What Should You Know About Mold in Apartments?
Homeowners and business owners are not the only people who have mold issues. It is not uncommon for a renter or tenant to discover they have mold in their rental home or apartment.
The problem with mold being found in a rental property is determining who is responsible for remediation, which can lead to conflict between landlord and tenant.
If you are a tenant…
Before signing your name on the dotted line of the lease, you always do a walk through to take note of the condition of the dwelling; you look for doors and drawers to work properly, the condition of the flooring and the walls and you check to make sure all appliances are in good working order.
One thing you may not have considered looking for is mold growth, check for:
- Musty odors and where it seems they are originating from
- Evidence of water damage, such as stains in the carpets, the walls or ceilings.
- Discolored laminate on the floors that are near sinks, dishwashers, clothes washers and other plumbing
If mold is found before you sign a contract and move in, the mold cleanup would be the responsibility of the landlord. It would be my recommendation to have it remediated before you move in to avoid any health issues that the mold may cause.
Once you have determined that your future home is free from mold, and you have moved in, your responsibility begins.
It’s up to you to:
- Notify your landlord immediately once you have discovered a water leak.
- Because mold spores are always in the air, keeping your home clean and vacuumed will help remove spores that are waiting for moist humid conditions to begin growing and spreading.
- Allow fresh air to circulate by opening windows whenever possible.
- If you have had a leak or water damage, make sure that all organic materials, clothing, bedding or carpets are dried as quickly as possible.
- Mold begins growing within about 24 hrs, so timing is critical.
- If you discover mold, contact your landlord right away.
More often than not, a mold inspector or remediator will not be able deal with the tenant, but will need to discuss the problem with the landlord or property owner, which doesn’t mean they are responsible for taking care of the mold – you may need to work together to resolve the issue of responsibility.
If you are a tenant in Washington State, you are covered by the “Residential Landlord-Tenant Act“, which will help you understand your rights and responsibilities.
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How to find the source of mold?
Mold is frequently found when people are remodeling their homes. Because it is often necessary to work with and around the house’s structure, signs of mold that would not normally be seen become very visible.
One such homeowner in the Seattle, WA area began a remodeling job on their home and discovered a great deal of mold growth in their crawl space.
I think you’ll find these before and after pictures very interesting.
Before our team did their job:
This is what one typical crawl space looked like, the mold was caused by a lack of proper ventilation. We work with the best insulation companies in the State; they come in and extract the insulation and put the correct ventilation in, sealing ducts if necessary to further diminish moisture getting into the crawl space.
Then after we do our job, they come back in and replace insulation up to code, making sure you get any available rebates from your energy company and saving you big bucks on your future energy bills! And you also get peace of mind knowing your indoor air quality is much cleaner because of our team efforts!
Protecting the air you breathe
Have you ever noticed when you bite into a powdered donut, the powder flies everywhere! Kind of like when you disturb mold, the spores like to fly everywhere, and we like to keep that under control and make them go where we say. Tough on mold, easy on the environment.
After containment, we vacuum every surface with specialized High-Efficiency Particulate Air vacuums, designed specifically to capture mold spores. Then we scrub and treat with a fungicide, then apply a stain remover, then finish off with an anti microbial which deters future mold from being able to grow. We can warranty the areas we treat for ten years!
Happy Healthy crawl space …so you can breathe easy!
Why Would a New House Have a Mold Problem?
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Is It a Good Idea to Paint Over Mold?
If you have mold growing on your walls, don’t be tempted to “just paint over it” hoping that will get rid of the problem for you…it won’t. What seems like a good idea is really an effort in futility.
Although there are paints designed to inhibit mold or mildew growth, they are not designed to stop it once it has begun.
Mold must be killed, you can’t just cover it because before you know it, it will resurface right through that new coat of paint, cause it to peel and continue to grow and destroy.
Like all living organisms, mold survival depends on moisture and food, and the food it focuses on is your home. Finding organic materials in your home, such as wood, fabrics, insulation or wallboard, it begins the process of decomposition, which is what it does best.
When mold is outside, it’s decomposing characteristics can be very beneficial, but when it has the opportunity to reside in your home, it can be very destructive as it weakens your home’s structure or destroys furnishings.
Mold is not only dangerous to your home, but can also create health risks as its tiny spores circulate through the air and are inhaled, which can be especially bad for the elderly, the very young or people who already have respiratory problems. Some of the problems it can cause or increase are:
- Problems breathing
- Symptoms that resemble the flu
- Even learning disabilities
Controlling Mold Growth
You can’t get rid of all the organic materials in your home, but you can control the moisture that encourages mold to begin in the first place.
- Open windows as often as possible to increase good airflow in your home.
- Repair leaks of all kinds – it only takes about 24-48 hours for mold to begin growing, the sooner you repair your leaks the better.
- If you have had water damage of any kind, especially to carpets, fabrics or upholstery, be sure to to not only get them dried and cleaned as soon as possible – don’t forget the short period of time it takes mold to start.
- Check your attic and crawl space to make sure they are well ventilated and have good airflow.
- Always use exhaust fans in your kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms to vent excess moisture outside.
For your peace of mind and the safety of your health and home, if you think you have a mold problem, give us a call, and have it remediated properly.
Mold Solutions is a full service mold solutions provider for the Seattle Puget Sound area, Bellevue, Everett, or Tacoma