What Are Tenants' Rights Regarding Mold?


24 Answers

Sarah Devine Profile
Sarah Devine answered
In order for a tenant to fully protect his/her rights in regard to eliminating mold, he/she must provide the landlord with notice of the problem.

The tenant needs to also fully document the infestation by photographing the mold infestation itself and documenting the date that the problem was noticed.

If the landlord fails to take action to remedy the mold situation, the tenant then has the right to end the lease agreement based upon what is known as a material breach by the landlord.

Landlords are responsible for maintaining their properties so, if toxic mold grows because the landlord fails to fix leaks from busted pipes, damaged roofs, faulty windows or door sealing, then the tenant can prove that the landlord failed to fix these problems and, as a result, suffered toxic mold exposure. Therefore, the tenant may be able to fight for financial compensation for their injuries.

When owners of mold-damaged buildings are unable or unwilling to correct a problem resulting in indoor mold growth, insurers, private contractors, non-governmental organizations - or possibly local units of government - may be able to assist.

A city or county may have housing codes that govern apartment rentals and the minimum maintenance requirements.

If a housing inspection program exists, tenants may file a complaint and request an inspection of their unit or the building.

If a local housing inspection program does not exist, or the housing code cannot be applied, then the tenant could try to file a complaint with the local city or county health department.

Tenants may also seek assistance from their local building code official, if there is one. The building official may inspect the unit to determine if it is structurally sound. They may also, in some cases, enforce maintenance provisions of the building code.
Rena Chisholm Profile
Rena Chisholm answered
Call your local Health Department Code Enforcement. Explain your problem and they will come out and check for violations.
This is a health code violation. It won't cost you a dime.

If they find your landlord in violation, and judging from your explanation, I believe they will, then they will give him a certain amount of time to fix the problem. If he does not fix it, then they will fine him heavily and can condemn the home.

If the Health Services Dept. Find violations, then get yourself an attorney.

The attorney can and will subpoena all reports from the Health Department code enforcement to prove your case against the landlord.

Mold is very toxic to humans and animals, and can cause serious health problems.
Gene gattuso Profile
Gene gattuso answered
It is the landlord's responsibility to remove the mold. Period.

Mold is an indication of moisture in and behind the walls. Get him to repair it or move out. Any problems, take pictures of it and go to small clams court.

If he is  a real pain in the you-know-what, Invite the health department over and - while you're at it - call the local television station over. Without realizing it, you have the power, not the landlord.
Molly Smithee Profile
Molly Smithee answered
Landlords are not, under law, considered liable when their tenants suffer from toxic mold, but other neglectful actions on their part that caused the mold may be taken into account - such as if the landlord failed to fix busted pipes, damaged roofs, faulty window and door sealing, etc. 

Here's a legal article on toxic mold and a landlord's responsibility that outlines the issue: 

Try to get as much information as you can that might link the toxic mold to a negligent action on the landlord's part.

Best of luck.
Gene gattuso Profile
Gene gattuso answered
The landlord has to take care of that problem quickly. If he is dragging his feet, l would start looking for another place, move out but do give him the keys. I would then call the health department about him, and be there to show them around when they come.

The landlord will wish over and over again after they get though with him that he had repaired your problem as soon as you reported it.

Now, here is the trick - all this has to be done on your paid rental month.
Barb Profile
Barb answered
You need to know how the mold got there. Was it there when you moved in? If yes, then the landlord needs to clean it.

Is it rising damp? If yes, then the landlord needs to fix it as it can make you sick.
Denise Knutter Profile
Denise Knutter answered
The respiratory problems are most likely the cause of the mold.

There are specialists listed in the yellow pages that will come to your place of residence, and test the air and analyze the different types of mold and how much is in the air that you are breathing.
They go from room to room, and take tests of the different types of mold and how high the mold count is.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Everyone says to contact the health department or code enforcer, what a joke.

The code enforcer told me the only way they would come out, is if my wall collapsed and the health department said it's not their jurisdiction(what the heck).

Here in Placer County, they couldn't care less, they won't even look at the pictures and cotton swabs that I took from my air duct.

I contacted an attorney but they won't take the case unless I have one of their professional guys come out to do the test - and they want between $375-$500 to do it.

Some of this mold is in my 16-month-old's room on the wall and carpet. His window has moisture all over it, and you can smell the mold, especially out next to his window where everybody's pets pissed and crapped.

My landlady is a slumlord and Riverstone Residential will only talk to me on the phone. When I show up, they are suddenly out of town (in Vegas).

