The best practice when dealing with mold is to stop the water leak, and then clean the mold.
Note: Boulder County Public Health (BCPH) is not a legal service and does not have authority to enforce contracts or building codes.
Easy Steps to Prevent or Repair Mold Problems
- Before you sign the lease, inspect the home for any water leaks, water damage, or mold. Take your time to look around; if the house smells like there is a mold problem, there probably is.
- If you see water leaks, damage, or mold, ask the landlord to repair the problem before you rent.
- Place a line in your rental agreement that says water intrusion will be stopped and mold cleaned up before the move-in date.
- Do not move in if the problems are not fixed.
- After moving in, continue to check for leaks and mold. If you see leaks (like a leaking roof or pipes), prepare a written list of problems that you can give to the landlord immediately.
- Delays may result in more damage.
- Some leases require that water damage be reported immediately.
- Understand that repairs take time to complete.
- Keep records of written requests for repairs and ask for all verbal agreements to be put in writing. (i.e. get a written schedule of when leaks will be fixed and repairs done.)
- If repairs are not made after repeated requests and water intrusion/mold continues to be a problem, you may want to seek legal advice.
Remember, a mold-free home is in the best interest of both the landlord and tenant. Water damage can create the need for extensive, expensive repairs. Early detection is also in the interest of both the tenant and the landlord. Communicate with your landlord when you have problems with a rental property.
Environmental sampling for mold can help to determine the extent of the problem, the location of mold, and the quality of the remediation. However, sampling for mold cannot be used to determine if a building is “safe” because there are no quantitative, health-based guidelines that describe “safe” levels for microbial exposure to mold. Boulder County Public Health does not conduct mold inspections or testing in homes, rental units, or commercial buildings. Contact an industrial hygienist or environmental consultant.
Assessing the Problem
Substantial mold growth indoors can be a reservoir for mold contamination, potentially causing negative health effects. Under optimal conditions, water intrusion can cause mold growth on materials, like the paper backing of drywall, carpeting, or wood products, in as little as 48 hours.
Since mold spores can be found in air practically anywhere on earth, the impact to health depends upon whether mold growth and resultant mold spores and particles have grown indoors. Comparisons of mold spore levels indoors and outdoors may be helpful in determining risk, but air sampling can be costly.
An alternative to air sampling is to inspect the building; identify materials that were subjected to moisture or water intrusion; report the potential for mold growth; and recommend removal and repair.
Additional Resources for Renters
City of Boulder Mediation Service
For residents living in the city of Boulder. The City of Boulder Mediation Program provides mediation between landlord and tenant on housing issues. 303-441-4364.
City of Longmont Community Mediation
Residents of the city of Longmont can access Longmont’s Community Mediation services for issues between landlords and renters. 303-651-8444.
Boulder County Community Assistance Mediation Program (CAMP)
For residents living inside Boulder County, but outside the cities of Boulder and Longmont, the Boulder County Community Assistance Mediation Program provides free mediation services for those involved in disputes.
Hope House of Colorado Community Housing Services
For all residents living in the State of Colorado, Hope House of Colorado Community Housing Services helps people understand their rights in a landlord/tenant dispute.
CU Off-Campus Student Services (OCSS)
Current University of Colorado students can receive free legal advice about housing concerns via CU Off-Campus Student Services.