We get a lot of questions from people about their rights are when renting a home. One of the greatest benefits of renting instead of owning is being able to call a landlord when something goes wrong. But what about when there is an issue that can cause a health hazard, like mold? We researched each state to breakdown the tenant’s rights after a mold problem is discovered.
If you are living in a rental with obvious signs of water damage, you should have the right to know if it was properly addressed. If you notice musty odors, see water damage or suspect mold growth you should contact your landlord immediately. Depending on where you live, your rights vary. The first task should be getting familiar with the laws and regulations of environmental hazards in your state.
Below are each state “Mold” regulations:
- Alabama – There is no law or regulation directly addressing mold. Landlords can still be held liable for mold problems under the warranty of habitability, which requires landlords to keep their properties “livable.” However, this warranty is controversial, since there is no defined outline of what “livable” means.
- Alaska – There are no state or federal laws that deal specifically with mold in rental units. The rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords with respect to mold can vary depending on the terms of the lease contract, the cause of the mold growth, and local (e.g., municipal) codes.
- Arizona – Under Arizona law, a tenant must notify the landlord of any situation or occurrence that requires the landlord to provide maintenance, make repairs, or otherwise take action (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1341(8)). Presumably, a landlord could raise a tenant’s failure to provide such notice as a defense in a mold injury case.
- Arkansas – Currently there are no laws or regulations requiring property owners to remediate (clean up) the presence of mold in buildings. Ultimately is option to remediate is up to the owner and/or occupant of the building.
- California – Residential landlords must provide written disclosure to prospective and current tenants of affected units when the landlord knows or has reasonable cause to believe, that mold, visible, invisible, or hidden, is present that affects the unit or the building. To be subject to the disclosure requirement, the mold must either exceed the permissible exposure limits to molds established by law or pose a health threat according to the department’s guidelines. A residential landlord is not required to conduct air or surface tests of units or buildings to determine whether 2018-R-0233 September 20, 2018 Page 7 of 9 the presence of molds exceeds the permissible limits. Landlords must provide the written disclosure to prospective tenants prior to them entering into the rental or lease agreement and to current tenants in affected units as soon as is reasonably practical. The law exempts landlords from providing written disclosure to prospective tenants if the presence of mold was remediated according to the mold remediation guidelines (Cal. Health & Safety Code § 26147).
- Colorado – A tenant fails to maintain the premises in a reasonably clean and safe manner when the tenant substantially fails to promptly notify the landlord if the residential premises are uninhabitable or if there is a condition that could result in the premises becoming uninhabitable if not remedied (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-504)
- Connecticut – A landlord’s responsibility regarding mold is generally not specifically addressed in landlord-tenant statutes, regulations, or town ordinances. However, the statutes impose a duty on landlords to maintain safe and habitable premises. This extends to the maintenance of things such as roofs, windows, and pipes from which water can leak and cause mold.
- Delaware – Under the law, a landlord’s property maintenance obligation involves repairing leaking pipes, windows, and roofs. If leaks are left unresolved, mold may result. Even in cases where the tenant created the conditions that allowed mold to accumulate, the law holds landlords responsible for remediating the problem. This is usually true, despite a mold clause that may exist in the rental agreement or lease.
- Florida – There is currently no federal law covering a landlord’s responsibilities when it comes to mold. Also, Florida doesn’t have any laws that specifically address a landlord’s duties or liability when it comes to mold prevention and remediation. In an effort to protect the citizens of Florida, Florida Governor Crist signed Mold / Inspection legislation (SB2234) into law. The new law regulates the Mold Inspection and Mold Remediation Industry.
- Georgia – When the owner of a property seeks to lease or rent that property for residential occupancy, prior to entering a written lease agreement, the owner must notify the prospective tenant in writing of the property’s propensity of flooding if flooding has damaged any portion of the living space at least three times in the previous five years. An owner who fails to give such notice must be liable in tort to the tenant and the tenant’s family residing on the leased premises for damages to the personal property of the lessee or a resident relative of the lessee which is proximately caused by flooding which occurs during the term of the lease (Ga. Code Ann. § 44-7- 20)
- Hawaii – A landlord’s responsibility regarding mold is generally not specifically addressed in landlord-tenant statutes, regulations, or town ordinances. However, the statutes impose a duty on landlords to maintain safe and habitable premises. This extends to the maintenance of things such as roofs, windows, and pipes from which water can leak and cause mold.
