When you have just moved into a new rental home or discover that mold is growing in areas of one where you've been living, you need to act quickly to remove the threat of mold. Mold growth is not only damaging to the property where you live, it poses a severe health hazard that can affect your family for years to come. Though visible mold near damp areas is a problem, invisible mold can be an even bigger issue, penetrating unseen surfaces and spreading to your furnishings, upholstery, and personal belongings. Mold spores can linger in your belongings long after you leave the rental home, so before you take what's left with you to a new location, there are a few things you should do to combat the problem.
Notify Your Landlord
Notifying your landlord is the first thing you should do, as he or she actually may have a legal obligation to remove the problem without charging you or holding you responsible. If you've just moved into a home and the landlord did not disclose to you the problem, you need to address the issue immediately to remove the threat of ongoing health problems. Though your landlord may not have been aware of the growth, they are in almost all states required to maintain a fit and habitable housing condition. Federal housing laws don't mandate mold, and only some states do, so if you've discovered the growth in your rental home, you need to call attention to the problem before you suffer health issues as a result.
Keep Away Moisture
Until you can completely remove the mold contamination in your rental home, you need to make an effort to reduce moisture levels. Using a dehumidifier, wiping down wet surfaces with a disinfectant and then drying them, and keeping a steady flow of circulating air in the house can help reduce further mold growth. Circulate dry, warm air with fans, open windows, use exhaust fans, and insulate cold water surfaces. You should also make an attempt to clean water spills and leaks as soon as they're discovered.
Hire An Inspector
Hiring a professional mold inspector is the most necessary step in understanding and treating the mold situation in your rental, though it will cost YOU up front. As a tenant, you may not have legal recourse until it's determined that you have a significant growth problem, or have suffered as a result of toxic mold growth. So professional mold inspection may be the only option you have to avoid breaking a lease or incurring health problems.
Upon an initial visit, an inspector will thoroughly inspect both visible and hidden areas of your home, taking samples that will be lab-analyzed to determine where latent growth is suspected. If there is a positive identification of mold growth upon inspection or subsequent analysis, professional removal and remediation may be required. Though some cases may require the most minimal treatment, like disinfecting and removing mold-infected materials, some may require ongoing treatments, quarantining of belongings, and material removal to completely remedy the problem. If it's determined by a professional that you have an extensive problem that was existing or not caused by your habitation, a landlord then has the responsibility of remedying the problem at no cost to you.