So You’ve Found Mold in Your Rental… Now What?

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College classes are starting up soon, and rental houses all over Boise are going to be crammed with students trying their best to save money to pay for school.

Chances are that at some point you will find mold in your home. Whether it’s a bit of harmless growth in the shower, or toxic mold growing rampant from an unseen water problem, it’s in your best interest to understand the situation and what you should do.

Common Causes

Humidity

With multiple residents come multiple showers, multiple loads of laundry, and multiple loads of dishes being done every day. This often leads to high humidity in the house that condensates on walls, windows and ceilings. This gives mold the moisture it needs to grow.

Areas that are most susceptible are metal window frames, shower grout and caulk, and areas in the room where there is poor ventilation leading to dead airspace.

The best way to prevent a humidity issue leading to mold growth is ventilation and cleaning. Ensuring proper ventilation will keep air moving and will help keep humidity down. Make sure bathroom vents are in good working order and are free of dirt and buildup. If vents are inadequately keeping humidity down, run fans or open windows.

Mold can only grow on organic material, meaning that if it is showing up on paint, metal window frames, and other non organic material, it is in fact growing on settled dust and dead skin cells. This can almost always be prevented by consistent cleaning. Vacuum, dust, and wipe down surfaces consistently.

Water Leaks

Water leaks that go unnoticed can lead to devastating mold problems. Make sure to keep a close eye on common household appliances and check for signs of leaking. Common leaking appliances that lead to mold growth are:

  • Ice maker- often the water line connected to the ice machine in the freezer will leak unnoticed because it is hidden behind the refrigerator unit.
  • Dishwasher- improper loading, worn out seals, and wrong dish washing soap can cause flooding and leaks that will get beneath linoleum, buckle hardwood, and cause unseen mold growth on the subfloor.
  • Washing machine- improper hookup of drain pipe and overflowing can lead to mold growth in the wall or on subfloor.

If you notice a leak, eliminate the water source and immediately begin to dry out the affected area by placing as many fans as possible directed at the water. However, if you see mold growth, do not use fans as it will only spread mold spores throughout the house.

What to Do When Visible Mold Growth Is Present

Light mold growth on a shower wall or window pane can simply be cleaned and forgotten. If a heavy cleaning does not remove the growth or the mold continues to come back, you may want to call an inspector to evaluate the situation.

Mold growth from a water damage should be taken care of by a professional. If there is significant growth it can be a health hazard and should not be ignored. If your landlord ever dismisses the mold as “just mildew” “old growth” “inactive growth” or “non toxic”, hire a professional that can evaluate the situation and explain it to your landlord.

If you have concerns over whether or not the mold growth is being dealt with properly or according to protocol, contact a professional to instruct on how the mold growth should be handled.

If your landlord refuses to deal with mold situation or tries to cover it up, have the situation documented and hire a professional to write a report explaining the hazards of mold exposure. If this is not enough to have the landlord fix the problem it should be enough to get out of the lease.

Enviro specializes in evaluating mold growth and working with both tenants and landlords to come to a solution where mold growth can be dealt with properly and in a manner that is safe to the tenant. At the same time, we also will be honest if we believe the situation to be caused by neglect on the part of the tenant. As professionals, we will always strive to be honest and non biased as we evaluate the situation and offer consultation on what should be done.

If you have a mold problem in your home or rental property that you would like investigated, please give us a call @ 208-941-7689.

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