What can I do as a tenant?
Generally, the landlord is responsible for repairing moisture problems and cleaning up mold, unless it is a minor issue related to the tenant’s behavior. Tenants should look at their own behaviors to determine whether they may contribute to the moisture problem that is causing mold.
Here are some tips:
- Always use bathroom fans during and after bathing/showering.
- Avoid spilling liquids on carpet. If this occurs, quickly dry carpets. If carpets stay wet, notify the landlord.
- Don’t run the shower to humidify your home.
- Avoid using humidifiers unless there is a medical reason to use one.
- Ensure good air environment in your home to prevent condensation on cold surfaces.
- Open windows when possible.
- Don’t block supply and return registers with furniture.
- Keep a few inches of space between furniture and walls.
- Don’t let parts of your home get very cold, such as closets against exterior walls.
- Watch what you put down drains to avoid clogging and overflows.
- Tenants should promptly notify their landlord when they find a moisture problem or mold growth.
Common moisture problems include pipe leaks, roof leaks, sewage back-ups, and overflowing toilets, sinks, and bathtubs. A verbal communication should be followed up with a letter to avoid misunderstandings. The tenant should keep a copy of this letter, for possible use in future legal proceedings. A timely response is in the interest of both the tenant and the landlord because delays may result in greater costs to clean and repair. The landlord is responsible for repairing moisture problems and cleaning up mold in most cases. When moisture problems or mold growth do occur, it is critical to that the tenant quickly reports the problem to the landlord. Tenants who feel that their landlord has failed to maintain their rental unit in good repair must notify the landlord in writing and request that repairs are made within 14 days or sooner. The tenant should keep a copy of this letter. If the landlord fails to make the requested repairs 14 days after the tenant’s letter was sent or following an inspector’s deadline, the tenant can take legal action. The tenant should try to document the problem, where applicable, with letters, photographs, evidence of health problems, orders from local inspectors, and any other documentation that would help the case.