Who Is Responsible for Removing Black Mold in Your Apartment?
Mold and dampness are often a source of disagreement between landlords and renters in rental properties. Despite the uncertainty about who is responsible for the management and repair of damp and black mold problems in residential properties, the two concerns are not interchangeable in residential property terms.
In truth, property law spells out both the landlord’s and tenant’s responsibilities in relation to each other. Both concerns will be explained regarding the Rental Housing Act and the lease agreement to avoid further confusion.
The Rental Housing Act
According to the Rental Housing Act (RHA), the landlord is responsible for providing the tenant with a safe and adequate living environment. This refers to protection from the weather and other hazards to the tenants, their households, or guests’ health.
The landlord is responsible for maintaining the dwelling’s existing structure (which includes the walls, roof, electrical, and plumbing systems) and repairing damage caused by normal wear and tear. Rising or penetrating dampness, on the other hand, is a landlord’s responsibility because it affects the existing structure of the dwelling and creates a health risk for the tenants.
On the other hand, the RHA stipulates that it is the tenant’s responsibility to notify the landlord in writing of any maintenance or repair work to the property’s structure as soon as reasonably possible. If he or she fails to do so in time, allowing the situation to linger and develop, the landlord has the right to claim damages from the tenant for the resulting repairs.
The RHA goes on to say that the renter is responsible for keeping the property clean, tidy, and safe, as well as for properly using all electrical, sewage, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities. Tenants should avoid causing damage to the property, either purposefully or negligently.
Before the lease period ends, the tenant is responsible for maintaining, replacing, or repairing fixtures and fittings such as globes, handles, locks, and other similar items in order to return the property to the landlord in the same condition as when it was received.
This means that the presence and development of mold in a rental property (due to moisture, poor ventilation, and poor cleaning/wiping of surfaces) is the tenant’s duty, and tenants are legally obligated to address the problem as soon as possible.
Mold Clauses in Leases
Some landlords insert clauses in their leases that intend to relieve them of any mold-related liabilities. At least one court (in Tennessee) has ruled that enforcing such a clause would be contrary to public policy. As a mold lawsuit progresses through the courts, other cases from other parts of the country are likely to emerge. In some places, landlords are required to tell renters about the mold in their property.
A wise landlord would try to avoid the conditions that encourage mold growth, and tenants should be a partner in this effort. We hope this article has helped you understand the Rental Housing Act when it comes to mold.
Contact the mold remediation pros for certified black mold removal service in apartments, homes and commercial properties.