Mold around or in your home is an environmental hazard that can cause several health problems like rashes, chronic fatigue, nausea, cognitive losses, hemorrhaging, asthma, or other serious health risks.
Tenants can face severe health issues with mold exposure, and this is the most controversial topic among the scientific medical communities. Still, one thing is a clear mold for asthma patients or those having inhaling issues can worsen the situation, especially when it grows on shower tiles due to humidity and moisture caused by steamy showers.
Unfortunately, there are few laws for tenant relocation due to mold, and even if the landlord has been alerted in the early stages of decay, there is nothing tenants can do. Still, few states address this problem, and tenants and landlords can also take advantage of the laws.
Tenant Relocation Due to Mold
In this article, we will discuss possible scenarios of tenant relocation due to mold and some alternatives available for both the tenant and the landlord.
Note: We are not giving legal advice here; this post is only for informational purposes. You must consult any legal professional to decide your situation.
When is Tenant Relocation Required Due to Mold
Tenant relocation becomes essential when the mold starts to raise serious health concerns.
Some states and local governments are adopting rigorous requirements for mediating the rental units for mold; In some cases, relocation requirements apply until the landlord remediates the mold.
Before you seek help from the law, you should start digging into the mold remediation information in your lease agreement because mostly there are mentioned rules in the lease agreement about who will fix the mold and also the relocation steps in case of mold infestation.
If the lease agreement conflicts with the mold laws, you can seek help from state and local authorities.
Let’s see which states have solid mold regulations and rules.
What is Mold
Mold is a type of microscopic fungi that grows in damp locations, especially when the moisture or humidity level increases in the home or apartment for a long time. Any organic material like food, wood, paper, or dust can start turning into mold. It can be cured in earlier stages by reducing the humidity or moisture.
As mentioned earlier, exposure to toxic molds in the building or rental unit can cause serious health and safety issues.
Mold grows in different colors like black, white, gray, green, powdery, or shiny colors, and it has other names like Stachybotrys, penicillium, aspergillus, paecilomyces, and fusarium.
Mold usually grows under floors, walls, ceilings, or in less accessible or confined spaces like basements and attics.
It can grow on water-soaked materials like paneling, paint, ceiling tiles, bathroom tiles, newspaper, and cardboard boxes. So, to control mold exposure, you can start by getting rid of moisture like steam in the shower, cooking with closed windows, or keeping the apartment shut in rainy weather traps the water inside.
Humid climates are the biggest reason for mold growth, but drier climates make the mold tough to grow or impossible.
Mold can pose serious health effects like coughing, runny nose, itchy eyes and skin, difficulty breathing, flu-like symptoms, respiratory dysfunction, nose bleeds, diarrhea, and headaches. In severe cases, the inhalation of mold spores can cause mycotoxins and other severe health issues.
As a tenant, you also have some responsibilities not to let the mold come to life.. This happens for many reasons like keeping the apartment shut all the time, cooking with closed windows, steamy showers, or improper indoor and outdoor cleanliness of the premises.
New York Law
New York has a law that the rental unit must be habitable for human occupation; If it’s inhabitable, the landlord won’t be able to evict the tenant and will bear the cost of relocating the tenant until the remediation of the rental unit. And the tenant must be paying rent regularly until they are shifted back into the rental unit where remediation is done.
According to New York Times, a couple found a leak in the apartment that turned into black mold. After giving many alerts to the landlord, they left the apartment and subleased a different apartment, filed legal action against the landlord, and stopped paying rent.
The judge granted the tenants $31,040 as a rent reduction to rectify this.
California is also a state that recognizes the mold growth problem as a severe health issue for tenants. According to the dwelling-specific rules, athe substandard home requires the owner to remediate promptly, or the tenants will be applicable to terminate the lease and relocate elsewhere.
The relocation expenses are due to the landlord. Similarly, tenants are liable to regularly pay the monthly rent according to their lease agreement. But, if the landlord is failed to handle the mold problem, the tenants are responsible for suing the landlord.
