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Mold In A Rental Property – Who Is Responsible?

Mold in a rental property

Mold in a rental property constitutes both health and environmental hazard risks. As such, landlords and tenants dread its presence in a property. Mold growth in a rental property in Pembroke Pines can render it unfit for habitation by tenants. When this happens, the landlord may lose rental income.

Various types of molds exist in different shapes and colors. Some may be green, black, gray, or white. However, they all have a distinctive smell you cannot miss. Most times, you may find molds in materials that had exposure to water damage. This is common, given the humid climate in South Florida.

Water damage provides a suitable environment for molds to thrive. The substrate for mold growth may be ceilings, walls, paints, boxes, tiles, fabrics, or newspapers. Molds are capable of surviving in any climatic condition once there is water damage. However, they are more common in humid climates than in dry weather especially in South Florida.

Sometimes, you may notice them with your bare eyes. But they can easily be missed because they grow, hidden under ceilings or floors or behind walls. Or in less accessible areas like attics, crawlspaces, and basements.

Molds can cause several health issues for tenants when they grow in a rental property. Such health challenges may be allergies, asthma, rashes and respiratory diseases. Because of this, many landlords face legal issues, and some lose millions of dollars. For these reasons, landlords need to understand their responsibilities and prevent molds in their investment properties.

Legal responsibilities of landlords following mold exposure

Most building regulations, codes or ordinances do not clearly state the responsibilities of landlords regarding the presence of molds. However, landlords are still liable for mold issues.

If you need local mold-related rules, you can contact your Miramar or Pembroke Pines City department. Also, you can obtain laws and regulations concerning molds in your state from your state department of public health or state department of environmental protection.

Landlord’s obligations to maintain a habitable rental property

Landlords may be liable for mold exposure in a rental property even when there is no specific laws for molds. That is because the landlord must provide a safe and habitable rental property. Other places may give the renters an option of withholding the rent in situations where the landlord fails to handle the mold growth in the rental property.

Molds in a rental property caused by tenants

Sometimes, the presence of molds in a rental property may be due to the tenant’s behavior or negligence. For instance, renters may do things that encourage mold growth, such as keeping the property dirty, shutting all windows and doors, failing to report suspected mold growth, creating high indoor humidity, etc.

Here, the landlord is not liable. That is because renters also have their duties when it comes to maintaining their rental apartment. Tenants should engage in good housekeeping practices such as cleanliness and proper ventilation to help prevent mold growth.

Molds in a rental property because of the landlord’s negligence

Landlords are responsible for fixing every maintenance issue such as faulty windows, leaky roofs, foundation seepage, and leaky pipes, these are common causes of water damage and mold growth.

Where landlords fail to perform these duties, renters can hold them responsible. Tenants may even sue the landlords for health challenges resulting from mold exposures.

Including mold clauses in leased agreements

Sometimes, landlords may include mold clauses in the lease stating that they are not liable for mold exposure or using that as a  reason to terminate a lease. Here are RPM Premier, we include a separate addendum  to the Lease Agreement

The bottom line

Landlords and tenants should always strive to prevent situations that encourage mold growth. We recommend that tenants partner with their landlords to achieve this goal. Tenants can prevent molds by ventilating the house, maintaining a clean apartment, and reporting problems that need urgent attention to the landlord. Also, landlords should respond swiftly and conduct routine maintenance on their foundation roof, windows, floors, and plumbing.

Get in touch with Real Property Management Premier to find out how we can help solve mold problems in your rental property in South Florida. We have a number of experienced and certified contractors on hand to fix most mold related problems in properties across South Florida. Contact us online or call 954-800-4433 and ask our experienced property managers about our FREE market analysis.

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We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

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