A Moldy Situation
Discovering mold in your apartment can be an upsetting and frustrating experience. Whether you have a small, localized problem or a full-blown mold infestation, the risks to your health are enough for you to know that the problem needs to be taken care of. But if you don’t own the property, where do you turn for assistance?
Oftentimes, landlords can be less-than-receptive to their tenants’ complaints about mold. Wiping down the surface with bleach, sending in a handyman, or even attempting to take care of the mold yourself can even worsen the problem, leaving you in a more dangerous situation than before.
While knowing your rights as a renter can help (and these vary state by state), sometimes the best thing to do is simply state the facts to your landlord.
You’re not blaming them for the mold growth, but you aren’t to blame either.
Mold happens, and it isn’t necessarily anyone’s fault. Tensions rise when people start pointing fingers, and this can turn an otherwise civil discussion into World War III. When you inform your landlord about the mold, let them know that you’re contacting them out of concern for their property, not to accuse them of doing something wrong.
If they attempt to blame you for the mold, calmly explain to them that you have no control over the comings and goings of miniscule mold spores, and that mold can grow on virtually any surface.
If it’s not addressed properly, the mold will grow back. With a vengeance.
Over the counter mold removers and bleach might make it appear as if the mold problem has been taken care of, but in actuality, the roots of the mold are still happily nestled in the safety of your walls.
Believe it or not, the act of attempting to remove the mold can actually make the mold more dangerous! As the mold is disturbed, spores are quickly distributed throughout the air. This means that not only are these spores in prime position to land on a surface and make a new home, but also to make their way into your sinus cavity and lungs.
The mold is hazardous to your health, and if anything were to happen, your landlord could be liable.
We’re all familiar with the effects of toxic mold exposure. Dizziness, upper-respiratory problems and even hair loss can be attributed to some types of black mold. If you end up in a hospital because of your landlord’s negligence, who’s to blame? And, more importantly, who’s going to foot the bill?
This could permanently damage the structure of the property, making it un-rentable in the future.
If your landlord is thinking of painting over the mold with mold-resistant paint (which, by the way, is also a sham), then it’s likely that they’re planning on leaving the problem for another day. If they’re not concerned about your health, then they should, at the very least, be concerned about the longevity of their property.
The longer mold is left untreated, the more substantial the problem will become. What once may have been a superficial surface mold, can quickly turn into a problem that eats up entire walls and load-bearing beams. Nobody will want to rent the property once the problem has become unmanageable.
With any luck, your landlord will see the light after you’ve educated them on the sneaky, sinister ways of mold. Just remember to refrain from making accusations, and, if at all possible, be compliant with any inspections and/or testing that they may want to do.
If your landlord still won’t budge, refer to the tenant’s rights in your state. Most of them have mold-related laws in place that will allow you to break a lease without losing your security deposit.