To prevent mold, you have to control moisture in your home.
mold sounds like Death. Who wants THAT around the house?
the fact is that mold is everywhere-in the air we breathe, in the
soil, in our food (think of cheese). Here's some more facts.
mildew is mold. You are accustomed to seeing it in the shower stall
and wiping it off.
comes in all colors, but color doesn't tell you anything about
mold's potential risk.
becomes a problem when it comes in contact with moisture and starts
primary danger mold poses to humans is respiratory--mold can trigger
allergic reactions that make it hard to breathe. We often call this
reaction asthma but mold also aggravates Chronic Obstructive
Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and
other breathing conditions.
needs moisture to become a problem to you in your home. When you
encounter mold at home, find the water source. A leaky pipe or drain
under a sink, condensation water dripping from an air conditioner, or
rain water coming in thru a window, wall or ceiling. The most common
form of mold at home is mildew which is often a result of bad
ventilation when you shower.
it's hard to get landlords to address mold problems. Local health
departments in Ohio view mold as an substance that can cause an
allergic reaction...but not a disease. Often the health inspector
will tell the tenant to clean up the mold with bleach. That rarely
solves the problem. Without health department orders, a landlord may
take the position that it's not a "health and safety violation."
The key is for the tenants to give a written notice of the water
in the unit is usually a housing code a violation that the landlord
is responsible to address.
what are the steps to take when you encounter mold?
1. Don't panic. If you are
having allergy symptoms (trouble breathing, congestion, etc.) you may
need immediate medical attention.
If the moldy area is less than 10 square feet, you may clean the area
with DILUTE household bleach. Be careful. Never mix bleach with
the area is larger, have your landlord arrange for professional
3. Identify the water source
and report the leak in writing to your landlord. The Ohio Landlord
Tenant Law says you should wait a "reasonable time" before
taking legal action. You may also want to call the HOUSING inspector
to verify the leak.
4. After the water leak is
fixed, then your landlord should remove and replace the contaminated
material (wall board, ceiling tile or carpeting) that the mold was
growing on and then seal the surrounding area. Just painting over the
molded material is not enough. Be sure you share mold remediation
information with your landlord and/or maintenance man. Don't assume
that they know the proper way to address the problem. You can find
remediation steps at
5. Improve indoor ventilation
by using vent fans, dehumidifiers or air conditioning when you can't
get air circulation from windows. If your rental home doesn't have
bathroom and kitchen vent fans, you may ask for them to be installed.
If you have asthma or other breathing problems or a known allergy to
mold, you may be able to have this work done as a reasonable
modification for a person with a disability.
you pay for a mold test? Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
says no. "Since the effect of mold on people can vary
greatly, either because of the amount or type of mold, you can not
rely on sampling and culturing to know your health risk. Also, good
sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is
and what is not an acceptable quantity of mold have not been set. The
best practice is to remove the mold and work to prevent future
Harvard’s Joint Center on Housing Studies recently made the point that tenants, not just owners, are interested in healthy homes. “One of the more compelling findings of the study was that renters expressed healthy housing concerns at a higher rate than homeowners.” . This week’s question from a RHINO member is “We have mold in our apartment due to a water leak that maintenance first said was just condensation dripping into the kitchen cupboard and making food wet. After 4 months the ceiling started to leak and we had to argue with maintenance about fixing the problem and that there is mold present. They're moving like turtles on taking care of the mold and we are all noticing headaches and bloody noses due to this mold in the kitchen. we would like some help with proving this is mold and making them move faster to provide us a safe living place.” RHINO suggests:
1. There’s no mold without a water source. While “officials” will dispute the health effects of mold, no one can doubt that water in cupboards is a code violation. Finding the source of the water can be important.
Take photos and ask friends & neighbors to be witnesses and write out statements about what they experienced (sights, smells, touch)
Call your housing inspector whenever there’s water where it’s not supposed to be. Get a copy of the inspector’s report.
2. See your doctor. Mold can cause a wide variety of unpleasant or dangerous symptoms. You may have grounds for a personal injury claim. 3. Give a written notice to correct the problem to the person or at the place where you normally pay rent (not the maintenance man). Wait for a reasonable time, not more than 30 days. If your MD tells you this is a ‘health emergency’ contact an attorney to get a “motion to compel repairs.”. Then put your next rent payment in escrow with your local municipal court. ( Ohio Revised Code 5321.07 )
Frequently Asked Questions
What should my landlord do about mold in my rental home?
Generally, the landlord is responsible for repairing moisture problems and cleaning up mold, unless it is a minor issue related to the tenant's behavior.
Common moisture problems in homes include pipe leaks, roof leaks, sewage back-ups, and over flowing toilets/sinks/bathtubs. If there is a known leak or water source that is contributing to mold growth in your rental home, request to have the leak repaired and/or water removed from your landlord in writing. Be sure to keep a copy of this letter for yourself.
What should tenants do about mold?
Tenants should also look at their own behaviors to determine whether they may be contributing to the moisture problem that is causing mold. Here are some tips:
Always use bathroom fans during and after bathing/showering.
Avoid spilling liquids on carpet. If this occurs, quickly dry carpets (if carpets stay wet, notify the landlord).
Use the kitchen fans when cooking.
Avoid using humidifiers unless there is a medical reason to use one.
Open windows when possible,
Don't block supply and return registers with your furniture
Keep a few inches of space between your furniture and the walls
Watch what you put down drains to avoid clogging and over-flows
use a dehumidifier
What is mold and why does it grow in my home?
Mold is type of fungus that is present in our natural environment. Mold spores, which are tiny microscopic "seeds", can be found virtually everywhere, including in homes, and are a part of the general dust found in homes. These spores can grow on building materials and furnishings if conditions are correct. Excess moisture is the critical factor in any indoor mold problem.
Can my health be in danger because of mold?
Molds are everywhere, making our exposure to molds unavoidable, whether indoors or outdoors, at home or at work. Health effects from exposure to mold can vary greatly depending on the person, the amount of mold in their home. The type of symptoms that may occur include coughing, wheezing, nasal symptoms and throat symptoms. People with asthma or allergies who are sensitive to mold may notice their asthma or allergy symptoms worsen. Individuals with severely weakened immune system who are exposed to moldy environments are at risk of developing serious fungal respiratory infections.