Your Home has Mold – Now What?

October 18, 2016 - 5 minutes read


What to do when something doesn’t smell right.

Imagine that you have just moved into a spacious, high rise apartment that is not only walking distance from your job, but provides a gorgeous view of an Arizona sunrise. As you wake up to your first morning in your new apartment, you are not only greeted by the gorgeous sunrise that was advertised to you, but a hefty, earthy stench that was not advertised to you. After a lengthy investigation, you discover the stench is originating from mold near the bathroom vent. The potent stench aside, mold can pose some serious health risks for yourself and those you choose to invite over. While it was relatively easy for our hypothetical tenant to find the mold in his or her hypothetical apartment, it might not be so obvious in the real world. It is important to know to look for mold before you can raise any warning flags. If it turns out you have mold, fear not; you do have possible remediesyou can turn to should you ever have the misfortune of coming across it in your apartment.

Thee first step towards dealing with a mold problem is confirming that you have one. This newspaper site provides some simple and helpful tips towards uncovering a smelly situation. One of the first things the article says to look for is some sort of discoloration in the structure of your apartment; such structures include, but are not limited to, drywall, plywood and flooring. As stated in the hypothetical story above, if you get a whiff of an earthy, musty scent, chances are you have some mold in your apartment. Besides the smell of mold, there are physical reactions you could experience that could tip you off to the presence of mold. Such physical reactions could be headaches, a tightening of your nose, or a form of irritation when you are in the presence of mold. While toxic molds require immediate action, other molds can cause some of the symptoms covered above.

So if you find mold, you would likely ask yourself what to do next? You’re not alone if you don’t know the answer to that.  Less than one percent of 40,000 parties of eviction proceedings in one city realized there were remedies available to them when an apartment was not up to habitability standards. Many states, like Arizona, have laws that layout what a landlord’s responsibility is for keeping residences livable and the remedies available to tenants when that responsibility is not met. Arizona law requires landlords to have rental properties in compliance with applicable building codes to meet an “implied warranty of habitability.”  This warranty provides that a rental home or apartment must be a safe and livable one. If you feel that the landlord is not complying with this warranty, you can deliver a written notice that states that he or she has 5 days, within receipt of the notice, to remedy the health or safety hazard, or the landlord will be in breach of the lease. You, the tenant, also have the option of recovering damages or requiring the landlord to take action due to the breach.

While the discovery of mold in an apartment is never the most pleasant experience, it need not be a catastrophic one for you either. Just remember this check list and carefully take the next steps should you ever find yourself in an unfortunate situation like this. If you suspect that your apartment or rental home is not meeting the implied warranty of habitability, feel free to reach out to the Law Offices of Michael Cordova to see what we can do to help.