What to Do When Your Landlord Won’t Help You Get Rid of Mold

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Your landlord may not be responsible to help you get rid of mold, but if he is, then you have legal remedies at your disposal. The presence of mold in an apartment that is not removed poses a serious health risk, especially for children. You should work with your landlord to resolve the problem, but ultimately you may have little choice but to move out. Here’s what to do when you don’t get the help you need:

Make Sure It’s Your Landlord’s Responsibility

Before you take any action, you have to make sure that it’s your landlord’s responsibility to get rid of mold in the first place. He is not responsible if you caused the problem. For example, if you allowed high humidity to accumulate in the apartment because you failed to ventilate it, then you caused the mold growth and are responsible for its removal.

If the apartment has poor ventilation, such as in the bathroom where it can get very humid, then your landlord is responsible for a building code violation which led to the mold problem. When your landlord fails to make the repairs necessary to keep the premises in habitable condition, such as fix leaks, then your landlord has to get rid of the mold.

If you do something or don’t do something that leads to mold, including notifying the landlords about the need for repairs, then you cannot legally compel the landlord to help you get rid of mold.

Negotiate with Your Landlord

Don’t rush to file a legal case against your landlord without first trying to negotiate with him. Your landlord may be acting out of ignorance of the laws and his responsibility, and a little education from you may be all that’s needed. At the same time, you don’t want to hold out too long to hope that your landlord will change his mind, because mold is a serious health issue. You’ll know when it’s time to stop negotiations and move to the next level based on your landlord’s response.

When negotiating, calmly speak with your landlord about the problem and ask him to resolve it. Follow up with a letter thanking him for his review of the matter, and summarize what he said he would do or wouldn’t do. If he refused to help, explain in the letter why it’s his responsibility to get rid of the mold, the potential health risks you face as a result and your options to pay for it and seek damages from him or to move out until the problem is resolved.

File a Lawsuit

If you’re not getting anywhere with your landlord, then filing a lawsuit in court is probably your best option. Your attorney can continue the negotiations, or if you’re representing yourself, you can try to settle. Some state laws allow you to withhold up to one month’s rent prior to filing a lawsuit, but you should consult with an attorney so that you don’t end up liable for damages. You can ask the court for an injunction, a court order, that forces the landlord to get rid of the mold and money to pay for a temporary place to live until the mold removal is complete.

When you bring a legal action against your landlord and he loses, you can often ask the court to award you money to pay your legal bills. Keep that in mind as you weigh your options for how to deal with your landlord.

2 Responses to “What to Do When Your Landlord Won’t Help You Get Rid of Mold”

  1. July 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm, alicia gotimer said:

    9 months ago me and my daughter moved into an apartment with many health concerns i found out.weichert realtors we found an 130 central street apt 7b.were now homeless because of the lack attention from landlord rob jordan to make right the mold and mildew that caused my 3yr old health problems including chronic cough an breething problems.i suffer from fatique,migrains an number of other things.the 2bedroom is now justthe living room and kitchen due to bedrooms mold an flooding.very frustrating when landlord is ignoring

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  2. October 24, 2016 at 2:44 pm, Shirley Soto said:

    My family and I live in a house that is full of black mold. A week after we moved in, I was planting some bulbs in the front yard, and the lady next door came over and said that the house is full of mold. We asked the landlord, and he said there wasn't any mold. Well it's been 9 months now, and I was looking for something I lost behind my bed. When I moved my bed, there was mold on my fitted sheet, the side of my bed,on the wall behind my bed, my shoes in the closet, even inside one of my purse's hanging on a hook on the wall. I lifted up my mattress, and there was mold on the bottom of it too. I began to look in other areas in the house, and noticed more black mold on the wooden part of the window in my bathroom. There is also some on my coffee table forming on the base. I noticed it when I was looking through the glass!!! 😠. Well we decided that we were going to put the rent money in escrow, and then ask him to do something about it. He lied to us 9 months ago. And has been taking my money for too long. Now he's got to do something about it. You know I was wondering why I keep coughing and don't smoke. I was wondering why I have a rotten smell when I breathe. I was also wondering why I kept Hawking up green mucous all the time.

    Reply

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