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Mold in Your Apartment: How to Handle It with Your Landlord

July 21, 2023

Have you found mold in your apartment? Contacting your landlord may be one of the first steps that comes to mind, but it’s important to understand your rights first.

Mold remediation and removal in an apartment may depend on several factors, including the type of apartment you live in, how old it is, the state you live in and local and state laws.

Taking the following actions may help you settle the issue quickly and with more confidence.

Steps to Take If You Find Mold in Your Apartment

1. Verify that what you’re seeing really is mold, and determine the possible sources.

Mold is a fungus that grows in the presence of moisture in warm, dark places. Signs of mold in your apartment include:

  • A persistent musty smell
  • Beige, black or green spots on any surface
  • Signs of water intrusion, such as peeling paint or discoloration

Additional signs include physical symptoms such as sneezing, trouble breathing, itchy eyes and skin rashes.

Causes or sources of mold in apartments include HVAC systems that haven’t been properly maintained and defective plumbing, as well as damp storage or laundry areas in basements, which can especially impact first-floor tenants.

Older apartment buildings also can have issues such as rainwater seeping through the roof or leaks from radiators.

2. Review your lease.

The next thing you should do is review your lease agreement to pinpoint your rights. The lease may or may not have a clause that addresses mold specifically, but there should be some language that discusses habitability and/or environmental hazards.

Even if you are willing to pay for mold removal yourself, you should review your lease. It’s possible that you’re not allowed to hire someone to fix the damage on your own.

3. Notify your landlord or property manager.

Tell your landlord about the mold you have found in your apartment. Make sure the manager assesses it in person, and you should be present at the time as well. Use email rather than the phone to communicate with the property manager so that you can document your communications. Take pictures of the mold and consider sending it as an attachment with the email for further documentation.

Apartment maintenance may very well get right on top of the issue and thoroughly address the problem, especially if it’s mostly cosmetic. In that case, the problem is solved relatively easily!

On the other hand, the mold may be extensive enough that it has damaged the walls, pipes or other structures, and that means additional action may be required.

4. Contact a mold removal company for an inspection.

Contact a qualified contractor to have your apartment inspected. With research to support your claims of mold infestation, the apartment maintenance team may be more inclined to take corrective action. You may also wish to have the mold professionally removed and then seek reimbursement later, depending on your legal rights.

5. Consider legal action.

You may need to contact an attorney or file a lawsuit in small claims court. Please consult with an attorney for further information about your legal rights, especially in terms of any money you may have spent or if you have been displaced from your home due to the repairs.

It's also important to contact an attorney in this situation because your rights may vary depending on the lease agreement and where you live. Each case would have to be handled based on the various factors and past precedents.

According to NOLO, there is no federal law covering a landlord’s responsibilities when it comes to mold.

Contact Us to Schedule a Mold Inspection

If you need a mold inspection or mold removal in your apartment, our team is here to help.

Mold can spread quickly and pose a health risk, so it’s important to take action sooner rather than later. Our Certified Mold Remediation Technicians use the most modern equipment to test for spores and provide full mold remediation, including professional deodorization and biological organic growth removal, if permittable and appropriate.

Email us through our website or call one of our offices to schedule an appointment.