Mold is currently one of the biggest
concerns for renters. There is an increase in awareness of the health
risks of black/toxic mold, in particular. Lawsuits have been brought
against landlords by tenants, since they know large mold problems are
the responsibility of the landlord.
Where Mold is Commonly Found on a
Mold can spring up just about anywhere, but most strains love to thrive in locations that are damp, dark, and humid. Common places mold occurs are:
- Bathrooms with poor ventilation
- Around caulking and seals of windows
- Carpets and floors, including under boards and tiles
- Walls, including under panelling, wallpaper, and drywall
- Fabrics, such as curtains and bedding
- Areas of clutter that are prevent ventilation
How does mold affect the health of
Mold can cause quite a negative impact on the health of those exposed. Symptoms will vary from person to person, but the most common side effects include:
- Respiratory problems
- Inflamed lungs
- An increase in asthma attacks
- Eye irritation
- Sinus/chest infections
A Landlord’s Legal Responsibilities, in Regards to Tennant Exposure
Apart from a few specific examples, a landlord’s responsibilities regarding mold is a bit of a legal gray area, as they are not clearly specified in any regulations, statutes, codes, or ordinances. However, while there are no specific laws, landlords can still be held legally responsible for health conditions caused by mold. However, many states are starting to set permissible exposure limits, so it is unlikely that this will stay a gray area for much longer and landlords will become solely responsible.
If you want accurate information for your state you can check with your state department of environmental protection, as well as the state department of public health.
A Landlord’s Responsibility, in
Regards to Maintaining Habitable Premises
Even without specific laws, it is your duty as a responsible landlord to provide housing that is safe for your tenants. Underperforming landlords can face legal rent withholding. If they fail to carry out repairs, they could face a lawsuit.
Failure to Fix Leaks, Resulting in
In all states, aside from Arkansas, landlords must maintain habitable housing, including undertaking repairs to their rental properties. This includes leaks, the most common cause of mold. If a mold infestation occurs due to an unrepaired leak, it is possible that tenants can seek legal action.
Mold Caused by Tenants
The landlord is not liable for mold that is the direct consequence of tenant behaviour, such as preventing the apartment from ventilating or failing to keep the property to a clean standard.
Mold Clauses in Leases
Some states will allow landlords to add clauses to their rental agreement, removing their liability regarding mold. However, any respectable landlord will ensure that their properties are of a standard that mold should not occur in the first place, and if it does, they will accept responsibility and fix the issues expediently. Afterall, a landlord wants their property to remain rentable for profit. One cannot profit without hospitable dwellings. Maintaining proper living environments will benefit both landlord and tenants in the long run.