Mold in rentals is a joint issue of tenant-landlord liability, responsibility, and prevention. Can I just remove the mold myself and reduce the amount I pay my landlord in rent that month? And it's very tricky to find out whether a person who has been exposed to mold has actually inhaled or ingested it. Some landlords include clauses in the lease that purport to relieve them from any liability resulting from mold growth. Mold in Apartment & Tenant Rights. More cases from other parts of the country are sure to arise as mold litigation makes its way through the courts. Some states require landlords to disclose information about mold to tenants. In a rental property, it can occur following a faulty plumbing or an unattended spill. In general, landlords are responsible for mold remediation if mold results from something the landlord is responsible for repairing. When dealing with landlord tenant law and mold issues, there are basically a few major mold remediation laws and guidelines laying out how these types of cases should be handled. It’s a complex issue but we’ll tell you what you should be able to expect from your landlord, as well as let you know what to do if you find mold in your apartment. Additionally, the law applies if the mold is a threat to the tenant’s health. Depending on the situation, state law might give you options such as rent withholding if your landlord fails to fix a serious mold problem, or you might be able to file a lawsuit for mold-related health problems. The law in Georgia isn’t clear, but case law suggests that the presence of black mold may make an apartment unfit. There are a variety of mold strains that can cause any number of health problems. This law applies to both houses and apartment units. There is considerable debate within the scientific and medical communities about which molds, and what situations, pose serious health risks to people in their homes. This approach requires maintaining the structural integrity of the property (the roof, plumbing, and windows), which is the landlord's job. Mold may be the result of a plumbing issue. Here is a list of Local HUD Offices. Unfortunately, not all landlords adhere to these laws and continue to rent apartments despite the presence of toxic mold. How To Waterproof Your Basement - Step-by-step Guide & Products to Use, Cleaning Mold Naturally …..Compare Options, Effectiveness. However, a few states have finally stated laws on landlord obligations to fix the mold. Assuming a mold insurgence has been confirmed, your rights and degree of responsibility for remediation will vary according to your side of the rental agreement. There is no explicit mention of mold. 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. Mold and its associated health risks are a concern for renters everywhere. We're the Lawyers that other Lawyers call when they have a mold problem. If mold is making your apartment unsafe to live in, your landlord is responsible for fixing the problem. The Moldy Apartment Blues – Who Is Liable? The attorney listings on this site are paid attorney advertising. It will depend on the specific coverage your p… If you find mold in your apartment, inform your landlord right away. We represent adults and children who have been subjected to, and injured by, toxic mold exposure and other types of indoor contamination. Humidity sets up prime growing conditions for mold. State law provides two options if a landlord chooses not to make a repair: Either move or take the owner to court. Landlord/tenant law is not typically covered by federal law, either, but by state laws, which vary from state to state. Buildings in naturally humid climates of Texas, California, and the Southern U.S. have experienced more mold problems than residences in drier climates. Tenants are generally responsible for mold remediation if mold results from something they do. While mold is typically associated with buildings in humid, musty, damp conditions, no rental property is safe from mold contamination. The first, known as "rent withholding," is when tenants decide to stop paying rent, claiming the mold has made their apartment uninhabitable. For more information on mold, including what it looks like, how to test for mold, the health effects of mold exposure, and how to clean up mold, check out the Mold section of the EPA website. Landlords in all states but Arkansas are responsible for maintaining fit and habitable housing and repairing rental property, and this extends to fixing leaking pipes, windows, and roofs—the causes of most mold. Let your landlord know where in the apartment you’ve seen mold and encourage him or her to come inspect the situation in person. Some are powdery, others shiny. Please reference the Terms of Use and the Supplemental Terms for specific information related to your state. These states include New Jersey, Indiana, California, Maryland, and Texas. HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - There’s mold in your apartment, what are your rights? The first, known as "rent withholding," is when tenants decide to stop paying rent, claiming the mold has made their apartment … Most varieties of mold and mildew do not pose a risk to your health. Exposure to mold can lead to a wide range of health problems and mold in apartments can damage your furnishings and other personal belongings. As of 2013, there are no federal laws regarding what amounts of mold are considered safe. If your landlord has not visited your apartment to view the mold, it may help to enclose a few photos. The laws around mold vary from state to state, so if you feel your apartment is uninhabitable due to mold, be sure to check your state laws or ask a lawyer for advice. In Florida, there’s a particularly common issue that causes legal disputes between landlords and tenants year after year, particularly when the weather heats up. If landlords fail to remove mold, tenants may want to move. Tenants are required to notify their landlord of mold problems or of the latter’s failure to comply with mold-related responsibilities. It takes an expert to know whether a particular mold is harmful or just annoying. Sometimes I see tenants who notify the landlord or property manager that their apartment contains mold, but the tenants do not provide written notice. As of 2013, only a few states have laws regarding what amounts of mold are considered safe. Now, state law considers mold a condition of substandard housing. Keep in mind, however, that most mold is not harmful to your health—for example, the mold that grows on shower tiles is not dangerous. For instance, if a leaky roof leads to mold growth, the landlord would probably be responsible for removing the mold as well as repairing the roof. Courts in Michigan have recognized two common legal self-help strategies that some tenants choose to pursue following a mold outbreak in their apartment or rental home. They refer to the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, which requires a landlord to inform a prospective tenant about any condition that may influence their decision to rent the property. You should consult an attorney if you need legal advice about a specific situation. However, even if tenants are responsible for the cost of mold removal, landlords may be required by law to have the work done in order to make the apartment habitable. Mold is a common occurrence in apartments across Chicagoland. If you find mold lurking and seeping in from the corners of your walls, you are living in an environmentally hazardous situation. 