Mold thrives in warm and damp environments, so you should work to decrease such risk factors. If you ever see mold growing, take action immediately. If caught early, one can get rid of a mold infestation with common household cleaning agents. If you discover a large outbreak though, contact your landlord and determine a way forward. Most likely they will recommend the services of a professional mold removal company, with the cost to be covered as discussed. If you have problems with your landlord, make sure you take photos and keep receipts should you get the mold taken care of without the landlord’s assistance to guarantee you get your money back.
Sorting out mold in a rental property can be a non-trivial issue. Always try to resolve issues with your landlord before resorting to your own methods. Knowing these 5 things should help you come right quickly.