The best practice when dealing with mold is to stop the water leak, and then clean the mold.
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.
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 cost between $1,500 – $5,000 if conducted correctly.
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; provides mediation between landlord and tenant on housing issues. 303-441-4364
City of Longmont Community Mediation
For residents living in the city of Longmont; provides mediation between landlord and tenant on housing issues. 303-651-8444
Community Assistance Mediation Program (CAMP)
For residents living inside Boulder County but outside the cities of Boulder and Longmont; provides free mediation services for those involved in disputes. 303-441-1752
Community Housing Services
For all residents living in the State of Colorado; landlord/tenant program to help people understand what their rights are in a landlord-tenant dispute.
Off-Campus Student Services (OCSS) office
For current University of Colorado at Boulder students; free legal advice about housing concerns. 303-492-7053