As a renter, you would want an apartment that is like a home to you. A place where you get some refreshment after a long day of hard work. A healthy environment for you and your family. You found a new apartment to your liking and lived there for quite a while. But one day, you find out that the apartment is infested with mold. What should you do? Should you contact the landlord or fix the problem yourself? If you’re unsure what to do when dealing with mold in apartment, then this article is for you.
Mold Issues in Apartment – Should You Worry?
Yes. You should worry about mold in your apartment. Mold is a fungus that grows rapidly because of excess moisture and in warm, dark places. The most common types of household molds might be found around bathrooms, basements (especially those with damp carpeting), drywall ceiling tiles, carpets, wallpaper under sinks, and plumbing pipes. Mold infestation can cause a lot of problems, including health problems, if left untreated. The mold releases mold spores into the air, which is enough to make you sick since those spores can settle in human lungs. Especially people with health issues like allergies or asthma are at high risk.
What Causes Mold in Apartments?
As mold is a naturally occurring fungal growth found in damp places and apartments, it is often caused by excessive moisture and poor ventilation. Here are some common causes of mold growth in apartments:
- Leaky appliances such as refrigerators, ice makers, and dishwashers.
- Burst pipes and defective plumbing.
- Wet walls, ceilings, and floors due to water damage.
- Undetected or unaddressed leaks in the apartment.
- Lack of proper ventilation in the bathroom and kitchen.
- Humidity levels that are too high.
- Wet shoes and damp clothes that are not dried properly.
- Covering or concealing radiators.
- Poorly ventilated crawl spaces.
- Lack of proper ventilation in the apartment.
It is important to address mold growth as much as possible, as it can cause health problems and can lead to damage to surfaces and furnishings in your home. If you suspect you have mold in your apartment, it is recommended to have it inspected and removed by a professional.
How to Detect Signs of Mold in Apartments?
If there is mold in your rental unit, then you should try to detect it as early as possible. It’s really important for the health of you and your family members. But unfortunately, mold detection is very challenging. Look for signs of mold growth underneath surfaces, like carpets, wallpaper, cabinets, and walls. Also, check the areas in the apartment that are highly susceptible, like shower walls, window moldings, Refrigerator door seals, and around air conditioners. Here are some signs and symptoms of mold you’ll encounter:
- Your apartment smells like it has a musty odor, mildew, or earthy.
- Water damage signs on the wall, like bulging drywall or stains.
- Green or black spots appear on the surfaces.
A Home Inspection can help detect mold. Learn more about the benefits of home inspection in OKC.
Health Risks of Mold Exposure in Apartments
Most molds aren’t harmful, like the one that grows on shower tiles. But there are some kinds of mold that grow in your apartment that can be harmful. Mold poses serious risks to people with underlying health problems, infants, children, elderly people, immune-compromised, and people with respiratory conditions, allergies, and asthma. You’ll start facing some health-related problems if there’s any mold growing in your apartment. Here are some mold allergy symptoms:
- Watery eyes, coughing, or trouble breathing.
- Sinus Headaches
- Watery and Itchy eyes
- Congestion and runny nose
Black Mold in Apartment: Is it Dangerous?
Black mold, technically known as Stachybotrys chartarum is the most dangerous type of fungus because it can cause serious health issues after periods of exposure, including respiratory issues, mental impairment, skin inflammation, and nausea. It also damages internal organs as well. Mold is a silent killer that often goes unnoticed until it’s too late. With black mold thriving in dark places with limited ventilation, you may never know when this potentially life-threatening problem will become the worst nightmare for you and your family.
Is A Landlord Responsible For Mold?
There are no specific rules and regulations to hold landlords responsible for mold problems in an apartment. However, landlords can be held responsible for mold issues since a landlord is responsible for providing a safe and livable house and failing to offer a mold-free environment makes him legally liable for reimbursing tenants for additional costs they have sustained. Can a landlord make a tenant pay for repairs? Yes, they can. But only if the damages are caused due to the tenant’s negligence.
The landlords have to take full responsibility for removing mold from the apartment and providing a healthy environment. Even after a landlord entirely takes care of mold infestations in the apartment, if a tenant develops health issues, then the tenant can claim damages.
