Landlords have ethical and legal obligations to tenants to provide and maintain an environmentally safe, habitable living space. Those obligations include making sure that a rental unit is not mold-infested.
There is no practical way to eliminate all mold spores in an indoor environment. When moisture is available, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. Mold can grow on virtually any substance or surface where moisture is present. The way to control mold growth is to control moisture. When mold is discovered, one must first clean and dry the area, then remove the moisture source.
A leaking roof, leaking water pipes, inoperative bathroom or laundry room exhaust fans, windows that can't be opened, or a poorly maintained ventilation system can cause a mold problem and potentially result in a lawsuit. Therefore, landlords should take measures to prevent mold problems and respond quickly if problems arise.
Things landlords can do to minimize mold problems includes:
Landlords should put some responsibility for mold prevention onto tenants by (1) being sure that units are mold-free when turned over to tenants, (2) having adequate lease clauses regarding tenant responsibilities for preventing and reporting mold, and (3) including mold prevention education in move-in checklist procedures.
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