A big issue that we often hear about from tenants, landlords, and property managers is mold. What do you do if a tenant calls and complains about mold at your rental property? It’s very important that you follow the correct steps and take action immediately. If not, you could lose your tenant or end up in a lawsuit. If a tenant calls in about mold, you need to take it seriously regardless of what you think the situation might be.
Start by Asking Questions
The first thing you need to do is ask questions to figure out why the tenant believes there is mold. Ask if there is a leak somewhere or if there is a stain or a smell or condensation. Find the answers to these questions so you can send in a professional to verify the claims and see what exactly is causing the mold issue.
Find the Mold Source
All mold is caused by some kind of moisture getting into the home, and finding the source is crucial. It could be a roof leak or a foundation leak. Maybe the gutters are not cleaned out and the water is now running down the front of the property and getting inside. It could be an HVAC or plumbing problem allowing condensation to take form. It is critical to answer this question so you can get a professional to fix it. The longer the issue sits, the more damage will occur and the more money you will spend fixing it.
Finding the Mold in Your Home
Once you figure out the source of the mold and the moisture issue is resolved, the next step is to figure out if any actual mold is occupying the property. There may be stains or water leaks, but it does not necessarily mean mold is present. You need to make any cosmetic fixes so you can prevent mold from spawning from that. You must also check to see if any hazards have been exposed to the tenant living in the property.
Sometimes, tenants will complain that there is mold within the walls and begin feeling sick. Complaints such as those need to be taken seriously. You may need a home inspection company to do an air mold test. They will take a sample of the air within the property and compare it to the outside air to see if there is an elevated level of mold. It can also determine what kind of mold you have, and whether it’s hazardous to the tenant.
Getting Rid of Mold
If the air tests come back normal with no hazardous mold in the air, then you are good as long as you have fixed the cosmetic problem in regards to stains, leaks, etc. The home inspection company will give you a certificate showing that you had it checked and there is no mold. This will cover you against any lawsuits.
If the test comes back as positive to elevated levels of mold in the property, then you have a bigger problem. You must immediately call in a mold remediation company, which is extremely expensive. Companies will come in and quote you tens of thousands of dollars and say they need to cut out dry wall and rip out carpets to get rid of the mold in the property. This could totally destroy your cash flow and it also confirms to the tenant they have been exposed to mold.
The good news is that you have an alternative solution to a mold problem that is much faster and much cheaper than the normal mold remediation company. It is called demolition-free mold remediation. There’s a company in Maryland called Puricleanse that can do this. They will come in and spray a dry fog throughout the entire property which will kill all the mold spores, viruses, and bacteria within the walls, HVAC, carpets, and anywhere mold can possibly get. It will kill it all within four hours with no prep work required. This means the tenant will only have to vacate the property for about six hours.
The company will complete the mold test once they have fogged the entire property and re-test to see if there is still mold present. The mold issue is then resolved that day and there is no need for demolition of the property or tearing anything apart. The process is done for about a quarter of the price of a traditional mold remediation company.
Insurance companies love this option and many times will cover the cost because it’s a much cheaper and faster process. The cost usually runs about a dollar per square foot depending on if the property has attic or basement space. This is by far the most cost effective and fastest way to get rid of the mold and take away all the stress and anxiety. You will once again have a clear and purified property safe for all tenants.