Mold in Rental House: What to Do
Mold is a fungi that grows indoors as well as outdoors. However, mold growing inside your home threatens your health. As a homeowner, how and when mold in your home is removed is your decision. As a renter, a mold discovery may be a bit more complicated.
I Have Mold in My House, Now What?
When renting a house with mold it often feels as if you're helpless to remedy the situation. Mold grows because a space has excess moisture and typically inadequate ventilation. This is why you'll see mold growing in an under-sink cabinet of the bathroom when there's a leaking pipe.
As soon as you discover mold growth in your rental home, the first thing to do is to notify your landlord or apartment complex manager. After notifying the landlord or manager, check the following tasks off your list:
- Read your lease and understand your tenant responsibilities as well as the landlord's
- Take pictures and/or videos of the mold
- Take pictures and/or videos of any leaks that you can see
- Do not attempt to remove the mold yourself
- Keep children and anyone with respiratory issues away from the mold
- Keep a log of all conversations had with your landlord regarding the mold situation, including date, time and details discussed about the mold problem
Landlord Responsibilities: Mold Removal
Every state has its own laws regarding landlord responsibilities for mold removal. California was the first to enact one regarding toxic mold in rental properties—the Toxic Mold Protection Act, which went into effect in 2001. To determine your landlord's responsibilities for mold removal in your rental home, contact the local housing authority. Regardless where you live, any landlord that knows there's mold in the rental house should:
- Disclose to the renter or prospective renter that mold exists inside the home.
- Make a reasonable effort to remove the mold and address the cause of the mold in a timely manner.
Mold in rental homes and apartments is commonly found around windows that don't seal properly, leaking moisture or even pooling water into the space. Leaks from water lines, pipes or malfunctioning appliances also lead to mold and are usually the landlord's responsibility to repair.
The Northwest Clean Air Agency reports that renters are responsible if mold develops from the "condensation of moisture from the indoor air onto cool surfaces." This means controlling the relative humidity of the rental home's interior falls to the tenant. To make sure you’re doing everything you can, do the following in your rental:
- Run exhaust fans when bathing, showering or cooking
- Make sure the dryer vent is working properly
- Clean up any spills immediately
- Don’t block vents with furniture (air flow inhibits mold growth)
- When possible, keep furniture a few inches away from the wall
- Use a digital gauge to monitor the home's humidity levels, which should be maintained about 40 to 50-percent.
Immediately notify your landlord if the rental's exhaust fans are not working properly, the dryer vent is clogged or if you're having difficulty maintaining a consistent temperature in the rental.
Dangers of Mold
Living with mold in can aggravate existing health issues, including asthma and other respiratory conditions. It's never something to ignore. Mold can develop in just 48 hours, which is why it's essential to clean up spills and overflows from a bathtub, sink or appliance immediately. If it is determined that you're the responsible party for the mold removal, let the professionals at ServiceMaster Restore® help. We've got your back and can perform full mold remediation safely and effectively.