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Who pays when there's toxic mold? You or your landlord?

Mold has become a big topic of conversation in the media here in California and elsewhere in recent years. While most of the press covered household toxic mold issues, commercial buildings are just as susceptible. As a commercial tenant, you may wonder whether you or your landlord pay for the damage the mold has done.

Mold, toxic or otherwise, can occur in any damp environment and grow on virtually any damp surface. Even if it begins in the commercial space next to yours, it could find its way into the space you rent. For instance if the roof is leaking in the space next to yours, it could provide a breeding ground for mold. If maintenance issues regarding leaks or other sources of moisture that are not controlled in the building are lacking, you could end up with a problem.

In some cases, you may not be aware of the issue until you, your employees or customers complain of health issues when in your place of business. Something as simple as worsening allergies may not be to blame for the flora and fauna outside. It may be worth your while to investigate and determine whether mold is actually the source of your problems. If it is, you may now be faced with yet another problem.

Who pays to clean up the mold? The first place to look is to your lease. You may need to read the fine print in order to determine where the responsibility lies when it comes to cleaning up the mold. It may help to have your lease reviewed by a California attorney to help you make that determination. On the other hand, if you are already in a dispute with your landlord regarding cleanup, it certainly would not hurt to have a legal advocate on your side.

Source: epa.gov, "Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings Guide", Accessed on Dec. 19, 2017

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