Dealing with Mold in Your Tampa Rental Home
Tenants are increasingly complaining about mold and all types of airborne contaminants in properties. We have certainly seen a large increase in mold complaints recently. Rarely does a month go by without a tenant complaining about mold. Probably about 80 percent of the time, we find the mold claims are benign. Usually, it’s simply mildew in the shower or dust on the air conditioning registers. However, dealing with mold has a lot of potential liability for a landlord, so you have to take it seriously. At Hoffman Realty, we have a five step system that I’d like to share.
Visual Condition Review:
When a tenant complains of mold, go in there right away and do a visual inspection. If the tenant will allow it, we like to get into the property within 24 hours of the complaint. Look for signs of mold, smell to see if there are any damp odors that indicate mold. Run a moisture test meter that can be put along the floors, walls and ceilings to see if there is a high moisture content that might indicate a leak or something that causes mold. As a result of that visual inspection, we might suspect there could be a mold problem, at which point we move forward.
Hire a licensed mold testing contractor to perform an airborne test to see if there are mold spores present. Florida has recently licensed these professionals, so make sure you are using a licensed mold inspector. The source of the mold will hopefully be easy to find; if not you might have your tester help you locate it. Many of them have infrared cameras that look through the walls to find the moisture problems that is sourcing the mold. If the tester finds mold levels that are above what you would normally expect, you will have to remediate the mold.
Hire a licensed mold remediation contractor. Florida regulates remediation contractors as well. They now have to be licensed. These professionals can get mold out of the property and clean the air. If mold is confirmed, this step will be very important.
Is it safe for your tenant? With advice of your mold testing vendor you will need to determine whether your tenant should leave the property. If there are very high levels of mold, we cancel the lease to remove our tenant from the environment, so their health is not affected. If mold levels are not dangerously high, we offer to allow the tenant to terminate their lease, but ultimately leave it to the tenants to decide. If they want to stay and the mold levels are not too high, we allow them to stay in the property.
Once you remediate the mold, do a clearance test. Go back and do another air sampling for airborne mold. You want to be sure it has all been cleared out. At that point, you know the mold has been removed and you have taken care of your liability exposure and you know it is safe for your tenant..
If you have any questions about mold and how to set up your own process for managing the problem, Contact us or give us a call at (813) 875-7474.