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. The Mold Lawyers at the Law Firm of Militzok & Associates are proud to provide legal services within the State of Florida for cases involving toxic mold exposure, sick building and indoor environmental litigation. Mold on the living room ceiling could spread and end up damaging your living room furniture. An experienced professional will identify all areas of mold in the apartment and provide written documentation of his or her findings. If you have renters insurance - and we recommend all renters purchase insurance for their own protection - it may cover the cost of some of your belongings if they are ruined by mold. Courts have recognized two common legal self-help strategies that some tenants choose to pursue following a mold outbreak in their apartment or rental home. Even if you live in an area without laws addressing the subject of apartment mold specifically, though, in all states landlords are expected to provide a habitable rental unit. The federal government has no nationwide standard for mold in residential or commercial properties, and most state and city governments also do not address mold issues directly. What options do I have if my landlord refuses to remove the mold from my apartment or house? To find qualified mold removal professionals offering free in-home consultations and inspections in your area, just follow the link. Dehumidifiers, Hygrometers, Leak Detectors and More. No building tolerance or limits have been placed within federal laws. Your use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Terms of Use, Supplemental Terms, Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. You and your landlord are both required to take certain action to prevent mold growth and remedy the causes of mold growth. For local mold-related rules, contact your city manager, mayor’s office or other local government department. The first, known as "rent withholding," is when tenants decide to stop paying rent, claiming the mold has made their apartment uninhabitable. Across the country, tenants have won multimillion-dollar cases against landlords for significant health problems—such as rashes, chronic fatigue, nausea, cognitive losses, hemorrhaging, and asthma—allegedly caused by exposure to "toxic molds" in their building. However, most states only allow for requests to be made in writing. Apartment leases often prohibit tenants from doing things like removing and replacing carpet, which may be necessary in order to remove mold. New Mexico - New Mexico does not have laws or state agencies that regulate mold or have jurisdiction to enforce abatement. Mold laws are designed to protect tenants from living in infected homes and becoming seriously sick. Do Not Sell My Personal Information, Every Landlord's Guide to Finding Great Tenants, Every Landlord's Guide to Managing Property, state department of environmental protection, Environmental Health State Bill Tracking Database, responsibility to provide safe and livable housing, Tenants have some duties to maintain their rental unit, require landlords to disclose information, Collecting and Returning Security Deposits, Rent Rules: Rent Control, Increases, & More. Landlords may not want tenants to do the work themselves, either. The bad news is that there is no federal law regarding the exposure limits to mold. The below table shows which types of repair requests are legally acceptable in each state. 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. 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. Landlord's Duties to Remedy Mold and Mildew There are other Texas statutes pertaining to mold and mildew remediation according to legalmatch.com. Mold is a serious environmental hazard, and it is not something that landlords can just ignore or sweep under the rug. If your landlord doesn’t address the mold problem in a timely manner, we suggest putting your request in writing. If they have a lease, though, breaking the lease may have expensive consequences and make it difficult to find a new rental in the future. But whatever the climate, mold can grow as long as moisture is present. So, does the presence of toxic black mold render an apartment unfit for its intended use? In California, a verbal warning from the landlord about the presence of mold in the dwelling is not sufficient; the mold disclosure must be made in writing. The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (commonly known as HUD) may be able to assist you, as well, particularly if you live in rent-subsidized housing or if you are a senior citizen or disabled. Mold on the living room ceiling could spread and end up damaging your living room furniture. It spreads easily, so mold on a closet wall could spread and end up damaging clothing or other items stored in the closet. The first, known as "rent withholding," is when tenants decide to stop paying rent, claiming the mold has made their apartment uninhabitable. A smart landlord will try to prevent the conditions that lead to the growth of mold—and tenants should be the landlord's partner in this effort. If you have renter’s insurance - and we recommend all renters purchase insurance for their own protection - it may cover the cost of some of your belongings if they are ruined by mold. For more information and a free inspection for apartment mold, you can schedule an in-home consultation with a mold remediation professional. Contact your insurance agent if you have questions. Identifying toxic mold is not easy as there are many types of mold and not all are toxic. New tests that measure the presence of a particular mold's DNA in a blood sample are the only way to know for sure whether the mold is present in the body. Don’t sign anything agreeing to pay for mold remediation, though, unless you are prepared to cover the cost yourself. You can help by preventing mold problems in your home in the first place and promptly reporting problems that need the landlord's attention. Check the “Indoor Air Quality—Mold” box in the “Topics” column, and check the box next to your state. New York - Landlords of buildings with three or more apartments — or buildings of any size where a tenant has asthma — are required to keep tenants’ homes free of mold and pests. Copyright © 2020 MH Sub I, LLC dba Nolo ® Self-help services may not be permitted in all states. If you suspect there is mold in your rental unit, learn what to look for and when your landlord might be liable. Many renters just don’t know what to do. Exposure to household mold has been linked to all kinds of health problems, including allergic reactions, respiratory infections, asthma, and even bleeding in the lungs. 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