Is your landlord responsible for mold removal? There is no clear-cut answer, as every situation and every state is different. There are no federal laws regulating this issue. However, a few states and cities have passed legislation on landlords’ mold-related responsibilities.
For example, California law, under the Toxic Mold Protection Act of 2001, requires landlords to disclose any mold existence to tenants. New York City requires landlords to keep up with NY Department of Health mold standards, and its 311 service has an online complaint form that tenants can file against landlords if mold issues persist. San Francisco also has laws allowing tenants to sue landlords if any visible mold exists. You can check with your local Health Department to find out about laws in your area.
Even if you don’t live in one of these areas, you may still be liable for mold. Landlords have the obligation to provide a habitable living space, and if the mold makes the apartment uninhabitable, tenants may refuse to pay the rent and the court may uphold their decision. Tenants may also deduct the amount it cost them to remove the mold from their rent. If a tenant gets sick because of mold, the landlord may be sued.
As mentioned above, landlords are required to provide habitable living areas for their tenants. If a landlord failed to fix broken pipes, roofs, and leaks, and the end result was mold that caused health issues, the landlord may be held liable.
Some landlords include a clause in the contract relieving them of any responsibilities based on mold. However, this clause has not always been accepted and upheld in court, because it goes against public policy.
If you are a landlord, you will be better off ensuring that any mold issues are taken care of. If you are a tenant and you are constantly dealing with mold issues, you should explore your local laws and your legal options.