Found mold in your rental home/apartment? Here’s what you should know.
While not all types of mold are harmful, under Florida statutes, landlords are required to comply with local building, safety and health codes, and so if the mold on its own is not causing a violation of the building or health or safety code, then the landlord is not required to correct it.
However, tenants have certain rights when it comes to visible mold in rental properties. Here are some of the key points to keep in mind:
Landlord obligations: Landlords are responsible for providing safe and habitable housing for their tenants. This includes addressing mold problems that are caused by water leaks or other issues within the property.
Tenant responsibilities: Tenants are responsible for keeping the property clean and reporting any maintenance issues or signs of mold growth to the landlord in a timely manner.
📸Document the problem. Take pictures of the mold, and write down the date and time you first noticed it. You should also keep a copy of any correspondence with your landlord about the mold.
🧑⚖️Know your rights. In most states, tenants have the right to a habitable living space, which means that your rental home must be free from mold and other health hazards. You can find more information about your rights as a tenant in your state by contacting your local housing authority.
🗣️Talk to your landlord. Let your landlord know about the mold as soon as possible. They are legally required to fix the problem within a reasonable amount of time. If your landlord does not take action, you may need to file a complaint with your local housing authority.
⚖️Be prepared to negotiate. If your landlord is not willing to fix the mold problem, you may need to be prepared to negotiate with them. You may be able to get them to pay for the cost of mold remediation, or you may be able to break your lease and move out of the rental property.
😷Protect your health. If you are exposed to mold, it is important to protect your health. You can do this by wearing a mask when you are in the moldy area, and by opening windows and doors to ventilate the space. If you have allergies or respiratory problems, you may also want to consider moving out of the rental property until the mold problem is fixed.
🔎Get professional help. If the mold problem is severe, you may need to hire a professional mold remediation company to remove the mold. This is especially important if you have children or pets, or if you have health problems that make you more susceptible to mold exposure.
🤞Don’t give up. If you are dealing with a mold problem in your rental property, don’t give up. Keep documenting the problem, and keep talking to your landlord. You have the right to a safe and healthy living space.
Notice to landlord: If a tenant notices visible mold in the rental property, they should notify the landlord in writing as soon as possible. The notice should include a description of the problem, the location of the mold, and any health symptoms that have been experienced as a result of the mold. They can independently contact Bio Pro Mold Assessment for testing to provide proof to Landlord of the type and severity of mold.
Landlord response: Once the landlord has been notified of the mold problem, they are responsible for taking prompt action to address the issue.
Under Florida landlord-tenant laws, mold resulting from a tenant’s carelessness qualifies as excessive property damage. This means that the landlord will be able to deduct the cleaning costs from the security deposit when they move out.
Just like any other damage beyond ordinary wear and tear, the landlord must notify their tenants of the mold damage costs within thirty days after the tenants move out. If tenants object to the damage, then the land lord may try the legal recourse.
Tenant rights: If a landlord fails to address a mold problem in a timely manner, tenants may have legal rights to withhold rent, make repairs and deduct the cost from the rent, or terminate the lease and move out. Tenants may also have the right to file a complaint with local housing authorities.
There is currently no federal law covering a landlord’s responsibilities when it comes to mold. Also, Florida doesn’t have any laws that specifically address a landlord’s duties or liability when it comes to mold prevention and remediation.
If you decide withholding rent, do the following:
- Provide proof of a health, safety or building code violation. Code enforcement can issue a fine against a landlord if inspectors find a violation and it is not corrected.
- Tenant must provide notice to the landlord.
- Notice needs to advise the landlord that if repairs are not made within seven days, they will exercise the right to withhold rent or terminate the lease.
- Notice should be in writing, mailed or hand-delivered to the landlord.
While lead paint disclosures are required from a landlord, there are no regulations or statutes that require a similar disclosure when it comes to mold contamination.
Please note that, as a landlord, you need to disclose any mold issues to prospective tenants if you decide to list the property available.
It’s important for both landlords and tenants to take mold growth seriously, as it can pose a risk to the health and safety of occupants and cause damage to the property. If you are a tenant and notice visible mold in your rental property, it’s important to notify your landlord in writing and seek legal advice if necessary. Contact Bio Pro Mold Assessment for testing to provide piece of mind to Landlord and tenants.