Most of us know that mold can be incredibly harmful to human beings. Symptoms can range from chronic allergic reactions and onset of childhood asthma to nausea, vomiting, hemorrhaging, convulsions, liver disease, and even death depending on the level of exposure and the species of mold involved.
Virginia has some strong laws regulating the actions that property owners must take in the event that a tenant reports a mold problem in the rental unit. Failure to take the appropriate actions can subject the property owner to negligence, negligence per se, breach of contract, and Virginia Consumer Protection Act claims.
If you have mold growing in your apartment or other rental unit and your landlord has failed to properly address your concerns about that mold, contact the Virginia trial attorneys at Harty Jewell , PLLC for a free case evaluation.
What are the hazards of mold?
Mold tends to grow in damp and dark environments such as in bathrooms, HVAC closets, clothes closets and other locations within a residence. Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects. Some types of molds can cause a variety of chronic allergy symptoms like stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin, shortness of breath and other breathing problems, fever, pneumonitis, and severe headaches. Other types of mold can be even more dangerous. For instance, the Claviceps species has been linked to ergotism, a type of poisoning that includes nausea, vomiting, muscle pain and weakness, numbness, itching, and rapid or slow heartbeat, and ultimately can progress to gangrene, vision problems, confusion, spasms, convulsions, unconsciousness, and death. Fusarium can cause alimentary toxic aleukia, which is a mycotoxin-induced condition characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, leukopenia (aleukia), hemorrhaging, skin inflammation, and sometimes death. And Aspergillys has been linked to liver disease.
What should I do if I find mold in my apartment or rental unit?
Virginia law requires landlords to promptly address reports of mold in rental units that they are renting to tenants. If there is visible mold in the apartment, the landlord is required to use professional standards to remediate the mold. If you find mold in your apartment or other rental premises, report it to your landlord as soon as possible using the methods set forth in your lease (i.e., in writing, through a maintenance portal, or any other way specified in the lease agreement).
Does my landlord have to treat mold in my apartment or rental unit?
Virginia law requires landlords to promptly address reports of mold in rental units that they are renting to tenants. If there is visible mold in the apartment, the landlord is required to use professional standards to remediate the mold. The landlord may also need to provide alternate living arrangements in another unit or in a hotel during the remediation. To treat the mold, the landlord should bring in a professional mold testing company and employ professional protective measures such as EPA or equivalent methods during the mold remediation.
Can I sue my landlord for not remediating mold?
Tenants have powerful statutory and common law remedies if their landlords fail to remedy the mold, fail to use professional standards to remediate the mold, or misrepresent the condition of the mold or the landlord’s success in remediating it. The Virginia trial attorneys at Harty Jewell PLLC are able to help clients obtain compensation for breach of contract or breach of warranty, common law negligence for negligent repair, negligence per se under Virginia Code § 8.01-226.12, and Virginia Consumer Protection Act claims. If you are a tenant and your landlord has not acted appropriately to remedy mold on your premises, contact us now.