According to an estimate, there are more than 116 million renters in United States of America and there are reportedly 24 million landlords as well and surprisingly, 50% of the rental properties are suffering with mold growth issues.
Mold isn’t dangerous but exposure of mold for a long time can result in several health issues like allergies, asthma, coughing, runny nose, itchy eyes, itchy skin, difficulty breathing, flu-like symptoms, respiratory dysfunction, nose bleeds, diarrhea, headaches, inhalation of mold spores, ailments from mold, mycotoxins and other several health issues and symptoms caused by mold exposure.
That’s why mold is an alarming situation for tenants and there are laws in place to address this situation so that landlords can act quickly.
But, do you konw how long does landlord have to fix mold?
Even after your early prompts and notices, the landlord neither gives you the date of remediation of the mold, not starts remediation and as a result, you as a renter get frustrated and try to think alternatives like not paying rent on time, terminating the lease agreement , or relocating due to mold.
How Long does a Landlord have to fix a Mold Problem?
A landlord is liable to initiate the remediation of mold problem within 14 days of initial tenant alert about mold and has maximum 30 days to get the job done and during this period, the landlord provides temporary residence to the tenant at no cost to the tenant in a livable home or a hotel room. And, tenant is liable to pay monthly rent with discipline even after temporary diplacement according to the rental agreement.
How to Report Mold in a Rental House?
You can take pictures of the mold or make a video of the parts; indoor or outdoor for mold and water damage.
- Make a short, polite letter declaring the existance of mold and request the landlord to handle this situation before the mold grows in no time.
- Do not forget to put a date on the letter and sign it as well
- Must add your contact information
- Take a picture of the letter
- Deliver the letter to landlord’s home or office by mail
- The envelope must have your signature on it
- Otherwise landloard can claim that they never received the document
- Wait for a couple of days
- If the landlord fails to investigate the mold problem earlier
- Call the housing inspector and record the violation of the landlord
- Keep in mind that if during the inspection, if the inspector found that the mold growth is happeing due to your actions then the inspector will rule it against you and you will be the one paying for the mold remediation not the landlord.
Tenant Relocation Due to Mold
Tenant Relocation due to mold is a serious matter for both the tenant and the landlord because this is the last option for any renter to leave the premises when it becomes inhabitable.
No one would like to inhale the mold and get affected by it and watching nothing happening for the mold remediation.
The last resort for a tenant is to move out of the rental out either temporarily or permanently.
Before you vacate the rental unit or break the lease agreement, must know the consequences because without proving the mold in your home, you will be liable to pay the monthly rental payments and withholding the payments will affect your credit card score.
Therefore, provide evidence to the housing inspector and be ensured that you have a witness you need to withhold rental payments before getting a temporary shelter.
But things will be smoother if the landlord is cooperating with you in this matter and if the rental agreement has clear rules about mold remediation in your favor then you can get the temporary diplacement on an equally habitable home or hotel room at no expense to renter and the the renter must be liable to make payment of the rent of the home while the landlord is remediating the mold.
Other than the laws, you can come to an agreement with the landlord to handle the mold issue and then you won’t be worried about how long the landlord will take to fix the mold problem.
Similarly, there can be a sitaution where the landlord asks you to rectify the mold problem yourself and cut the maintenance charges from the monthly rent and things will turn out smooth.
But, if you have to go to the other route, where the landlord is not compliant with you, then must seek legal help to get the best result in your favor.
State Laws for Relocation
New York Laws
New York as being one of the hottest and wildest state of the United States of America, has stated laws for mold remediation.
In New York, if the rental unit is not livable, and if the landlord tries to evict the tenant, then the tenant is not longer liable to pay the rent according to the rental agreement ( Source)
If the landlord is willing to remediate, then temporary relocation happens and the landlord selects a livable and equal size living unit which could also be a hotel room at no expense to the tenant. Tenant is liable to pay the due rent according to the rental agreement at no cost of remediation process. This is a 30 days of temporary relocation period in which the landlord does the remediation according to professional standards to make sure the rental unit is haibtable again.
If the landlord and tenant has a understanding, then the tenant can take care of the mold and cut the charges of maintenance from the monthly rent to make it equal but that should be discussed first by both parties.
In California, the exposure of mold makes a dwelling “ substandar “ if it’s a danger to the health of occupants.
The minor mold exposure can also be handled by the tenant but if the mold is spreaking rapidly and on different spots in a house, and the owner or the landlord fails to remediate the issue on timely manner, then the tenant is liable to terminate the lease and relocate to another property.
But, if the landlord is cooperating with you and tries to handle the mold problem on a timely manner, then landlord must cover the relocation expenses at no cost to tenant and during this temporary displacement, the tenant must may the monthly rent as well.
In this case, the termination of the rental agreement depends on the situation but you are liable to break the agreement if the landlord seems unresponsive.
In Virginia, there are similar rules about mold growth and if the landlord fails to remediate the mold timely even after timely prompts by the tenant, then tenant can break the lease agreement.
If mold growth is caused by tenant’s failure to maintain the premises then tenant should be the one paying for the remediation of the mold.
When you Should Notice the Landlord about the Mold Growth?
You should notify the landlord when the mold is in the earlier stages or not bigger in size.
The more time the landlord will take to remediate the mold, the bigger the size of the mold will be and it will keep growing and worsen the situation to live in the apartment anymore.
Duties of A Landlord for Mold Growth
A landlord must take the responsibility to remediate the mold in a timely manner according to the building codes and ordinance and by not doing so can involve the federal law and mold-related legislations by residental rentals.
Although mold is making real estate and property management industries nervious but still renters are suffering from the mold problem at a large scale and landlords are taking advantage of that to take control back from the renters.
A smart landlord takes precautions during the development of the homes to never let the mold spread in the first place. That not only maintains the structural integrity of the property but also keeps the renters safe and healthy from the exposure of mold.
What is Mold
Mold is a slightly dangerous type of fungi that is an environmental hazard and can raise serious health problems with exposure of it.
Mold is affecting a large number of rental properties in United States of America especially those living in the humid climates because mold spreads and grows in humid einvornment when moisture is mixed with organic materials like paper, wood, paint, paneling, and spreads in the form of colonies on walls, ceilings, tiles, or near bathrooms or refrigerators.
It can be seen in different colors like black, white, green, and sometimes in shiny color. There are more than 100,000 species of the mold and few names of these species are stachybotrys, penicillium, aspergilus, paecilomyces, fusarium.
Honestly speaking, mold has become a nightmare for scientific medical communities because it poses serious health and safety risks and within few days of exposure to mold, tenants start having inhaling issues, breathing problems, and other sensitive issues as well.
If you landlord is taking days, weeks, or even months to fid the mold problem you can take action accordinglty but if your landlord is fixing the mold in a timely manner then handle the matter with the cooperation of each other.