Education and news for smart DIY landlords!
Meet Lambert, a DIY landlord who had a mold problem in his rental a year ago. Yes, he knew about it but chose to ignore it as he thought that it wasn't much of a problem. But then tenants started to complain after getting allergies and asthma due to the mold. A month later, he received a court summons. A case was fought and Lambert lost both the case and a lot of money for paying liabilities.
Lambert's situation taught him how harmful mold is and how being reactive (instead of proactive) leads to bigger problems as a landlord. While he knows that it's too late, he wants to help future landlords avoid the same problem. Here are his tips for you:
Mold grows because of damp surfaces. If you have a leaky roof, pipes, toilet, sink, and windows on your property, make sure to seal these leaks immediately. Do this before a tenant moves in. If a tenant moves in and complains of mold, address them right away.
Bathrooms and kitchens can be culprits for cultivating mold. An unreachable spot in a very moist room covered by furniture or appliance should be considered. Places behind appliances, in general, are at great risk for the growth of mold. Having working exhaust fans and windows in kitchens and bathrooms are will be of great help.
Keep your property well-ventilated at all parts and moisture to a minimum. Also, avoid letting your tenants overuse humidifiers. Using humidifiers too much will lead to more damp surfaces with the property. It will be very hard to notice them and when the mold sets in, it will cost you a lot just remove them. If your property is located in a humid climate, then you must provide the tenants with a dehumidifier.
Remember: Prevention = Clean + Dry + Well-Ventilated
Molds are fungi. It means that the physical structure of mold is not stubborn and can be removed easily. Removing mold can be done with detergent, bleach, and a good brush or scrub. To protect yourself during the cleaning, use long rubber gloves, safety goggles, and a respirator mask. During the operation, rinse the mold with bubbly water mixed with detergent for a good 10 minutes to soften it. Then brush and scrub the moldy surface.
After the molds are gone, wipe the surfaces dry. On some areas that are painted, it is also good to repaint them after the cleaning operation. However, do not paint over molds as they will only grow through them. You can also hire expert services if the workload is too much or if you prefer not to deal with it yourself. While these professional services can be expensive, they save you a lot of time and effort.
The sooner you deal with mold, the lesser it is going to cost you just to remove it.
It is not always the landlord’s fault and responsibility regarding the growth of molds. There are situations where tenants are to blame. Even if you have followed all the advice given above, there will always be people who still don't get the sense of cleanliness and hygiene.
Mold growth during a tenant’s stay isn't your fault because tenants are also responsible for regular cleanings. An example of this is moldy drywall caused by dry towels or a clogged drainpipe caused by stuffing whatnots down the sink. An exception to the growth of mold during a tenant’s stay is damaged facilities due to weathering.
To protect yourself, be sure to document the condition of your property before, during, and after a tenants’ stay. This increases your chance of winning cases against tenant complaints if such will be taken to court.
If you’re ready, make Landlord Prep your go-to resource for landlording education. Here, we offer a complete DIY landlording course to get you on the right track. Join our academy today. If you want, you can check out Flavia’s real estate investing webinar first!