What BC Renters Need To Know About Mold In The Home

What BC Renters Need To Know About Mold In The Home

Are you a tenant, and worried about mold?

Dealing with mold can be challenging for a renter/tenant because you do not actually own the building you are living in. At the same time, any the mold issues will need to be dealt with in short order.

If you suspect mold from what you see, smell musty odours, or you are dealing mold related conditions (itchy eyes, nasal, throat irritations, runny nose, respiratory problems, sinus congestion, cough & sneezing, etc.) mold might be the culprit.

However, many of these symptoms may also linked to colds, the flu, dust mites, allergies to pollen etc.

Even when you visit a medical professional, they may not be able to give you the answers you are looking for. As a result, it can be very difficult to pinpoint the actual cause of these symptoms.

The reason for this is because there are several types of mold species, and they all affect each person differently.

To help you narrow down if your conditions “might” be mold related, you can leave your home, and take note of how you are feeling. If the symptoms subside shortly after you have been away from your home, then your symptoms return once you go home again… then there is slightly more evidence to support your mold suspicions.

Although documenting how you feel when leaving, then returning to an area of “suspected mold” may help answer some questions, it is by no means conclusive. The only way to know for sure is to have a certified mold inspector or mold remediation contractor identify and test for mold.

As a mold inspector, I receive a lot of calls from renters trying to find answers, then what to do about it.

Often, they want to know what a mold inspector can do for them and how much it is going to cost – because they are concerned about health implications, and anxious to resolve any mold related issues as soon as possible.

At this point, the conversation always comes down to three main questions…

  • Who is going to pay for the inspection, testing etc? (Tenant or landlord)
  • What is the landlord responsible for to ensure the problem will be dealt with?
  • What is the responsibility of the renter?

In the past and depending on the circumstances, I would either direct them to a mold remediation contractor (if they see areas of what they believe to be mold) or suggest that I come in for an inspection and possible testing (if they cannot see or find the mold, but smell or suspect it).

However, through experience, I have realized that my role begins after the tenant and landlord figure out what they want to do.

So, what do you do when you suspect mold?

The first thing you will need to do is inform your landlord as soon as possible. Explain why you think it is a mold issue, and that you need the situation resolved as soon as possible.

Now the complicated part of the problem is making sure that the landlord takes action in a reliable way. The landlord may try to establish if the mold problem(s) is/are caused the tenants or something he/she is responsible for.

Typically, tenants cause mold related issues when they fail to properly clean the home of dust and debris, especially in closets, bathroom and along windowsills and frames. They may not use the bathroom or kitchen fans, or choose to dry their clothing inside the home rather than using the dryer… or not report leaks or floods to the landlord in short order.

If a mold problem is due to building related issues such as a flood, leaky pipe, moisture ingress, or not providing proper ventilation, then this is something the landlord will need to be responsible for.

If the landlord is agreeable, the next step is to hire a mold specialist to investigate and or remove the mold.

However, the conversation can turn awkward if a landlord suggests a quick fix, like paint over the mold, rather than taking the time to properly investigate the issue further.

If you and your landlord cannot agree on a resolution, or you want to arm yourself with information about your rights as a tenant, then you can call the Residential Tenancy Branch at 1-800-665-8779 to discuss the matter.

For more specific information on this topic check out this link below…

Tenantbc.ca

To learn more about mold in general take a look at these links as well…

10 Places To Find Mold In A Home

How To Clean Mold From Your Home