I did an inspection this week for a landlord for a tenant occupied property. The tenant had complained of mold being found. The inspection found surface mold on the walls inside a closet although no moisture was detected that contributed to this. The tenant found mold on some of the personal belongings in the closet.
Because of no moisture being detected it appears to have been accumulated ,humidity that caused the mold growth, especially in view of the rains for about the last 3 months and with no ventilation in the closet. This in itself is not unusual. What is unusual is the landlord putting the tenants up in another lodging until this matter can be taken care of.
It appears the tenants assumed it was automatically the landlord's obligation to take care of the surface mold in this situation.
Because of this particular inspection I feel it is prudent to advise property owners/managers and tenants alike what their responsibilities may be under current law. Because of not being a lawyer I am providing my understanding of what the law text says. It appears that tenants have the responsibility to maintain the property such as in this case from surface mold that apparently grew because of humidity and not a leak that came about that would have been out of the tenant's control and responsibility. This would seem to be reasonable and basic common sense.
Or in other words all of us (including tenants) who occupy a residence need to regularly clean and maintain our residence including surface mold that will grow in various places because of humidity and other causes that are not the landlord's responsibility. Both the landlord's and tenants need to understand each of their individual rights and responsibilities in this area.
The title of the law in California is SB-655 which you can Google, Bing or Yahoo your way to find and read.
All of us in the area have experienced a lot of rain for over the last 2 months which the area desperately needs. As a matter of course the rain has helped to manifest problems with housing mostly because of the more than average amount of rainfall and at times the intensity of it during this period.
As a result many water damage restoration or water mitigation companies have received a fair amount of business for which they are grateful. Many times the insurance will pay for the resulting damages and sometimes not. In any case it is important for property owners, and even renters, to be diligent about maintaining their homes looking for any signs of potential moisture intrusion to the home.
If you even suspect there may be a leak of some sort (i.e. roof, plumbing, windows, etc.) then have at least that area or the entire home inspected for any potential problem. Sometimes the occupant can do a lot themselves in trying to ascertain if potential water intrusion or damage is in the works. However, it is good to get an experienced professional in the industry to check out your house just to make sure. Of course, that is the primary thing I do with my Company.
Yes, it may cost a dollar to do the inspection but it can potentially save you money in the short and even long term. To put it simply in one scenario: if you have a leaky window that you notice but don't address it right away then mold will start to grow within about 24 hours and the longer the area is wet the more mold will grow and the more money it will cost to fix the problem. Some of you may remember the commercial from years (I mean decades) ago about changing your car's oil regularly. It basically said 'you can pay me now or pay me later'. Either way we have to pay to maintain our vehicles to keep them from breaking down or more after they break down. It is very similar with our homes except there is a potential health risk with the growth of mold.
So please do your 'due diligence' and protect your home and families and have an inspection done for Potential Moisture and Mold Issues.
That is not the end of it: If any issues are found, such as 'wet' areas, these need to be addressed promptly by those trained to do it. Remember not just any contractor or handyman can do that because of not having specific water damage or mold remediation training. When you hire someone who has not been trained, or certified to do that type of work they realistically will create other problems and make the situation worse. Feel free to send me a question through the contact page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.