Texas Personal Injury: Mold and Your Landlords Duty
- April 28, 2015
- 48 Comments
Mold is a serious environmental hazard. Although mold problems are typically associated with homeowners, there has been a significant increase in the number of tenants who are filing claims against their landlord for health problems resulting from mold in their rented apartment or single family dwelling.
If you suspect there may be mold in your rental home, it is critical that you know what to look for and when your landlord may be liable.
Identifying Mold and Where it Can Be Found
There are several varieties of mold and it comes in a wide range of colors and shapes. Mold is typically known by these names: aspergilus, stachybotrys, paecilomyces and/or fusarium. Most molds are either black, green, white or gray in color and some molds are powdery, while others are shiny. Although most molds have a disgusting and easily identified smell and look, some molds are barely visible and can be hidden under floors, in the walls, in the ceiling, attics and/or basements.
Mold frequently grows on materials that are water soaked, such as fabric, wall paneling, newspapers, books, cardboard boxes, paint and/or ceiling tiles. Humidity is a prime condition for the growth of mold, so buildings in naturally high humid climates, such as south Texas, have experienced more problems with mold than residents who live in drier climates. But, regardless of the climate, mold can grow anywhere, as long as there is a presence of moisture.
Mold and its Affect on Your Health
Mold is thought to be one of the most controversial environmental hazards. Medical and scientific communities are continually debating which molds and what type of situation poses the most serious health risk to people inside their homes.
However, there is no question about the number of tenants who have suffered serious consequences from living around and inhaling dangerous mold spores. It is important to understand that many types of mold will not harm your health, such as mold that grows on the tiles in your shower. In some situations, it is tricky to determine if you have been exposed to a dangerous mold, but there are tests that measure the presence of certain mold spores in your blood. Some of the most common symptoms of mold-born illnesses include:
Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Tenant Exposure to Mold
In the majority of situations, the responsibility of your landlord in regards to mold is clearly spelled out in the building regulations, city ordinances, statutes and building codes. Although there are no federal laws that set the standard for mold in a residential building, Texas is one of the few states that has established standard guidelines and regulations regarding mold in indoor air.
Landlords Duty to Maintain Habitable Premises
Regardless of the specific mold laws, your landlord may still be liable if there is a mold problem in your rental home. In some situations, you may not be able to file a personal injury claim due to negligence because of mold in your home.
However, by talking with a personal injury lawyer you will learn your rights regarding rent withholding or getting your landlord to make repairs.
-A mold that is caused by your landlord's failure to fix a leak: A water leak is a primary cause of mold, so if your landlord does not take care of leaks and as a result mold grows, you may be able to hold your landlord responsible for health problems.
-If you caused the mold by creating high humidity, failing to maintain cleanliness or failing to report a leak immediately, your injuries are considered your negligence and the landlord is not liable.
An effecient and smart landlord will take all measures to prevent the conditions that may lead to mold growth. Some landlords may include a clause in your lease that relieves them from any liability that may result from the growth of mold.
In order to determine if your mold related illness is due to the negligence of your landlord, it is essential that you talk with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your injuries and that you provide as much information as possible regarding the mold, such as photos of the mold, proof that the mold was no fault of yours and your medical records.