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Mold in Rentals

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Mold can be found almost anywhere, from attics and basements, to bathrooms, carpets, wall paneling, ceiling tiles, etc. Molds can be black, white, green, or even gray. Some are powdery, while others are fairly shiny.

Some molds are harmless, yet others pose serious health risks to you and your loved ones. But since it is often hard for a novice to tell the difference between a harmless and a harmful mold, all molds you come across should be treated as harmful and dealt with in a timely manner.

But if you live in an apartment or rental home, is it your responsibility to have the mold removed?

For the most part, landlord responsibilities regarding mold are not clearly defined in building codes, ordinances, statutes, or regulations. Some states (Maryland is one of them) and cities do have specific mold laws, explaining how landlords can be held responsible for mold problems. These laws include:

Federal Law. No federal law sets permissible exposure limits or building tolerance standards for mold.

State Laws. California, Texas, New Jersey, Indiana, and Maryland have all passed laws aimed at developing guidelines and regulations for mold in indoor air.

For example, California’s “Toxic Mold Protection Act of 2001″ authorizes the state’s Department of Health Services (DHS) to set permissible levels of indoor mold exposure for sensitive populations (like children, or people with compromised immune systems or respiratory problems). The California law also allows DHS to develop identification and remediation standards for contractors, owners, and landlords and requires landlords to disclose to current and prospective tenants the presence of any known or suspected mold. To date, the DHS has not published its findings.

Local Laws. A few cities have enacted ordinances related to mold. For example:

•      New York City. Landlords in New York City must follow Department of Health guidelines for indoor air quality.

•      San Francisco. In San Francisco, mold is considered a legal nuisance, putting it into the same category as trash accumulation or an infestation of vermin. Tenants (and local health inspectors) can sue landlords under private and public nuisance laws if they fail to clean up serious problems.

If you have found mold in your apartment or rental and you are protected by any of the laws above, it may be time to contact your landlord.

If you have any questions, contact Atlantic Environmental Solutions by calling 877-296-665 or click here today!

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