If you find mold in your apartment or home, your landlord can be held liable for ensuring that the property is in a habitable condition.
- Renters insurance– If the mold is making the space unlivable, be sure to check your renter’s insurance policy to see what can be covered under your plan.
- Document– At the first sign of mold, be sure to document all relevant information. All communication in writing. Pictures, timeline and details of water damage, mold damage, doctor’s appointments and recommendations, and any other areas as a result of the mold.
- A written notice to your landlord –It is especially important to send a written document notifying your landlord or management company of the mold in a rental.
- Check the terms of your lease –In many cases, landlords are held accountable for ensuring that the rental property is in a “livable” condition for their tenants.
If the mold damage is, in any way, a result of your own negligence, the landlord cannot be held liable. According to the online legal resource Nolo, “The liability picture changes when mold grows as the result of your own behavior, such as keeping the apartment tightly shut, creating high humidity, or failing to maintain necessary cleanliness. When a tenant’s own negligence is the sole cause of injury, the landlord is not liable.”
Legally, landlords in all states (except Arkansas) are responsible for maintaining “fit and habitable” housing and for repairing any damage and mold in a rental property. As the landlord of a rental property, if you do not take care of any known water leaks or damage, resulting in mold growth, you may be held responsible if a tenant can prove to a judge or jury that the mold has caused a health problem or made for toxic living conditions. Mold can also be easily prevented by maintaining the structural integrity of the property and by addressing any water damage as quickly as possible. If there is a concern about mold affecting your tenants, be sure to enlist professional mold removal services to test and inspect for any signs of mold in rental properties. Attempting to cut costs by removing mold without a mold professional, can cause the mold spores to become airborne and spread throughout the entire property increasing your liability risk of illness to tenants and in increased property damage. All mold removal should be done with the careful oversight and procedures followed by mold professionals that perform mold removal in accordance with the EPA guidelines and IICRC mitigation process.