Landlords – Mold
Leasing real estate is becoming much more challenging. New regulations make landlords liable if they don’t comply. If you are a first-time landlord, consult your state’s disclosure requirements to make sure you are giving your tenant all the required notifications.
When renting out a home for long-term, you are forced to rely on the tenants to ensure the property is maintained. Younger tenants, or those who have never owned a home may not know their responsibilities. Moisture is your #1 enemy. A small leak in a bathroom vanity cabinet can require a full gut of your bathroom if neglected. This is why regular inspections of your property are essential to prevent costly damage. A casual walkthrough is typically a waste of time and gives you a false sense of security. Click below for an inspection checklist for annual property inspections:
Renting a property in good condition can typically reduce the amount of expense that will be required with a turnover, and during the lease term. Tenants are often less likely to take care of a home that hasn’t been maintained. If the property shows that the landlord does not care, then most likely the tenants will provide the same level of care for the property. Making yourself approachable and taking a reasonable approach when finding damage to your property will encourage your tenants to be part of your maintenance program. The best way to prevent lost rent, expensive turnovers, lawsuits, and increase your bottom line is to keep your property maintained.
Mold damage can have far-reaching consequences. It is not uncommon for tenants facing financial difficulties to withhold rent due to mold issues found in their rental. Sometimes the tenant is warranted in their concerns. Providing a healthy environment to tenants should be at the top of a landlords list of responsibilities. More often we find that the tenant has created unsanitary conditions in their home. Pushing items against exterior walls, leaving window blinds closed, and piles of wet, dirty laundry on a floor can create mold problems the landlord has no control over. Therefore it is important for landlords to educate their tenants about the responsibilities of occupancy and what is considered unacceptable conditions.
When discovering a mold problem, a landlord must be cautious about how it is handled. It is common for mold damage to be remediated by a certified and licensed remediation contractor. This includes the following:
- Removal and cleaning of all personal property in the work area.
- Creating negative pressure containments prior to demolition.
- Demolition of drywall, trim, flooring materials, cabinets, or any other materials impacted by mold damage.
- Structural cleaning of remaining wood framing by sanding, wire brushing, or blasting.
- Hepa vacuuming and damp wiping of all surfaces in the work area.
- Passing a clearance inspection performed by an independent environmental professional.
Of course the process is expensive and leaves the owner with additional repairs to be made. It is strongly recommended that you rely on a professional if any of the following are true:
- Your tenant has evidence of health conditions that may be related to mold.
- The tenant is to remain in residence during the repair.
- If the mold damage covers over 10 square feet.
- If the tenant has taken legal action against you.
If you do it yourself, or have a contractor/handyman handle it, make sure your tenant’s property cannot be impacted by your activities. To be effective, you must remove mold impacted drywall and flooring. Painting or treating with bleach or any other chemical, regardless of what it says it will do, will only provide a temporary fix. The use of bleach and other chemicals cancause issues with off-gassing and possibly spread the mold. The only way to remedy a mold issue is to remove it. Minimizing dust is of utmost importance. The use of shop or regular stand up vacuum should be avoided unless HEPA filtrated. A vacuum with a HEPA filter does not make it a HEPA vacuum. This includes shop vacuums with a replacement HEPA filter. If a HEPA is not available, one can place the vacuum outside the home and utilize a long hose.