Mold growing in your home can be disgusting to live with. But, it can also be harmful to your health and lead to serious respiratory issues. Many people slowly develop symptoms over time as the mold grows and spreads not realizing the connection. In some cases, it may be your property manager or landlord’s responsibility to investigate and dispose of any mold.
Although not all molds are created equal, many molds are harmless to your health, but the really evil types of mold are typically black, green, gray, or white. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is evidence that links indoor exposure to mold with respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, and wheezing. Exposure to mold can exacerbate symptoms in people with asthma. And, there is even evidence linking indoor mold to respiratory illnesses in otherwise healthy children. Some people are more sensitive to mold than others. For these people, exposure to mold can cause nasal congestion, eye irritation, or skin irritation. People with serious allergies to mold may have more severe reactions such as fever and shortness of breath. CDC Website: https://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm (last accessed June 7, 2016).
Mold grows best in damp humid areas and can spread quickly. Landlords are often responsible to clean up moldy property and to take steps to prevent mold from growing in the first place. Under the Utah Fit Premises Act, landlords have a duty to maintain what the law calls “standards of habitability.” Utah Code 57-22-3. These standards of habitability include things that landlords must provide to their tenants, like heat in the winter. One of the standards of habitability is that landlords must keep their property safe and sanitary. Because mold can be harmful to your health and it can grow through no fault of your own, landlords are often responsible for any cleaning and repairs that may be necessary to get rid of it. However, it is not uncommon for landlords to argue that mold is not an unsanitary or unsafe condition and that any damage that may occur to property or to your health is so minimal that it doesn’t apply to the Utah Fit Premises Act standards of habitability.
It can be hard to get your landlord to take your complaints seriously, and you may also feel like there are few options available to you if your landlord refuses to fix the problem. If you have contacted your landlord about mold issues and they have been dismissive or non-responsive it may be time to reach out to an attorney for help. After all, it’s not just about the mess and inconvenience that mold can bring, it may also affect your personal health. Hepworth, Murray and Associates is Utah’s tenant rights law firm. Please contact us at (801) 872-2222 to set up a consultation today.