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Bad Property Management On Commercial Spaces
If you are a business owner or renter, there are a couple or several things to keep in mind so you and your employees can be protected from poor or bad management.
Mold thrives in warm, damp places, and grows quickly in basements, attics, and other parts of buildings; especially if they have poor ventilation and humidity problems. Even though mold is mostly associated with buildings in warm, wet climates, no rental property is immune from a mold outbreak.
So yes, every landlord should take mold seriously. Especially in South Florida.
Here are a few things to take into consideration about mold in rental properties and the rules of it in the state of Florida.
Landlord Liability For Mold: South Florida
There ́s no federal law that currently covers a landlord’s responsibilities when it comes to mold. The state of Florida doesn’t have any laws that specifically address a landlord’s duties or liability when it comes to mold prevention and remediation.
So what’s the catch? Tenants who believe they have been harmed by the presence of high concentrations of mold in their apartment can try to recover damages from their landlord in court to compensate them for their loss.
If a judge or jury agrees that the landlord negligently created a mold problem or allowed one to continue at a property, the landlord could be on the hook for any harm.
Mold Disclosure Requirements:
Statutes or regulations that require landlords to disclose high concentrations of mold in rental properties to prospective tenants or buyers don ́t exist in the state of Florida.
If someone decides to list a property for sale or rent, they need to be prepared to answer questions potential buyers might ask about plumbing, humidity, and ventilation issues in the property.
Landlord Legal Responsibilities for Tenant Exposure to Mold
Landlord responsibilities regarding mold have not been clearly spelled out in building codes, ordinances, statutes, or regulations. But, landlords can be held responsible for mold problems even absent specific laws govern mold.
No federal law sets permissible exposure limits or building tolerance standards for mold in residential buildings, but only a few states or cities have taken steps toward establishing permissible mold standards or guidelines and regulations for mold in indoor air.
Even if your state or city doesn’t have specific mold laws, your landlord could still be liable for a mold problem in your rental, as a result of the landlord’s responsibility to provide safe and livable housing.
Depending on the situation, state law might give tenants options if the landlord fails to fix a serious mold problem, or the tenants are able to file a lawsuit for mold-related health problems.
Landlords in all states but Arkansas are responsible for maintaining fit and habitable housing and repairing the rental property, and this extends to fixing leaking pipes, windows, and roofs—the causes of most mold.
If the landlord doesn’t take care of leaks and mold grows as a result, you might be able to hold the landlord responsible if you can convince a judge or jury that the mold has caused a health problem.
It is very important to be as specific as possible when providing the landlord with written notice. Vague or non-specific notices may not hold up in court.
- Identify which room the mold is located in, and which wall or walls the mold is on. Use directional words such as “north wall” or “east wall” so that there is no confusion as to where the mold is located.
- Include photographs showing the location of the mold to further explain to the landlord what areas you are complaining about.
- After tenants have given the proper legal notice to the landlord, the landlord has 7 days to make the repairs, or if the repairs will take longer than 7 days, then the landlord has to have started making the repairs within 7 days.
- Mold must be remediated in accordance with Florida law. This means that landlords must use licensed mold remediation contractors that are fully licensed, bonded, and insured.
- A fully licensed mold remediation contractor will take all necessary measures to ensure that the mold is contained to a certain area by sealing off the contaminated areas.
Usually, the tenant cannot reside on the premises during the mold remediation process, and the landlord should arrange to pay for alternative housing arrangements during this time.
If the landlord has failed to properly remediate the mold during the 7-day period, then the tenant has the legal right to terminate the lease by doing so in writing.
Once the tenant has terminated the lease, the tenant is no longer responsible for paying the rent and the landlord must return the tenant’s security deposit within 30 days unless the tenant has caused other damage to the property.
Landlords in all states (but Arkansas) are responsible for maintaining habitable housing for residential and commercial. They should be repairing the rental property when needed. If the landlord doesn’t take care of leaks and mold grows as a result, you might be able to hold the landlord responsible.
When owning or even renting a commercial space, we specialize in providing proactive air quality services for commercial and government buildings. From protocol development to disaster recovery, our company supports every one of your requirements to protect your property, employees, and residents.
Air quality can be an environmental hazard that can create concerns among renters. Significant health problems can be caused by exposure to toxic molds inside buildings.