Tenants are temporarily displaced by the expenses covered by the landlord when there are
A severe mold issue is considered a health and safety violation.
The third State, Virginia, is another Jurisdiction that takes the mold problem seriously and imposes duties on landlords and tenants.
Landlords must maintain the premises to ensure the mold never grows under any circumstance. And, if the tenant promptly responds about mold issues, the landlord is liable to take quick actions to remediate the mold problem. If relocation is necessary, the tenant can move to the selected yet comparable home or hotel room by the landloard at no expense to the tenant and temporarily vacate the property for 30 days. After 30 days, the landlord must relocate the tenant back.
This way, the tenant and the landlord can keep their side of the promise, and no problem will occur.
Once the landlord has remediated the molding property, the tenant can come back.
Alternatives to Temporary Relocation
If you don’t get relocated due to mold problems, tharee is several ways you can try to self-help.
Many states do not take this problem seriously, so the tenants can hardly do anything about the landlord to remediate the mold issue.
So, the tenants have two choices: remove the mold or get professionals to remove the mold.
Depending on the size of the location, the remediation procedure is decided; the ten square feet size of the mold is probably not that big of a size to hire a professional mold remediation company so that you can do it yourself.
These are the steps to remove mold yourself.
Fix leaks or things causing moisture to let the area dry completely.
Scrub the mold off tiles, walls, and ceiling using Tilex ( Mold Remover ), and dry that place. The product you will use must have fungicide and a mildew stat that controls the growth of mold and spores.
Remove the affected tiles, ceiling parts, or even the carpet that has absorbed the mold.
After removing the mold, throw away the clothes.
Do not paint that place; it can cause mold again, and pain will peel sooner or later.
For larger areas, hire a company and use the repair and deduct method to deduce maintenance costs from the next rent payment.
Check if the early Termination of the lease is an option
As a tenant, you can try to terminate the lease agreement if the mold situation arises.
Be cautious because if the mold is not making the place inhabitable, the Termination caalso be reversedll. Therefore, go through the laws before taking any action.
Finally, you can leave the unit without paying the rental payments under the lease, and the landlord should be able to find a new tenant to mitigate the damages, and then you will no longer be on the hook for your lease.
In other scenarios, a landlord can also report any non-payment of rent to credit reporting agencies, which can negatively impact your credit card score, and that’s ultimately going to haunt you for the upcoming days when you will use the credit card for any payments.
So, keep in mind this is a gamble, and it should be your last and final option and should be only used when the home is inhabitable or dangerously unsafe.
Many states have no specific mold laws, but a landlord is still liable for mold problems until the home is safe and livable again. When the landlord fails to fix a severe mold problem, rent withholding occurs, and both the tenants and the landlord can trap themselves in a never-ending lawsuit for mold-related health problems.
In a state like Arkansas, the landlords are responsible for maintaining the house. They must keep the rental property and fix issues like leaking pipes, windows, roofs, and other mold-related problems. If the landlord doesn’t seem responsive, you can surely convince a judge or jury of the landlord’s actions.
Sometimes, mold is caused by tenant behaviors, like when the tenants keep the apartment shut all the time and there is little to no ventilation, increasing humidity in the home. Similarly, the lack of necessary cleanliness can also cause such problems. Therefore, the tenants must not be negligible and practice good housekeeping to ensure they are not responsible for the damage to the property.
A tenant must go through the clauses of the lease about mold growth to see if the landlord will be responsible for the maintenance of the property or not. Usually, an intelligent landlord prevents having such classes in the agreement, Hhowever, the landlord, is still responsible for maintaining the structural integrity of the property, roof, plumbing, and windows.
Relocation for tenants is not an easy thing. Before renting an apartment, home, or condo, make sure to do your due diligence about the rights and obligations so that you don’t face any trouble in the future.