Mold can be one of the biggest problems facing renters: it can cause a variety of health problems and property damage. If a mold problem isn’t addressed, it’s easy for health problems to become severe. When you’re considering a new apartment, it’s crucial to check for any signs of mold first, rather than counting on a mold disclosure from the landlord – before you sign a lease. A small or moderate amount of mold may not be a deal breaker for renting an apartment, assuming that the landlord can clean it up before you move in, but knowing about mold before it becomes an issue is necessary to protect your health.
When you’re looking for a new apartment, there are a few warning signs you should keep an eye out for:
- Visible Mold: While a little visible mold can seem like a minor problem, if a little bit is visible, it’s likely that there’s a lot more mold hidden in the apartment.
- Discoloration or Water Stains: Yellow stains on walls and ceilings can show where there’s been water damage to the apartment, which can lead to mold. If the discoloration is green, brown or black, there’s almost certainly mold behind it.
- Cracked and Peeling Paint: Cracked paint can be a sign that moisture has built up behind the paint, creating an environment that allows for mold to grow.
- Warped Wood: Damaged woodwork can be a sign of water or moisture within the apartment. If it’s severe, the water damage could lead to mold growth.
- Mildew or Musty Odors: Smell can be a key indicator that the apartment has mold growth.
It’s particularly important to check for signs of mold in those parts of the apartment that routinely have water in them – the kitchen, bathroom and laundry rooms are often the first places that mold will develop. If there’s been recent flooding in the area, or the apartment has a leaky roof, mold can easily appear in other rooms.
If you do find mold in an apartment, your first step should be to inform the landlord and request that the landlord fix the mold problem. If it’s a minor issue, cleaning the affected area with bleach can be enough to eliminate the mold. However, because mold can grow inside walls and other places where it is not visible, you may need to ask your landlord to test for further mold problems.