Watch Out For Mold This Summer
According to Nolo.com mold is becoming a growing concern for landlords and tenants around the country. In fact, tenants have won multimillion dollar lawsuits against landlords due to health problems caused by mold. These tenants claimed to have been exposed to toxic mold which can cause rashes chronic fatigue, nausea, cognitive loss, hemorrhaging and asthma. As a landlord, it is important to be able to teach tenants to prevent, identify and notify you of mold so that you can remove it in a timely matter.
Mold can be several colors including black, white, green or grey. Some mold is powdery and others can be shiny. Mold generally grows on water soaked materials including wall paneling, paint, fabric newspaper and ceilings. Mold also thrives in humidity which makes rental buildings in Texas, California and the Southern United States particularly at risk for developing major mold issues.
There are currently no federal mold standard laws for residential buildings. A handful of states including California, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, and Texas have passed laws regarding mold and indoor air quality. In addition, several cities have also enacted ordinances that deal with mold issues. For example, in New York City landlords must follow the Department of Health guidelines when it comes to air quality. In San Francisco mold is considered a legal nuisance like trash accumulation and therefore tenants can sue landlords if they fail to clean up mold. It is important to note that even if your state or city doesn’t have specific mold or air quality laws as a landlord you have a duty to maintain habitable premises. Therefore, failure to make mold related repairs could lead renters to withhold rent under state laws. However if mold is caused by tenant behavior and the landlord can prove it then the tenant would be responsible for removing the mold.It is important that as a landlord you fix any issues that may be the cause of mold growth such as a pipe leak or roof damage. Make sure you document in your property management system any mold related repairs or routine property checks you make. Documenting in your Software for Property Management when you made repairs, fixed leaks, notified tenants about looking out for mold and when you removed mold from one of your rental properties can protect you against certain tenant lawsuits if you need to prove these actions in court. This post is provided by RISSOFT Residential and Commercial Property Management Software, specializing in innovative and cutting-edge property management software for all 50 states. Request a demo or contact us today to receive more information. Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.
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