But if the tenant causes the apartment mold growth problem, then you, as a tenant, are responsible for paying for an inspection, testing, and mold removal. Like mold problems, the pest control problem also needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Get to know Who is Responsible for Pest Control when renting?
What Landlords Need to Do to Stop Mold Growth?
Mold Infestation is quite common in apartments. So landlords can DIY mold removal themselves. But if they don’t have time to do it themselves, then the landlords can either hire a handyman to identify the mold presence and get them cleaned. The landlords also need to stop mold from growing further by patching all leaking or spilling, properly sealing barriers, and removing, replacing, or bleaching the affected area.
If there’s black mold growing in the apartment, then the landlord needs to hire a professional mold inspector and mold service since they are extremely dangerous and have to be handled by professionals to prevent them from spreading further.
What Tenants Can Do to Prevent Mold Growth in Apartments?
First of all, the most important thing you need to do is find apartments that are well-maintained and have the best defense against mold. So, while looking for rental apartments, check the signs of the building breaking down, looking dingy, or the building not being kept well. This inspection is a must since all landlords aren’t aware of issues of mold infestations. Landlords are required to provide working appliances, doors, windows, and bulbs, along with well-sealed and pre-treated areas where water perpetually flows. So that there is no place for mold growth in the apartment.
Also, as a responsible tenant, there are some things you can do to prevent mold in your apartment. Don’t leave any standing water anywhere in the apartment, and also dry any moisture you find as soon as possible. And if you’re uncertain about the mold issue, then call your landlord immediately.
Recommended Article: What Happens When a New Landlord Takes Over?
What To Do If Your Landlord Won’t Fix A Mold Problem?
Dealing with a mold problem in your rental property can be concerning for your health and safety. If your landlord refuses to address a mold issues even after notifying with evidence, here are some steps you can take as a renters rights:
- Terminate the lease early without penalty.
- Contact your local housing or health department to report the mold problem.
- Withhold rent or repair the issue and deduct the cost from the rent.
- Consider finding alternative accommodation.
- Consult with a lawyer who specializes in landlord-tenant disputes.
Remember, the legal process can vary from state, so it’s important to take help from a legal professional in your local area who can provide guidance to your situation.
Can Tenant Sue Landlord for Mold Problems?
To sue a landlord for the mold problem in an apartment, you need to collect the proof first. Then, you can file a personal injury lawsuit to sue your landlord, and depending on the extent of your property losses and health issues and the jurisdiction’s amount limit, you may be able to resolve the case in small claims court. In small claims courts, both parties are required to represent themselves and have claim limits in the $ 3,000-$10,0000 range. However, the small claims courts are regulated at the state level.
If the amount is higher in case of extensive treatment during illness, then you may need to hire an attorney to file a more formal injury claim.
How Can Property Managers Help with Mold Problems?
When it comes to dealing with repair and maintenance requests from tenants, the landlords aren’t always available at certain times. Managing rental properties requires a lot of time and experience. Handling requests from multiple tenants is also a hectic job. That’s why landlords should consider hiring an OKC property manager to handle their properties. A Property Manager is responsible for handling daily activities in a rental property. Also, ensuring that the property is in top condition and livable. The management company will make sure that everything is working correctly, including checking for water leakage, water stains, and moisture problems. A Property Manager can easily handle requests from the tenants. You can easily communicate with the property manager and explain the problem in the apartment.
In case you find signs of mold in the apartment, you can contact the property managers right away and explain the situation. Property Management companies in Oklahoma City have expert personnel and contacts. They will send a team of a professional mold inspector to find mold in your apartment and treat the infected areas. The property managers make sure that the apartment is regularly inspected for mold exposure so that there are no health effects on tenants or damage to personal property.
FAQs on Mold in Apartment
How to check for mold in an apartment?
To check for mold in an apartment, inspect for leaky pipes and moisture. You might find discoloration and slimy and powdery texture on the surfaces. Mold also can grow in difficult-spotting places like the attic, basement, vents, etc.
How to get rid of mold in an apartment?
You can get rid of mold using simple cleaning agents like detergent, white vinegar, baking soda, ammonia, bleach and water solution, etc. However, if you severe mold problem then you might need to hire a professional to get rid of the mold.