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Can I compel my landlord to fix a mold problem?

Tenants often feel as though they have few options when the space they rent has frustrating or dangerous conditions. However, depending on the nature of the condition in question, California law may offer tenants recourse to hold a landlord accountable for unacceptable conditions in a rental space. This is particularly true of spaces with mold infestations. As of 2016, the presence of mold in a rental space qualifies as a substandard housing condition.

If you have a mold problem in your rental space, the first step is to examine the scope of the issue. Mold is often like an iceberg — if you see some of it visible, there is probably much more of it in a place you cannot see. By the time that mold becomes visible, it may have spread well beyond the area that is visible. Once you have a decent idea of the scope of the problem and have collected sufficient documentation, you can try supplying the landlord with the proof of the infestation to try and compel them to do their duty and resolve the issue.

Should the landlord refuse to address the mold or agree to address it but then neglect to actually deal with the entirety of the problem, you can present the problem to the city. The City now has the legal power to order a landlord to address the problem or face fines.

Mold is not only an unsightly problem that makes your home smell like stale laundry, it is also often a serious health risk. If you have mold in your apartment, you should definitely make it a priority to get the issue fully remedied. If your landlord is pushing back against spending the money or time to fully fix the issue, you owe it yourself and any other tenants in your space to use the full strength of the law to protect your rights and your ongoing health.

Source: KPBS.org, "California Law Gives Tenants New Recourse For Moldy Apartments," accessed July 28, 2017

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