Tip of the Month - January 2010

Mold - The Best Way to Avoid Problems

Source: Every Landlord’s Legal Guide - 9th Edition
             By Martha Stewart & Attorneys Ralph Warner & Janet Portman

Check over the premises and fix mold problems before new Tenants move in.  A Landlord - Tenant Checklist indicating the general condition of the rental unit and premises, inventorying the condition of the rental property.

Make sure every Tenant understands the risks of poor housekeeping practices and recognizes the factors that contribute to the growth of mold.  Use your Lease or house rules to educate Tenants about sensible practices to reduce the chances of mold - or fix problems should they arise. 

Give Tenants specific advice, such as:

Ventilate the rental unit.

Avoid creating areas of standing water - for example, by emptying saucers under houseplants.

Clean vulnerable areas, such as bathrooms, with cleaning solutions that will discourage the growth of mold.

Encourage Tenants to immediately report specific signs of mold or conditions that may lead to mold such as plumbing leaks and weatherproofing problems.

Make all necessary repairs and maintenance to clean up or reduce mold:

Consider installing exhaust fans in rooms with high humidity: (bathrooms, kitchens, service porches) especially if window ventilation is poor in these areas

Provide Tenants with dehumidifiers in chronically damp climates.

Reduce the amount of window condensation by using storm windows or double-glazed windows.

Quickly respond to Tenant complaints and clean up mold: most of the time, a weak bleach solution (one cup of bleach per gallon of water) will remove mold from nonporous materials.  You and your Tenants should follow common sense steps - use gloves to avoid exposing eyes and lungs to airborne mold dust (if you disturb mold and cause it to enter the air, use masks).  Allow for frequent work breaks in areas with plenty of fresh air.

Caution: People with respiratory problems, fragile health, or compromised immune systems should not participate in clean-up activities.  If your Tenant raises health concerns and asks for clean-up assistance, provide it - it’s a lot cheaper than responding to a lawsuit.


We always advise our Owners and Tenants to make sure basement windows are opened May 1 - Oct. 1 for venting and air circulation: basement windows are screened: all bathrooms should have both a screened window that opens and vented ceiling fan (moisture should be vented outside, not in the attic or sidewalls - all outside faucets are removed.
A sound management plan for venting is essential: it is our opinion that buildings, like us, must“breath”.

Return to prior page

This web page was updated on 01/03/2010.