Don’t Panic! What to Do if You Spot Mold in Your Rental Home

December 6, 2022

Mold can be a serious issue, especially if you live in a rental home. If you happen to spot mold in your home, don't panic! There are steps that you can take to protect yourself and hold your landlord accountable. In this blog post, we will discuss the laws concerning mold in rental homes and what you can do if you encounter mold in your residence.

Reporting things to your landlord: Your first step after noticing a mold overgrowth should be to document the overgrowth and report it to your landlord. When documenting the overgrowth, take photos and write down the mold's exact location. If you are dealing with a housing company or property manager, keep track of who you talked to and when.

Your landlord's responsibility: After you have reported the overgrowth to your landlord, they are legally obligated to repair it as soon as possible. Depending on your state's laws, landlords generally have up to 30 days after being informed of an overgrowth to begin remediation efforts. If a landlord fails to take action within this timeframe, tenants may be able to withhold rent payments until repairs are made.

Mold remediation: When it comes to mold remediation, many states require that landlords hire certified professionals or licensed contractors with the proper experience and expertise in treating indoor environmental hazards. Tenants should ensure that their landlords adhere to these standards when hiring a remediation team.

Tenants' rights: It is important to know your rights as a tenant when it comes to mold in rental homes. Many states have implemented laws that protect tenants from living in dangerous and unsanitary conditions due to mold overgrowth. Be sure to review your local laws and regulations so you can take the necessary steps if you encounter any issues with mold.

What does the law say?

Laws concerning mold in rental homes vary from state to state. In some states, landlords must maintain a certain level of cleanliness and act promptly when notified of a mold problem. Other states have laws that protect tenants from being evicted or retaliated against for reporting mold issues. For example, the California Civil Code states that landlords must repair any mold or mildew caused by "defects in the premises." On the other hand, laws in Texas state that tenants must pay for any mold remediation unless it is the landlord's fault.

The best way to figure out the existing mold laws in your state is to contact a local housing authority or attorney. They will be able to guide you on how to handle a mold problem in your rental home properly.

What if your landlord pays no heed to the mold? 

If your landlord fails to take steps to address the issue, you may be able to file a complaint with the local housing authority. Depending on your state's laws, you may also be able to withhold rent payments until repairs are made or pursue legal action against your landlord for damages. Under the federal constitution of the United States of America, all tenants have the legal right to safe and sanitary living conditions.

Do you get any help if you have to relocate due to mold?

One of the major questions for most tenants is what if they no longer want to live in the house even after remediation. In cases like these, some states have laws that allow tenants to break their lease and relocate without penalty if the mold has caused them serious health problems. Other states may provide financial assistance for relocation costs in cases of extreme mold infestation. This will again be decided on a case-by-case basis, and the best way to deal with this is to contact a local housing attorney. But before you do, here are a few things to remember.

When contacting a housing attorney, it is essential to talk to someone specializing in tenant-landlord law. This way, you can ensure that your rights as a tenant are properly respected and understand what remediation steps should be taken. If you need help figuring out where to start, ask around for recommendations from your friends and family. In addition, remember to keep track of all correspondence with the landlord and provide any evidence when making a complaint or filing for relocation assistance.

Mold in rental homes can be a major issue, but knowing the laws concerning mold remediation and your rights as a tenant is important. Make sure to document any overgrowth you spot and report it to your landlord immediately. If they fail to take action within the timeframe specified by law, tenants may have several options for taking legal action or withholding rent payments until repairs are made. By being aware of your rights as a tenant, you can protect yourself from living in an unsafe environment due to mold growth.

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