How to Spot Mold in Your New Apartment

August 10th, 2009 by

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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10 Responses to “How to Spot Mold in Your New Apartment”

  1. porsche Says:

    Hi I currently live in an apartment were I did have water damage. The apartment complex is 2 years old and I am the the first and only tenant. 2 weeks ago there was a stong wet mildew odor coming from my bedroom, Maintenant found that the odor indeed was coming from a leak inside the wall. After cutting into the wall they use a dehumidifier to dry up the water and repair the leak after a week the carpet and the walls did dry but the wood turned green. The Maintenant crew didn’t replace the wood but sprayed it with what they a called a mold enzyme to kill the mold. Then the just used put the same drywall that was wet back into the wall. Carpet cleaners supposedly cleaned the carpet and the office management assured me the smell would be gone. 2 days later after the carpet dry the smell is still present and I have not slept in my bedroom for 3 weeks now. Complex management says they have to and give it a few days. Is there anything you suggest I do or say to the complex to help in any way.

  2. intheknow Says:

    Mold is a serious issue. Tell them you have consulted an attorney and he has instructed you to tell them not only should they prorate your rent for the 3 weeks you were unable to sleep in your bedroom but they should remedy the situation asap or you will get the building inspected by the city who might condemn a mold situatiin which equals no rent for them until fixed. You have every right to be concerned!

  3. Shar Says:

    OMG! If I could only upload some pix here…I have black walls on the concrete blocks, I had been working as a field photographer with very little energy until I was out of this apt. for some time, I have lesions on my body, my roof had been blown away from a nor-easter that the staff did not fix for 5 months..the maintenance staff said it was not toxic mold & told me just to clean the cinder walls with bleach…the list goes on. Not to mention, I know my pulmonary system is breaking down, and I did send a sample to a lab, the results were I have 5 different strains of mold in my apt., so I called the health dept., I was told there are not any laws in NJ to regulate mold issues…As I previously stated, the list goes on! Thank-you for the forum

  4. Ann Says:

    Well, it’s been a long time since the first post, but I’d like to add a comment. Your management company responded promptly to remedy this problem. If there are odors in the apartment, did you try disinfectant spray as you waited for any smell to diminish? Three weeks of odor does sound like a long time, and I hope that the management company followed up with this problem.
    As a landlord, I have to say that I hope you didn’t use the bluff about getting an attorney to get a reduction in rent. If anything, it weakens your claim, even if your apartment seems like an unpleasant place to live. In most states, you can only withhold rent with an escrow through a court. Getting back to the attorney threat, managers know, because it’s common sense, that any reduction in rent would be offset by court costs and attorney costs. Threat of a lawyer is a bluff.

  5. Paola Says:

    Omg, I’m so shocked by this… I been renting an apartment for the past month with a year lease and i just noticed that once again my fruits went bad…bad of MOLD!! I’m deeply scared for my sons health, because he’s barely 2 years old and I’m 9 months pregnant with my second baby. I had no idea that this apartment was infested with mold since everything seems to be new, but when i first walked in to see the apartment i smelled a strange odor but i figured it was outside since it’s the basement i’m renting. Now a month later, the smell is even worse. By the way the apartment does have a storage room that smells really humid and has cracked and peeling off paint and not only that, but it also leaks….i’m assuming its the pipes…The landlord told us he would fix it when we first came to see the apartment, but to give him 2 weeks since he had to buy new concrete for upstairs to fix something, but it’s been a month that i’ve been here and he still hasn’t done anything to fix upstairs or here and to make things worse, he just went on a vacation…right when i find mold in my fruits once again (which i did not know what mold on fruits was, until i looked it up) and i also found mold in my bottom cabbinets and on most of my food in the other pantries =X That’s not the only problem i’m having tho, The floor gets wet on its own.i find pretty much a puddle of water under my bed, my sons bed and under the cuches…EVERYWHERE…Apart from that, theres no AC, and the windows are too small to fit an AC, there’s also no emergency exit and i been having really bad head aches and a sore throat… and i’ve killed about 7 centipedes, and one of them was HUGE!! I dk what to do… we have a year lease, and we’ve been here barely a month and i believe this is endangering the lives of my husband, my son, my unborn baby and me…Can someone please tell me what actions i should take and what can i do about the year lease..

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I HAD MOLD IN MY APT AND IT HAS DAMAGED MY HEALTH,3YRS AGO,CAN I SUE AFTER 3YRS ????

  7. Underestimated Says:

    In response to Ann, not everyone is a cynic. You should have a little more human compassion and understanding. Some people don’t have the resources or knowledge to handle situations of this nature and need a place to start. An attitude such as yours has no doubt stifled the progress of many hard working and good people.

  8. Jacqualine Rigazio Says:

    It is the best time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could, I wish to suggest you some interesting things or tips. Maybe you can write your next article referring to this article. I want to read more things about it!

  9. DOTTIE APPLEGATE Says:

    MY APT. HAS MOLD IN IT. IN MY BEDROOM WINDOW. BLACK STUFF ON THE WINDOW SILL. A LADY FROM THE CO. THAT MANAGS THE APT. CAME BY AND SHE CHECK THR SILL WHICH I COVERED WITH PAPER TOWELS LITTLE SHE KNOWS MOLD CAN BE DETECTED THROUGH PAINT, SHE CONSETRATED ON MY FOILAGE WHIC IS THE BEST THING TO KEEP POISON TOXINS OUT. SHE SHOULRD HAVE BEEN TESTING THE KITCHEN BATHROOM BEDROOM AND BATHROOM. I DONT BELIEVE HER BEIND CERTIFIED. SHE SOULD HAVE LOOKED AT MY WINDOW SILL AT LEAST. IT IS BLACK, I HAVE COPD AND HEART DESEASE. I CANT WAIT TO HEAR HER RESULTS. 2 DOCTORS TESTD ME FOR MOLD, IT WAS HERE WHEN I MOVED HER. WE HAVE FUNGUS GROWING IN OUR COMODES. MOST EVERYONE IS COMPLAINING. I WAS DEAF 3 YEARS OTHER THINGS ALSO. MAYBE SHE WANTS TO MURDER SOMEONE. THATS HOW I FEEL.

  10. TONYA Says:

    ME AND MY KIDS WAKE UP EVERYDAY WITH HEADACHES SWOLEN LYMPH NOLDS VOMITING WE WENT TO ER AND WAS TOLD BRONCHITIS INFECTION AND UPPER RESPITORY INFECTIONS IVE BEEN FEELING SO FATIQUED WITH ACHY JOINTS MY HOUSE HAS STARTED HAVING A MUSTY SMELL IM HEARING WATER BEHIND WALLS AND HAVE BEEN NOTICING PUDDLES OF WATER IN CORNER OF BATHROOM EVERY MORNING ALSO MY TILES IN BATHROOM ARE TURNING BLACK IS MOLD PRESENT

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