What Are My Tenant Rights if Mold is in My Apartment?
If you are dealing with mold in your apartment, it is important to understand your rights and options for resolving the issue.
Mold is an environmental hazard that can cause serious health problems if left untreated, especially for individuals that have an autoimmune disorder or weakened immune system. Not only that, but it only takes mold 24 to 48 hours to grow and spread. So, you must address any mold problems as soon as possible.
Yet, it can be challenging to know how to get your mold problem fixed as a tenant. After all, you are not the property owner and may not have control over maintenance or repairs.
You may feel that you are at the mercy of your landlord when dealing with mold. The good news is there are several things you can do to help protect yourself and get mold removed from your apartment. Here are some steps you can take if you suspect mold in your rental property:
1) Consult Your Lease Agreement
The first step you should take if you discover mold in your apartment is to consult your lease agreement. Your lease agreement should have a clause that addresses mold and other environmental hazards.
For example, your lease may require you to notify the property manager of any health or safety issues within a specific time period. Or it may outline precisely what responsibilities the landlord has for mold remediation.
Yet, even if your lease does not explicitly address mold, you may still have options. For instance, most states have a legal doctrine called the “Implied Warranty of Habitability.” This warranty states that landlords must maintain their rentals in a livable condition. Therefore, your landlord may be legally obligated to resolve the issue.
2) Notify Your Landlord
Once you have consulted your lease agreement, you should notify your landlord of the mold problem. If your lease requires it, be sure to do so within the specified time period.
When you notify your landlord, always put it in writing. This way, you will have a record of the issue should your landlord refuse to take action. Include as many details as possible in your letter. For instance, describe where the mold is located, how long you believe it has been there, and any health problems you have experienced.
3) Request a Mold Inspection
If your landlord refuses to take action after you have notified them of the mold problem, you may want to request a mold inspection. In many cases, landlords will not act until a formal inspection has confirmed the presence of mold.
A trained inspector will be able to find any existing or potential sources of moisture in your building that could lead to mold growth. They will also be able to determine the extent of the problem and recommend remediation.
Once the mold inspector has completed the assessment, they will provide you with a detailed report of their findings. This may help you and your landlord determine a long-term solution to the problem.
4) Consider Legal Action
If your landlord still refuses to address the mold problem, you may have no choice but to take legal action. You can typically file these types of lawsuits in small claims court. However, prior to making any decisions, we highly recommend consulting with an attorney to further explain possible options and potential outcomes.
Be sure to bring sufficient evidence of the mold problem, such as photos or medical records. You should also be prepared to show that you notified your landlord and gave them a reasonable amount of time to act.
If you win your case, the court may order your landlord to pay for damages. This may include the cost of mold remediation, moving expenses, and any medical bills you have incurred.
The Bottom Line
If you are dealing with mold in your apartment, it is important to understand your rights and options for resolving the issue. By following the steps outlined above, you can help ensure that your apartment is safe and habitable for you and your family.
Need to Schedule a Mold Inspection?
If you need to schedule a mold inspection to prove the presence of mold in your rental, GP Inspect is here to help.
We have been offering comprehensive mold inspections and indoor air quality testing services in Southern California for over 22 years. Our team of experts will provide you with a thorough inspection and a detailed report of their findings. We can also provide you with proper mold removal and remediation recommendations that strictly follow industry standards of practice to help you get your apartment back to normal.