A Guide for Tenants Dealing with A Mold Problem

What is mold and why is it dangerous?

Mold are microorganisms that feed on dead organic matter. They begin to grow in dark, wet, or moist areas and when they do, they form colonies that spew out large quantities of mold spores into the air. These spores can be harmful to your health and can cause allergies, watery eyes or even skin irritation. Most types of mold are harmless, but there are particular species that can pose serious health hazards to your health. One such mold infestation is the infamously called “black mold”.

Black mold is a variety of micro-fungus that typically grows on damp buildings or establishments with a history of water flooding. They are black or sometimes green in appearance and they expel toxins called “mycotoxins” that can be poisonous or even lethal to people with existing health conditions. Overexposure to high levels of mycotoxins can lead to health complications such as difficulty in breathing, nasal congestion, headaches, sneezing, chest colds, fever or worse, a permanent damage to your internal organs.

Mold infestation shouldn’t be taken lightly because when it is left untreated for long periods of time, it can eat away organic surfaces in your home like wood products, your insulation materials, your wallpapers, and even your upholstery and other fabrics. Worse, long-term mold exposure can eventually develop into more serious health issues such as anxiety, memory loss and stomach pains. This is why we advise renters with cystic fibrosis, asthma, and other respiratory conditions to do a mold inspection first before signing any lease.

How can you detect mold in your apartment?

Now, if you’re a tenant renting out an apartment and you’ve suspected a mold infestation in your flat, how can you confirm if there is an actual presence of mold in your living space? It might be expensive to hire a mold professional right away, but you can do an initial testing first to see if there is a high probability of mold infestation. Once you’ve checked all the boxes, it’s time to call your landlord and ask for a professional mold removal company to remediate the mold for you once and for all.

Signs and Symptoms of Mold Presence:

Visible black, white or green spots

If you’ve noticed clusters of dark colored spots of high-moisture level areas in your flat like the plumbing under the sink, bathroom tiles, tile grout, ceilings, carpets, and walls and they look fluffy and mushy spreading across the area, then it’s most likely mold.

Musty or Stale Odor

Is there a musty smell coming from your apartment? If yes then you should raise the alarm because a musty or stale odor is closely associated with a mold problem. Since molds are a type of fungus, they secrete a foul smell that often causes discomfort, difficulty in breathing or in worse cases, chronic diseases. If you’ve already been staying in your rental for quite some time now and you’ve noticed that even after you have cleaned the place, the musty odor is still isn’t going away, then you must check which area it might be coming from. And then try to inspect the area but if you didn’t see mold colonies on the surface, that doesn’t automatically mean that your apartment is mold-free. Sometimes, molds are hidden behind walls and hard-to-reach areas.

Bubbled Peeling on Walls

When bubbles and peeling spots appear on your walls, it is an indication that the walls are damp and these could potentially be harboring mold without you knowing. But before peeling that out and jumping to conclusions, it’s best to do a thorough inspection of your home first. Check every nook and cranny but in case, you don’t find anything yet, still, don’t rule out the possibility that you could be dealing with a mold problem. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Allergies

Have you been having allergies lately? Like constantly sneezing or coughing? One of the symptoms of mold poisoning is allergic reactions that would not subside, but would even exacerbate when you’re home. If you’re positive about all these signs then there’s only one more left to check.

Past Flooding

As a final check, ask around if there has been a history of flooding in your area. If yes, then the chances that your dealing with a mold issue will go up pretty high. With that in mind, you’ll have a better idea now on what course of action you should take.

Yes, I have mold in my apartment. What should I do next?

Once you’re already through with your own assessment of the situation and you’re quite positive that it is indeed mold that’s causing the problem, it’s time to call and ask your landlord to hire a local mold removal company to conduct a mold test and perform the necessary procedures to get rid of the mold for you.

So far, no federal law clearly outlines the responsibilities of the lessor in regard to mold conditions and only a few states have actually passed laws regarding mold exposure but these property owners are required to follow the standards set by the Department of Health in providing a safe and healthy rental space for their tenants. That said, mold removal procedures should be shouldered by your landlord given that you as the tenant, did not cause any of the existing issues. However, keep this in mind: If you don’t report the problem ASAP, you would now also be liable for shouldering the mold remediation costs along with the owner because it’ll count as negligence so make sure that you report the problem immediately.

Now that that’s set, make sure to take care of the unit so you can also enjoy living safely and comfortably in your temporary home.

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