Apartment buildings may look crisp outside but individual rental apartments may be discovered by their tenants to have suffered leak damage and extensive hidden mold - here we give some basic advice Tenant Mold Tests & Tenant's Notice to Landlord of Moldy Apartment, Home, Office

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This document discusses the steps that a tenant in a rental apartment or rental home can take to deal with an actual or suspected mold problem and we discuss how to notify building management of a mold problem.

If you are not certain of the presence of unsafe conditions in the rental apartment, your letter should state your observations, complaints, concerns, and ask the building management to bring in the appropriate professional to inspect, diagnose, and if needed, specify what repairs, cleaning, or remediation are needed.

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What a tenant can do about a moldy apartment

Semonitis sp brown slime mold or pipecleaner mold (C) D Friedman

1. Notify building management in writing: You should notify building management in writing of unhealthy unsafe conditions that need attention and that you are unable to live in the apartment.

Most building maintenance employees lack the training to recognize mold, conduct appropriate mold inspection and testing, diagnose the extent and causes of problem mold, and evaluate the risk of mold to rental tenants, nor specify the mold remediation procedures necessary.

2. Simple mold testing: You might be successful in identifying some of the mold suspect material you see as problematic, and you might collect a settled dust sample to see you can pick up indications of other problem molds or allergens.

Mold tests do not measure mold exposure: However identifying mold in an apartment, while it may convince building management to act, does not and cannot establish the level of exposure that an individual has had to the mold found, nor does it assure that the mold identified is the only or even the main hazard.

The prime use of tenant sampling in this case is to show management that there is at least some evidence of problem mold in the building

Our MOLD TEST KITS web page contains sampling instructions you can follow. I'm on assignment out of the U.S. and won't be processing any lab samples until after 9/10 so if you are in a rush you should use another lab but you can still follow our sampling procedures.

3. If building mangement responds: If building management elects to make some effort to deal with the problem:

3.a. Proper dust control: be sure that the work does not create demolition debris and mess which contaminates or further contaminates your belongings, especially soft goods like curtains, carpets, bedcovers, which may then require cleaning, and worse, upholstered furniture which might not be able to be cleaned adequately.

3.b. Possible contents cleaning: if your possessions are already likely to be contaminated with moldy dust they should be cleaned before taking them to a new home; soft goods can be laundered or dry cleaned; hard surfaces can simply be washed or wiped.

Moldy upholstered furniture is in question depending on how bad it is; surface dust can be vacuumed off of it; if upholstered furniture has been wet or has had mold growing on or in it is probably not salvageable without complete reupholstering from the frame up.

Moldy apartment (C) Daniel Friedman

4. If building management will not respond to a tenant's mold complaint: be sure that your mold complaint is reasonable. Getting excited because of a few square inches of mold on bathroom tile grout is often not justified - unless there is evidence of leaks inside the bathroom walls, ceilings, floors. But seeing thirty square feet of contiguous moldy surfaces in your home or apartment is in most cases adequate reason to require professional inspection, preparation of a cleanup and leak repair plan, and professional cleaning.

We do not advise getting into an argument or legal dispute if it can possibly be avoided. The costs in time and money are large and possibly worse, if the environment is actually one that is unsafe, spending months arguing is a distraction from the need to decide on and take prompt action to protect the building occupants.


Continue reading at TENANT LANDLORD MOLD DISPUTE or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

MOLD: A COMPLETE GUIDE to TEST CLEAN PREVENT - home page for reading about how to clean up or remove mold and how to prevent its growth in buildings

Or see these

Rental Unit & Tenants Guide to Mold & Indoor Environmental Hazards

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TENANT HELP for MOLDY RENTAL at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.


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