Mold In My Apartment. What Do I Do?
It’s hard to believe that something so minuscule can wreak so much havoc. But that’s exactly what mold does. Around 1,000 different types of mold can be found indoors, which greatly outnumbers the number of people living in your apartment.
Mold is a serious issue that should be handled ASAP. In a climate such as Austin’s once mold makes a home in your apartment it can get out of control in a matter of days. Fortunately, not all molds pose serious health concerns, but there are some that do. If it is left unchecked mold can cause fatigue, respiratory problems, flu-like symptoms, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, eye irritation and even liver damage among other things.
Subchapter B of Chapter 92 of the Texas Property Code covers tenants in the event that repairs need to be made. It states that landlords must make repairs in a reasonable amount of time if conditions threaten the safety or health of an ordinary tenant.
Steps to Take if You Find Mold
Step 1. Contact Your Landlord to Notify Them of the Problem - Get a hold of them whatever way you know they’ll get back to you the quickest. However, if you contact them by phone follow up with an email after you talk. In instances like these it’s always best to have written correspondence and a paper trail if your landlord gives you issues.
If the landlord doesn’t reply to calls and emails it’s time to send them a certified letter stating the problem and a deadline for them to get back to you about the issue. If they don’t meet the stated deadline send a second letter. If they still refuse to address the situation skip the following steps and move on to the next section.
Step 2. Take Photos – You’ll want to make a photographic record of the problems that you are seeing. Take pictures of every questionable spot and send these photos to your landlord via email.
Step 3. Get to a Doctor if You Have Persistent Problems – If you are steady sneezing, coughing, have headaches, nosebleeds or allergy-like symptoms get to a doctor. These are signs that mold is affecting your health.
Step 4. Wait While Tests Are Done – One of the first things that need to happen is determining what type of mold is in the apartment. That will require the landlord to schedule an indoor air quality test. Once the test determines the type of mold only then can decisions be made about how best to handle it.
What To Do If Your Landlord Doesn’t Cooperate
Many landlords take the safety of their tenants seriously and will get the problem taken care of immediately. But there are some that will push back if you bring a mold problem to their attention. If that’s the case here’s how to handle the situation.
Step 1. Make an Appointment with a Lawyer – You don’t need a lawyer to file a lawsuit in Texas, but in serious matters like these it can pay off to have a lawyer that specializes in landlord/tenant law or mold litigation.
Step 2. File a Lawsuit Against Your Landlord – File a lawsuit with the local court that includes an order for the repair. You also have the right to include the following in your lawsuit:
Step 4. Schedule an Indoor Air Quality Test – If it is clear that mold is present it could help your case if you have an indoor air quality test done yourself. This will provide proof that conditions in the home threaten your health.
Step 5. Move
Out if it’s Bad – If the
mold problem is affecting your health, damaging your possessions or if
the whole event has made you want to live elsewhere it is your right to
do so. If you have sent the proper notifications and your landlord has
failed to make the repairs you can notify the landlord that you are
terminating the lease and get a full refund of your security deposit.
Even if you move you can still receive the $500 civil penalty, damages
and attorney’s fees if you filed a lawsuit.
Article from Apartments.com