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.
|Landlords don’t have to test for mold. Visible mold growth qualifies a property as substandard under California housing law.
|Landlords must begin containment within 96 hours of receiving notice about mold. This includes installation of a filtration device.
|Leaks or inadequate drainage, which may contribute to visible mold growth, are an imminently dangerous condition.
|It is a health code violation to allow “standing water or excessive moisture, which may result in visible mold growth.”
|Landlords must prevent mold growth, fix mold issues, and disclose past mold issues to current and prospective tenants.
|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:
- Forcing compliance via court order
- Suing the landlord for costs of the violation (monetary damages)
- Reporting the landlord to housing authorities
- Ending the lease and moving out (for major violations)