There are many different kinds of microbial growth in our environments – some of it is toxic and some of it isn’t. Any kind of microbial growth in a rental property, however, raises alarms and causes problems. If you discover it in your property or your tenant reports that microbial growth has been found, you need to act quickly. Not only do you have a legal obligation to protect your tenants from the health risks associated with it, you also want to preserve the condition of your investment.
What is Microbial Growth, and How Can it be Identified?
Typically, this type of growth lives in warm, wet, humid environments. This does not sound like a typical San Diego rental property, but it doesn’t take much for the spores to get comfortable and start growing. It’s often found in basements and attics, and behind the walls or under the floors of any structure that has poor ventilation and a tendency to become damp. Microbial growth can occur when there’s an undetected leak or some kind of water event in your property. It smells musty and earthy. You may see it show up as patches or blotches on your walls, windows, floors, or ceilings. Tenants may report physical symptoms like rashes, itchy eyes, and sneezing that dissipate once they are outside of the home.
How to Handle Microbial Growth in Your San Diego Property
There are no specific federal or state laws that outline a landlord’s responsibilities for microbial growth prevention and remediation. However, landlords are required to maintain their rental properties to habitable standards. This type of growth, it can be argued, makes a home uninhabitable, especially if your tenants suffer from health issues because of it.
If your tenant reports a microbial growth, or if you suspect you may have this in your rental property, have it tested. Certified technicians can run a test, which will cost you between $300 and $500. Once you get the results, you can contact an expert remediation company to discuss clean-up and repairs. Small patches of microbial growth are easily cleaned up with some bleach and water. However, with tenants occupying your home, you want to have the clean-up professionally done so you can document that you took care of the problem. Once it is cleaned up, have your house thoroughly checked for any water, leaks, or insulation issues that might lead to additional problems.
During the leasing process, discuss the prevention of mold with your tenants. They should run fans, especially in the bathroom, and keep the home sanitary and well-maintained. Any problems or suspicions of mold should be brought to your attention immediately.
Mold Disclosures in San Diego
California law requires landlords to disclose any microbial growth that may be in the house. This disclosure must be in writing, and it must be provided to the tenants before the lease is signed. Make sure you include this disclosure in your leasing process, or you could run into legal trouble, especially if dangerous microbes are later discovered in the property by your tenants.
If you have any questions about how to handle this, please contact us at AMG Props.