Mold can be a common problem in areas with high humidity or in homes that aren’t properly sealed against the elements. Any spot that lets in moisture is a potential entry point for mold, which can spread in walls, crawl spaces, attics and other areas with poor ventilation.
Even though medical experts don’t agree on the specifics of which molds cause which problems, there is general agreement that mold can cause a variety of health conditions. Some of them are serious, and that’s why mold awareness for landlords is important.
There’s no better time to learn about your responsibilities as a landlord to provide a safe, healthy, and mold-free dwelling for your tenants.
The laws and regulations for landlords regarding mold in their properties and tenant protection vary widely between cities and states. There is no federal law that sets allowable limits for mold in rental properties. The EPA website is a good place to start for state specific information.
It’s important to remember that, even without specific regulations, landlords can be, and have been, held liable for mold-related harm experienced by renters. This is due to the legal obligation of landlords to provide “habitable housing” to their tenants.
Before you buy an investment property, it’s important to have it thoroughly inspected, including for mold, especially if the property has been vacant for an extended period of time. Not all inspectors are mold certified, so make sure you hire a professional who has appropriate training.
An inspection is also important If you know of or suspect water damage in a property that you currently own. Greyhaven Realty Management is not mold certified, so be sure to hire someone who is when looking specifically for issues related to mold.
Mold prevention and remediation
The best way to tackle a mold problem is to prevent one from starting in the first place. To do that, be vigilant about moisture and humidity levels in your property. Here are some things you can do to prevent mold:
- Repair leaks quickly
- Seal windows, doors, roofs and siding to keep moisture out
- Keep indoor humidity low, at least below 60%
- Increase ventilation in high-humidity areas like bathrooms and kitchens
- Consider purchasing a dehumidifier
- Make sure all gutters and appliances (like AC units) drain properly
- Remove condensation from windows promptly
If the mold presence is minor, there are steps you can take to clean and repair the situation yourself.
- Repair all leaks to plumbing, the roof, windows or other entry points for moisture. Before you can clean mold, you need to stop the source of moisture and fully dry the affected area.
- Clean hard, non-porous surfaces with detergent (or bleach) and water.
- Soft materials and porous surfaces will most likely need to be discarded.
- Mold must be fully removed and the area dried before painting or caulking.
- Wear protective clothing including gloves, long sleeve shirts, long pants, and goggles.
- Wear an N-95 respirator to avoid breathing in mold spores while cleaning.
These mold awareness tips for landlords will help keep mold at bay, but if mold is extensive in your property, contact a professional to fully remediate the situation.