Can I Sue my Landlord for Mold?

The relationship between a tenant and a landlord is a delicate one that should always be maintained even though there are many opportunities for the relationship to go downhill.  When a tenant takes possession of the premises there is an expectation that the landlord will carry out his/her obligations and the landlord will have the expectation that the tenant will fulfil their obligations. There is a contract created between the landlord and tenant in the form of a lease where the landlord and the tenant create a legal relationship. One of the implied duties of a landlord is to keep the property fit human habitation that is he/she must provide a property free of serious defects which might harm a tenant’s health or safety.

Can I Sue my landlord for mold?

The landlord has the responsibility of keeping the premises fit for human habitation for the duration of the lease. Fit for human habitation means:

  • Effective waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls, including unbroken windows and doors.
  • Plumbing facilities in good working order, including hot and cold running water, connected to a sewage disposal system.
  • Gas facilities in good working order.
  • Heating facilities in good working order.
  • An electric system, including lighting, wiring, and equipment, in good working order.
  • Clean and sanitary buildings, grounds, and appurtenances (for example, a garden or a detached garage), free from debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, and vermin.
  • Adequate trash receptacles in good repair.
  • Floors, stairways, and railings in good repair.

Mold is caused from moisture in the air either because of water leakage from the roof or pipes and poor ventilation. Therefore, where there is mold it is the landlord’s responsibility to correct the problem as mold contamination is included in ensuring that the home is habitable. Where the landlord fails to make the proper repairs then the tenant can sue for any damage caused by the mold such as illness.

The tenant must prove that the house has mold which involves getting the premises inspected by a home inspector to have the inspector provide a report and have the air quality tested to determine if there are harmful level mold spores in the home. The burden is on the tenant to provide that there is in fact mold contamination which is harmful. The tenant can recover all expenses from damage caused and the cost for inspection and air quality test. A landlord is liable for any damage caused by mold once there is a violation of building code such as a leak, deficient ventilation of kitchen or bathroom or any problem that can cause mold. In California, a tenant does not have to pay rent until the problem is remedied or deduct rent if they remedy the problem themself.

Can I sue for Black mold?

A tenant can sue the landlord for black mold and can recover any cost associated such as inspection, replacing ruined household items, medical expenses, future medical expenses and emotional distress. Black mold is a harmful toxin that can be very dangerous for humans. It can be found in building materials such as wood, paper, fiber board, cotton products and any other material that is conducive to the growth of mold. Black mold can cause damage to internal organs such as bleeding of the lungs, Respiratory problems, skin inflammation and even death. Jurors in recent cases have sympathized with tenants in mold cases as they have made substantial award.  In Delware a tenant recovered 1.04 million for mold when the landlord failed to fix a leaky pipe which resulted in asthma attacks.

Can I Sue my landlord?

A tenant can sue a landlord where there was a failure to carry out his obligation. A tenant should always remember that a lease is a contract and under that contract the landlord has duties which he must do. Failure to perform those duties once notified by the tenant can result in lawsuit, deduction in rent or a tenant breaking the lease.

The relationship between a landlord and tenant is a contractual where each party has obligations to carry out where implied or expressly stated. The tenant can sue for any mold because it shows that the property is not habitable and there has been a violation of building code.

About Janique Williams

One Response to “Can I Sue my Landlord for Mold?”

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  1. Sam Harding says:

    I am having this issue. I am the landlord and my tenant is complaining of mold, however as there was no mold in the home prior to them moving in, there may be some now because the tenant deliberately opens all windows in the home during the day and night, including during HEAVY rain showers. I have repeatedly told them not to do this. How can they have a complaint against me if rain was entering the home and the temperature exceeds 90 degrees F. during the day?

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