Are Landlords Responsible for Mold?

Last Updated: September 7, 2023 by Roberto Valenzuela

Landlords must almost always address mold issues the tenant didn’t cause. Tenants must fix mold problems that their deliberate or irresponsible actions create. Most mold issues fall under rules requiring general cleanliness on rental property.

States With Specific Mold Statutes

Six states have statutory housing requirements related to mold. These sometimes add responsibilities beyond the basic duty to address mold as a health and safety hazard.

State Statutory Requirement(s)
California Landlords don’t have to test for mold. Visible mold growth qualifies a property as substandard under California housing law.
Colorado Landlords must begin containment within 96 hours of receiving notice about mold. This includes installation of a filtration device.
North Carolina Leaks or inadequate drainage, which may contribute to visible mold growth, are an imminently dangerous condition.
Vermont It is a health code violation to allow “standing water or excessive moisture, which may result in visible mold growth.”
Virginia Landlords must prevent mold growth, fix mold issues, and disclose past mold issues to current and prospective tenants.
Washington Landlords must provide approved information to tenants about reducing mold hazards. They also must fix mold issues that weren’t caused by the tenant’s lack of ordinary care.

Many local codes provide standards for mold issues, even when the state law is silent.

States Without Specific Mold Statutes

Most states lack specific statutes addressing mold issues. Such states make fixing mold part of a landlord’s basic duties for health and safety. However, there’s not usually any requirement for a landlord to disclose past mold issues which aren’t causing current problems.

Since mold has a serious impact on tenant health, landlords must promptly fix mold issues the tenant didn’t cause. Landlords generally can make tenants address mold they caused, if the problem doesn’t threaten other units on the property.

Consequences for Failure To Fix Mold Issues

Landlord failure to fix mold issues as required is a serious housing violation. State laws vary widely, but if a landlord doesn’t clear mold after proper notice from the tenant, a tenant can often stop rent payments and/or move to alternative accommodation.

The following remedies often are also available:

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