Can You Sue Your Landlord For Mold Issues?
Yes, There are several circumstances under which you may be able to be compensated for mold.
You can sue your landlord for mold:
- If you notified your landlord that there is a water leak or that there is visible mold in the rental property, but your landlord has neglected to fix or remediate it;
- If you have any uninsured/unreimbursed past and future medical expenses due to mold exposure;
- If you have lost wages and will lose wages in the future due to your condition;
- If you’ve incurred any costs in attempting to remediate the mold yourself;
- For mold-related damages to your personal property, if you do not have renter’s insurance or your renter’s insurance does not cover mold;
- For your pain and suffering caused by the health effects of mold.
The attorneys at Saffren & Weinberg focus on toxic mold lawsuits. We have successfully sued landlords for mold-related damages to tenants’ health and personal property, and we can help you get compensation for your health problems and property loss.
PA: (215) 576-0100
NJ: (856) 667-8888
Give us a call to schedule your free consultation if you’ve suffered health or property damage due to mold. You are likely entitled to compensation.
How Much is a Mold Lawsuit Worth?
Judgments and settlements awarded to tenants suffering from mold can vary but can be several thousands of dollars or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending upon whether the landlord was negligent and the severities of the health problems caused by mold.
When Can I Sue My Landlord for Black Mold-Related Health Problems and Property Damage?
The landlord has not fixed the water leak or remediated the mold.
How long does a landlord have to fix a mold problem once a tenant reports it? While there is no set time for a landlord to respond to your report that there is a water leak or mold in the property, if a landlord delays fixing the problem, then the problem will very quickly get worse. Contact us if you haven’t had a prompt response from your landlord. Your health and the health of your family is at risk.
You have had to visit the doctor and get treated for mold exposure.
If you don’t have medical insurance or your insurance doesn’t cover all of your medical expenses from exposure to mold, you can sue and recover those costs as well as for the cost of future medical treatment.
You have had to miss work because of health problems due to mold exposure.
If your condition has caused you to miss work and therefore miss earning income, you can sue for that loss of income.
You’ve incurred any expenses in attempting to remediate the mold yourself.
If you’ve purchased products like bleach or other mold-killing agents in an attempt to remediate the mold yourself, you can sue for those costs.
There is mold-related damage to your personal property or household goods.
If you have renter’s insurance, take a look at your coverage. Most renter’s insurance will cover mold damage to household goods, furniture, and personal possessions. Still, there may be an exception for mold that developed over time that you should have noticed earlier or an exception for mold that is present as a result of a flood.
If you do not have renter’s insurance or your policy does not cover this instance of mold damage to personal property, you will need to add your monetary damages to a lawsuit against your landlord for health-related problems.
Mold has caused you pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering can be difficult to quantify. Where there is little injury, property damage, or inconvenience, tenants have recovered anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000. Some tenants have won high-dollar judgments and settlements against landlords where the injury or property damage was severe.
For example, a tenant in Oregon sued his property management company after he reported a leak, the company did nothing to repair it, and a strong musty odor developed. The jury returned a verdict of $103,000, plus attorneys’ fees in favor of the tenant.
In a lawsuit in Delaware, a jury awarded two women just over $1 million when their landlord neglected to fix the leaks they reported, causing mold, which in turn caused health problems in them both.
In a case in California, tenants settled for $500,000 where the landlord failed to maintain the home’s crawl space, resulting in moisture and toxic mold throughout the rental home. One of the tenants required sinus surgery and lost hearing in one ear as a result of middle ear infections caused by mold exposure.
How Do You Even Know You Have Mold in Your Property?
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), mold has been on our planet for millions of years. Mold can enter a property through open doors, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems, via damage to the property that allows water in, or through a flood. Mold will grow anywhere there is moisture and can grow on just about anything, such as paper, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood, paint, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.
What Causes Mold?
Toxic mold is usually caused by water damage from a small leak over time or burst water pipes that are repaired, but the resulting moisture held in drywall or carpet or furniture is not remediated. If a property floods, mold will grow if the affected building materials and furniture are not removed and replaced.
The cause of water entering the house may be flawed construction or design, the wear and tear on the property over many years causing window, roof, or water pipe failure or flood. A severe storm may also cause sewer back up or roof, window sash, or soffit damage that allows water into the property, causing mold growth.
Can Mold Be Removed?
Yes, through a process called mold remediation, which can be costly.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published tips on how to remediate mold online. The EPA asserts that water damage must be addressed within 24-48 hours to avoid toxic mold growth. In other words, if it has been longer than that since water damage occurred to your rental property and that water damage has gone unaddressed, you will have mold growth.
How Do You Know You Have a Mold Infection?
Mold spores cause irritation and an allergic response if touched or inhaled. Symptoms of toxic mold exposure may include, but are not limited to:
- Trouble breathing or wheezing or asthma
- Irritated eyes, or tears and itching eyes
- Coughing due to irritated throat
- In severe or prolonged cases, memory loss
Health Problems That Are Caused by Mold
- Asthma, in people who never had asthma
- Frequent and more severe asthma attacks in people who have asthma
- Lung Infection, especially in people with a suppressed immune response such as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, those with HIV, and those who have received a stem cell or organ transplant
What Do I Do if I Find Black Mold in My Rental House?
Notify your landlord immediately. Take pictures of the affected area if it is visible, or if you see there is a water leak but do not see the mold itself, take photographs of that. If you are experiencing any symptoms of mold infection, see a doctor right away and get a diagnosis. In severe cases, you may have to vacate the property to preserve your good health.
How Do I Get My Landlord to Fix a Mold Problem?
The landlord may be insured against mold, but if not, he or she is ultimately responsible for keeping the rental property in habitable condition – which means, he or she is responsible for fixing water leaks and remediating the resulting mold.
Mold Problems in New Jersey Rental Properties
In NJ, there is no specific law requiring landlords to disclose the presence of mold in the rental property, but there is a statute requiring them to notify tenants if the property is in a flood zone (NJ Stat. Ann. § 46:8-50).
In NJ, landlords are responsible for maintaining their rental properties in habitable condition. If you feel the landlord has been negligent in maintaining the property, you can report unrepaired leaks to your local building code official, which you can find by clicking here. You also may be entitled to self-help such as rent withholding or leaving the property without negative consequences and with the return of your full security deposit.
Mold Problems in Pennsylvania Rental Properties
Just as in NJ, there are no statutes or regulations that require landlords to disclose the presence of mold to tenants in PA. Can you withhold rent for mold in PA? Yes, a tenant may have the right to withhold rent due to mold or to leave the property without financial consequences.
Whether you live in NJ or PA, contact us to find out whether these remedies are available to you and whether you should sue your landlord.
We Will Litigate Your Black Mold Lawsuit
Yes, you can sue your landlord for mold issues. Whether you’ve just noticed mold, you or members of your family have developed symptoms of mold infection, or your household goods or personal property were damaged by mold, give us a call to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
We know how to win a mold case, and we’ve gotten our clients’ black mold lawsuit settlements and judgments. Our toxic mold lawyers will evaluate your case at no cost to you and help you file a lawsuit to recover monetary damages as well as make sure your rental property is a safe place to live for you and your family.