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Rental Apartment or Home Mold Action Advice:
This document discusses the steps that a tenant in a rental apartment or rental home can take to look for and test for
mold, how to inform building management of a mold problem, what to expect the rental property managers to do if they
are going to address a mold problem properly, and what the rental apartment tenant needs to watch out for during
a mold investigation and mold remediation of their home.
An easy-to-print PDF version of this article is here.
On-site inspection is important: Keep in mind that anyone whose opinion you seek by telephone, email, or web "prospecting", even if s/he is very competent, is distant and can't see all of the site conditions. Therefore such advice can only be general, and we must keep in mind that there could be, in fact probably are, important observations that might change the assessment of an individual
situation as well as the advice on steps to take.
How to Determine If Health, Mold Related Illness, Asthma, or other Complaints Appear to be Building Related
Building-related illness symptoms often stop or diminish quickly when the suffering person leaves that location. A simple subjective test which you have applied is the observation that you suffer health complaints soon on entry to the building and they stop when you've been out of the building.
Contents may be contaminated from a prior residence: Of course if someone's apartment contents were mold-contaminated
from a previous residence those complaints could still occur, so it's important to rule out that chance by recalling what reactions
you had to your previous home.
Mold related illness symptoms don't always stop right away: Finally, while some building-related or building-aggravated health complaints diminish or stop entirely on leaving that environment, other complaints may be slow to appear and also slow to diminish even after leaving the problem environment.
Exposure to irritants indoors can increase individual sensitivity: In fact high exposure to some materials such as allergens or mold can increase sensitivity to those particles in some individuals, making them later react to even low levels of such particles in a new environment.
What is the Landlord Going to Do About Mold?
Next in this article we discuss how the tenant can decide if they're comfortable with what a building owner or manager proposes to do about a mold problem in their rental space.
Questions & Answers about wet moldy furniture & bedding in a moldy apartment or rental home - who pays?
Question: who pays for my ruined mattress?
I was wondering, if my mattress is ruined in the moldy apartment, do my landlords have to replace it? - Kait
Reply: It depends ...
I agree that it's unlikely a moldy mattress can be cleaned adequately, and that usually it's replaced as part of mold remediation.
If there is argument about it's inclusion in the mold cleanup job that problem may rest with the original mold remediation plan prepared by (we hope) an independent expert who had no conflicts of interest in the job.
That is to say, a competent mold investigator who draws up a mold cleanup plan, as well as many insurance investigators will include mattersses, wall to wall carpeting, and upholstered furniture that has been soaked and/or is moldy as items to be disposed-of because those items can't be reliably nor economically cleaned.
Beyond those OPINIONS, I'm sorry to say the matter is a legal question - not our expertise, but if I were technical-advising an attorney on a matter like this I'd argue that if the moldy or smelly mattress is traced to a leak or mold problem that was covered by a specific party, then the mattress should be part of that job.
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Kansas State University, department of plant pathology, extension plant pathology web page on wheat rust fungus: see http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/path-ext/factSheets/Wheat/Wheat%20Leaf%20Rust.asp
"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home",
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency US EPA - includes basic advice for building owners, occupants, and mold cleanup operations. See http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.htm
US EPA - Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Building [Copy on file at /sickhouse/EPA_Mold_Remediation_in_Schools.pdf ] - US EPA
US EPA - Una Breva Guia a Moho - Hongo [Copy on file as /sickhouse/EPA_Moho_Guia_sp.pdf - en Espanol
Allergies, Allergens, Allergy Testing in Buildings - References & Products
Allergen Tests in Buildings advice about how to test, what to look for, in evaluating the level of dog, cat, or other animal allergens in a building
"IgG Food Allergy Testing by ELISA/EIA, What do they really tell us?" Sheryl B. Miller, MT (ASCP), PhD, Clinical Laboratory Director, Bastyr University Natural Health Clinic - ELISA testing accuracy: Here is an example of Miller's critique of ELISA
http://www.betterhealthusa.com/public/282.cfm - Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients
The critique included in that article raises compelling questions about IgG testing assays, which prompts our interest in actually screening for the presence of high levels of particles that could carry allergens - dog dander or cat dander in the case at hand.
http://www.tldp.com/issue/174/IgG%20Food%20Allergy.html contains similar criticism in another venue but interestingly by the same author, Sheryl Miller. Sheryl Miller, MT (ASCP), PhD, is an Immunologist and Associate Professor of Basic and Medical Sciences at Bastyr University in Bothell, Washington. She is also the Laboratory Director of the Bastyr Natural Health Clinic Laboratory.
Allergens: Testing for the level of exposure to animal allergens is discussed at http://www.animalhealthchannel.com/animalallergy/diagnosis.shtml (lab animal exposure study is interesting because it involves a higher exposure level in some cases
Allergens: WebMD discusses allergy tests for humans at webmd.com/allergies/allergy-tests
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The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
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