So my advise to anyone is MOVE because no one seems to care about our health. They are there to pretend they care and just to collect a paycheck. It's time to move out of CA.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
The landlord is responsible to provide a clean and safe rental. If the mold got there after you moved in, then you'd better get busy removing it at your expense.  If it's there because of a defect in the rental, say water-leakage etc, then the landlord might be okay with removing it.  Why it's there plays a big role...
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I'm behind on my rent and I have mold in my house and my daughter is sick all the time. What type of attorney do I need to look for? Help please.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
We have just found large black slimy stuff in the bathroom drain. Before that, when we moved into this rental, we found and took pictures of the entire inside toilet tank covered with black mold.

We were told management would come by and scrub & clean the tank, but it never happened - we cleaned and scrubbed and bleached ourselves.

Now have found horrible black stuff in the bathroom sink drain and have been experiencing heavy mold smells from the kitchen drains. What to do?
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I have brought it to the apartment manager's attention that there is mold in our bathroom. They were to have fixed the problem but, instead, it looks as if they painted over it - and now it is back and seems worse.

The apartment manager also knows that the ventilation fan does not work properly. What should I do?
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I've told my landlord about our mold issues. And they keep putting it off. We spray it with bleach and it just comes back.

We don't have a lot of money, to just move out. The mold has been here for 4 years. It just comes back.
Will Martin Profile
Will Martin answered
Landlords do have a responsibility to do something to prevent and/ or get rid of mold, though tenants are often expected to clean it up themselves if they caused it, so you do
get disputes.

It's important to keep careful records of when the mold appears and any communication you have with the landlord about it.

This website gives a good overview of some possible actions you could take.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I have mould coming through my walls in my front room, hallway, kitchen and bathroom. Should my landlord be responsible?
Seattle  Inspector Profile
Your landlord is responsible - not for the mold, but for what is causing the mold. Have them correct the moisture issues and properly clean the mold. Most importantly document the process.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I have been advised by my doctor to move out of our apartment because we have mold in there.  It was caused by a leak in the roof, and has affected an entire wall in our apartment. 

I am pregnant.  What are our rights to break our lease? I need to move, but the apartment manager said it would cost 5000 to break the lease.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Removing mold can be a responsibility of the renter, or the landlord, or both. However, you should first inform the landlord about the mold and, if he doesn't respond, you can hire the services of a professional - but it is the duty of the landlord to hire the services of indoor air quality (IAQ) investigator.

If the landlord doesn't listen and act, then you should contact your public health unit.
holm_kerstin Profile
holm_kerstin answered
I live in California and California State laws provide us, the renters, with the opportunity to fix the problems ourselves and deduct the cost from our rent.

So, if your landlord is lagging on fixing your property, you still have options.

The Toxic Mold Prevention Act of 2001 (TMPA), established by the Department of Health Services (DHS), sets standards for mold levels in indoor air. The law also allows DHS to identify remediation standards for owners, contractors and landlords.

Mold growth is classified as a factor of inhabitable conditions and is required, by state law, to be taken care of by landlords according to Civil Code 1941.1, Green vs. Superior Court.

This includes having proper inspections done by licensed mold inspectors, and then having the mold removed from the property by qualified contractors.

As tenants, we have the right to hire inspectors ourselves to get this work done and take the cost out of the following month's rent.

However, you must give your landlord notice that you are having this work done, and give him/her a proper amount of time to fix the issue.
Sam Gray Profile
Sam Gray answered

I think, Your landlord is responsible - not for the mold, but for what is causing the mold. Have them correct the moisture issues and properly clean the mold. Most importantly document the process.

Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Are landlords only required to fix what is seen, or do they need to have walls checked - especially if there are current water stains - to see if it is throughout the house?
Jennie Lindon-Johnson Profile
It appears that the property is not properly ventilated, and could be suffering from damp. Get your landlord to check it out, he is responsible for any such repairs.

Then again, if you keep all the windows closed all the time, then this can cause condensation and it the bathroom isn't properly ventilated, all the moisture settles into the property and causes the mold.

The water drains outside can also cause this, and if the outside pipes are leaking into the brick, your landlord should have all this checked.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Our kitchen has flooded several times. The complex did very little to clean up the problem. Wood cabinets are starting to rot and I am sure there is mold under the tiles and behind major appliances.

Our lease along with a MOLD ADDENDUM is due to be signed. We cannot afford to leave at this time. We do not want to sign this mold addendum, are we required to? Can they choose not to accept our lease renewal if we refuse to sign this?

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