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What Do I Do If My Rental Has Mold?

Mold Inspector Hard at WorkAh, the pungent scent of mold–signifying a huge problem. Common sense says you do not want ANY mold inhabiting your rental, period. Although there are various kinds, brown, green and every color in between–and then there’s the dreaded dark green and black toxic stuff, they are all a problem that needs to be dealt with ASAP.

So what do you do if you suspect your rental has a mold problem? Having mold in a rental home creates potential health problems. But first, you need to know what among the 100,000 types of fungi to look for before you hit the panic button.

Where the Mold Grows

Mold on the StairsThe first thing you need to know is where mold might occur. Mold grows in a number of places, including “water-soaked materials, such as wall paneling, paint, fabric, ceiling tiles, newspapers, or cardboard boxes.” Humidity is a prime breeding ground for the different types of fungi known to attach and annoy your lungs–if it’s the type that actually causes trouble. Also, before you think all molds are equal, think again. Mold is kind of inauspicious. Some molds look and smell disgusting, while others are barely seen — hidden between walls, under floors and ceilings, or in less accessible spots, such as basements and attics.

When to Call Your Landlord or Property Manager

Resident Pointing Out a Mold Problem to the LandlordBelieve it or not, your eyeballs and nostrils are by far the best way to detect whether or not you have mold. If you can see it or smell it, chances are you have the bad kind. That’s also the time to call your landlord and have them remove the nasty fungus. Of course, if it’s dark green or black in color–indicating possible toxic mold–or if you just don’t know what kind of mold it is, then your landlord should probably call an expert, who will treat and remove it through a process called mold remediation.

In most cases, it probably isn’t wise to remove mold yourself, because doing so might cause a major uh-oh and disturb mold colonies and release spores that can go on to contaminate other areas of your home. That is definitely a problem you don’t want, right?

Mold can definitely be a problem for everyone—the property owner, the tenant, and the property manager. Working together is the best course of action but the overall goal is the get it taken care of as fast as possible.

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