Circumstances Under Which the Landlord is not Liable for Mold
- Failure to Notify the Landlord of a Mold Problem
The landlord can hold the tenant legally responsible for a mold problem if the tenant failed to notify the landlord of a mold problem. For instance, you can move into a new home and notice visible signs of mold growth in a particular room. Instead of informing the landlord about the issue, you clean it up on your own only to notice a recurring mold problem a few weeks later. Your landlord will not be liable since you never acted quickly on the mold issue. The liability can only shift to the landlord if the problem was caused by an ongoing maintenance issue or it pre-existed before the tendency.
- Unsanitary Domestic Habits
Mold can grow anywhere but it does not become a problem until you provide the necessary conditions that favor its growth and existence. A landlord is not liable for mold if it is caused by the tenant’s negligence to maintain the unit. Keeping the unit poorly ventilated, and failing to address leakage problems in time are some of the conditions that could lead to mold. Leaving wet clothes to dry inside the house provides favorable conditions for mold to grow. In such cases, the tenant is held responsible for causing mold and will be stuck with the costs of mold remediation. The tenant should be responsible enough to take care of the unit from the time they move into the home.
- Overuse of Humidifiers
Humidifiers add moisture in your home to prevent air dryness that can cause allergies or skin irritations. They can be effective for treating skin dryness and irritation in the respiratory tract. However, overusing a humidifier could cause condensation on the walls that lead to mold problems. Unclean humidifiers could also promote bacterial growth that causes respiratory problems. In such circumstances, the tenant is held responsible for creating conditions that result in mold growth.
Who Should Clean It Up?
It is not the responsibility of the landlord to provide cleaning services if your mold problem is caused by unsanitary domestic habits. Insisting on your landlord doing so constitutes an invasion of privacy. If the landlord inspected the property for mold and ensured everything was in perfect condition before you moved in, the responsibility of keeping the home clean and in good condition shifts to the tenant. For instance, it is reasonable for tenants to get rid of mold growing in a corner where they habitually throw damp towels. Mold can also grow inside drains not because it is faulty, but because of what goes in the drain. Any activities that create an environment for mold to grow in becomes the responsibility of the tenant to clean it up.
Joint Responsibilities of the Landlord and Tenant
Both the tenant and the landlord share a joint responsibility in creating conditions that reduce the likelihood of mold. The landlord should conduct appropriate inspections and cleanout before leasing out to the tenant. The landlord is responsible for mold in the event of a leaky roof, water seeping through basement walls, leaky pipes, and any mold present at move-in. The tenant is responsible for taking preventive measures during the time they will be living in the residence. Some of the situations that hold the tenant liable for mold include surface mold on furniture, mold on windowsills, shower tiles, bathtub, or on drywall where you often keep wet towels. The tenant needs to perform routine inspections for mold so that they can address the problem sooner.
A healthy tenant-landlord relationship requires good communication, commitment, and working together to maintain the quality of life. The key to good health and overall wellbeing of the occupants is the shared commitment of the tenant and landlord when it comes to maintaining the rental property. It is not about blaming each other but taking action to create a healthy living environment since both have obligations where mold is concerned.