Landlords have a responsibility to ensure their properties are safe and livable for their tenants. And without routine maintenance, many problems can arise. One of the most dangerous and common problems in rental properties is mold growth. Both the tenants and the landlord need to ensure that the property is kept clean and mold-free.
The dangers of mold
Several different types of mold exist. Some may cause health problems while others won’t. For the molds that do cause health problems, like black mold, common side effects can include coughing, throat irritation, difficulty breathing, skin and eye irritation, lung infections, upper respiratory infections, and other serious health conditions. These symptoms are more commonly seen in those who already have health concerns, such as asthma. Even if health problems aren’t caused, mold still significantly reduces the air quality inside a home. If any type of mold is found, it needs to be removed immediately.
Important steps for landlords to take
Tenants can do many things to prevent mold growth and keep the house in good shape. Cleaning water spills, using exhaust fans, and reporting leaks are all important steps tenants should take to prevent mold growth. Landlords should consider using a tenant screening software to ensure they choose tenants with good references and those who are most likely to take care of the property.
But landlords also have a big role to play in preventing mold growth. One of the best places to start is with ventilation. A rental home should have plenty of ventilation, including exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms. Additionally, the vents for the clothes dryer should push the hot air outside of the house. If a house doesn’t have enough ventilation, warm air can get trapped inside and lead to mold growth.
Another common problem that can result in mold is humidity. The humidity levels in a house should be as low as possible. Mold thrives in damp and humid areas, so landlords should invest in a dehumidifier for the house. The dehumidifier can be placed in the basement, which is usually the dampest area of a house. It’s important for someone, whether it’s the landlord or a tenant, to regularly check the dehumidifer and empty it as needed.
The amount of insulation in a home can also play a role in mold growth. If there isn’t enough insulation, condensation can form on cold surfaces. And if condensation isn’t wiped away, the damp surface can become a breeding ground for mold. Ensuring there is enough insulation around pipes, roofs, floors, and windows can help prevent condensation and, therefore, mold.
If a flood occurs in a home, it’s crucial to make sure the water is cleared out as quickly as possible. And after that, any surfaces that were affected by the flood need to be dried and cleaned. This typically means flooring and walls — depending on the amount of water and how long it was left sitting, surfaces may need to be replaced. This is especially true for surfaces like carpet, which can hold moisture longer. Landlords will need to replace flooring or walls as needed after a flood occurs.
Landlords should always look for warning signs of mold and keep communication about mold concerns open with their tenants. In between tenants, landlords should do a thorough inspection of the property to look for mold — and take care of it if they find any. Fixing leaks, doing repairs after floods, and replacing insulation as needed are all important steps that landlords should take to prevent mold growth in their rental properties.