If you suspect there is a mold or air quality issue in your rental unit, learn what to look for and when your landlord might be liable. Here are some special points to have in consideration when renting or buying a commercial space:
Noticing pre-existing damages: Especially the ones caused by water or any other type of situation that can lead to mold.
Leasing signing protection: Be aware of the scams. Get tenant insurance and ask for a walk-through inspection, read the lease agreement, understand notices and eviction terms, leave a paper trail, and discuss a lease-breaking in case of an environmental hazard.
Florida laws on mold exposure: Under Florida landlord-tenant laws, mold resulting from a tenant's carelessness qualifies as excessive property damage. This means that the landlord will be able to deduct the cleaning costs from the security deposit when they move out.
Mold-Related Costs from Security Deposits
Florida law allows landlords to deduct the cost of mold cleaning from the tenant’s security deposit.
If they provide a required notice with a written explanation of the mold damage costs, within 30 days of the tenant’s lease termination.
If the tenant doesn’t object (within 15 days), then the landlord must return the remainder of the deposit to the tenant within 30 days of the date of the written explanation.
Mold In Rentals: Rights And Options
Mold is an environmental hazard that can cause concern among renters. Significant health problems such as rashes, chronic fatigue, nausea, cognitive losses. Hemorrhaging and asthma allegedly caused by exposure to toxic mold at rental buildings can lead to multimillion-dollar cases against landlords.
Mold comes in various colors and shapes. Some are powdery, others shiny. Some molds look and smell disgusting; others are barely seen. Whatever the climate, mold can grow as long as moisture is present.
Mold Clauses in Leases
Some landlords include clauses in the lease that purport to relieve them from any liability resulting from mold growth. A smart landlord will try to prevent the conditions that lead to the growth of mold. Tenants can be the landlord’s partners in this effort.
This approach requires maintaining the structural integrity of the property (the roof, plumbing, and windows), which is the landlord’s job. Tenants can help by preventing mold problems in their homes in the first place and promptly reporting problems that need the landlord’s attention.
Lease Breaking Because Of Mold
Is it possible? We tell you what we know! Florida’s lawyers frequently receive calls from tenants asking, “how can they break my lease because of mold”? A tenant residing in Florida has certain legal rights when the landlord fails to maintain the premises.
Due to the warm and humid climate in South Florida, it is common for tenants to have roof leaks, air conditioning leaks, and pipe bursts, all of which introduce water into the property
Tenants often tell that they verbally inform the landlord of these water and mold problems, but the landlord usually does not take these issues seriously or does not wish to spend the money that is required to fix the problems in the proper manner.
How to break a lease because of mold under Florida’s Landlord-Tenant Act?
This Landlord-Tenant Act requires landlords to maintain minimum housing standards when renting property to tenants.
Florida Statute section 83.51 requires that landlords must:
- Maintain the roofs, windows, doors, floors, steps, porches, exterior walls, foundations, and all other structural components in good repair and capable of resisting normal forces and loads and the plumbing in reasonable working condition.
- Ensuring the property is free of water intrusions and free of toxic black mold.
Under the law, landlords are not required to make any repairs to the property unless and until the tenant notifies the landlord in writing.
IMPORTANT: It is very imperative that you give the landlord the notice to the address as required in your lease. We recommend that you send the letter to the landlord by certified mail to ensure that it was delivered. It is fine to send the letter in other ways such as e-mail or text in addition to the certified letter.
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It is quite difficult to live in a house with mold if it is left unattended as it poses a significant risk to everyone.
Most typical indoor air exposures to mold do not present a risk of adverse health effects.
If you suffer from symptoms of toxic mold on the job, you are entitled to file a Workers’ Compensation claim.
In other words, although OSHA acknowledges that mold can be a health hazard, there are no standards. Thus, employers are under no legal or regulatory obligation to provide employees with a workplace free from mold,
If you believe that there is a mold hazard, you have the right to file a complaint with Federal OSHA or, in states with OSHA-approved state plans, the state occupational safety and Page 18 health agency.
Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin.
If mold is growing in your business, you need to clean up the mold and fix the moisture problem.
Mould will easily grow and spread if the right conditions are present. So, dehumidifiers don’t kill mould,