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Ten Alarming Truths About Mold Every Renter Should Know

Ten Alarming Truths About Mold Every Renter Should Know

Renters: It’s not just that the “rent is too high;” your landlord may be ignoring an issue that may be festering, one that could affect your health: mold. Data bears this out.

In 2023, a concerning 3.8 million households identified mold in their homes. Considering that 45.2 million housing units in the country are renter-occupied, this equates to a significant percentage that contain mold – at least that we’re aware of. There may be more.

Why is this significant? Mold is an environmental hazard, and one that demands urgent attention as exposure to mold can lead to a range of problems from mild respiratory issues and allergic responses to more severe conditions, impacting those with asthma. Mold can also cause fatigue, depression, and headaches. Heightened awareness and proactive measures in rental housing are needed to safeguard resident health.

Health Risks of Mold Exposure:

Specifically, mold exposure can cause respiratory problems (coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath), allergic reactions, nasal and sinus congestion, eye irritation, throat irritation, skin rashes, and headaches.

There are various types of molds, with black mold (Stachybotrys chartarum) being notorious for causing health problems. However, all molds can cause health issues and should be treated with caution.

Mold thrives in damp, humid, and poorly ventilated areas. Common spots for growth include bathrooms, kitchens, basements, areas around windows, and places prone to water leaks.

Legal Aspects of Renting Concerning Mold:

Landlords are primarily responsible for addressing environmental issues like mold in their rental properties. However, their legal obligations can vary based on local regulations. That said, tenants also play a crucial role in preventing mold and managing indoor allergens. Negligence on their part can lead to liability for certain environmental hazards.

Tenant Tips for Preventing Mold:

  • Before moving in: Inspect the apartment for mold before signing the lease, looking for signs like musty odors, dampness near water fixtures, and peeling wallpaper.
  • Notify the landlord of any mold you see or musty odors you detect in the unit, and request remediation before occupying the space.
  • Ensure the HVAC system functions properly to prevent mold growth.
  • Once you move in: Maintain a clean environment. Regular cleaning and keeping the space dry are key to preventing mold.
  • Report issues: Tenants should immediately report any plumbing leaks or leaks from other sources, as mold can develop within 24-48 hours of water exposure.

Mold in rental properties is not just a cosmetic issue; it’s a serious health and safety concern that necessitates awareness, preventative measures, and timely action. Both landlords and tenants have vital roles in ensuring a safe living environment.