- Idaho – A landlord has a duty to maintain a habitable premises. A rental unit with mold growth or a bed bug infestation may be uninhabitable, therefore triggering the landlord’s duty to make repairs under Idaho Code § 6-320.
- Illinois – There is currently no law covering a landlord’s responsibilities when it comes to mold. Also, Illinois doesn’t have any laws that specifically address a landlord’s duties or liability when it comes to mold prevention and remediation.
- Indiana – Indiana requires sellers of residential buildings with up to four units to disclose in writing any known hazardous conditions, including mold (Ind. Code Ann. § 32-21-5-7).
- Iowa – Part of Iowa’s landlord-tenant law, Iowa Code 562A.15, requires landlords to maintain their properties and comply with local housing codes affecting health and safety
- Kansas – If your landlord does not provide habitable housing under local and state housing codes, a court would probably conclude that you have been “constructively evicted;” this means that the landlord, by supplying unlivable housing, has for all practical purposes “evicted” you, so you have no further responsibility for the rent. Kansas law (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 58-2559)
- Kentucky – A landlord has a duty to maintain a habitable premise. The Health Department does not have a program with enforcement authority to address mold complaints inside a residential property.
- Louisiana – Under default Louisiana law, a Louisiana landlord has the obligation to maintain the leased premise in a suitable condition for the purpose for which it was leased. La. Civil Code art. 2682. Louisiana Revised Statutes 11:1345.9 requires the State Licensing Board for Contractors to: adopt rules and regulations to govern mold remediation; issue, suspend, modify, and revoke licenses to practice mold remediation; maintain an up-to-date list of all licensees; report violations to the Attorney General; and adopt minimum standards of practice for licensed mold remediators. Establishes various required practices for licensees.
- Maine – It is a legal obligation to ensure the unit is habitable, free from medical and safety threats as well as ensuring the tenant is comfortable in the location.
- Maryland – Landlords are under no obligation to have their rental properties tested for mold contamination before allowing a tenant to move-in. However, should a tenant discover mold within the home after the fact, it then becomes the landlord’s legal responsibility to assess and solve the issue, including payment for the removal of all contaminants. Maryland law states that landlords in all regions, including Severn and Fort Meade, are required to provide tenants a safe and habitable place to live. Law requires that any company or firm that provides mold remediation services on residential property in Maryland to obtain a license to provide mold remediation services.
- Massachusetts – Massachusetts doesn’t have any laws that specifically address a landlord’s duties or liability when it comes to mold prevention and remediation. (105 CMR §410.020.)
- Michigan – Michigan does not currently have laws regarding mold in rental housing. To our knowledge, there are no local laws regarding mold either. Keep in mind however, under Michigan law landlords have a duty to maintain the unit in a habitable condition.
- Minnesota – There are no legal requirements specific to mold in most residential settings. However, Minnesota Law (Minn. Stat. § 504B) requires that a landlord must provide an apartment that is habitable and in reasonable repair.
- Mississippi – Under Mississippi law, a tenant must inform the landlord if he or she has actual knowledge of any condition that may cause damage to the premises (Miss. Code Ann. § 89-8- 25(g)).
- Missouri – Under Missouri Law, standard rental leases contain an “implied warranty of habitability”. There are no legal requirements specific to mold in most residential settings.
- Montana – In 2003, Montana passed The Mold Disclosure Act. Under the law, a seller or landlord is required to disclose the presence of mold, if they know of such a problem. The seller or landlord must provide a written mold disclosure statement when they are offering to sell or rent you a house or apartment.
- Nebraska – Landlords must make all repairs and do whatever is necessary, after written or actual notice, to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition (§§ 76-1419)
- Nevada – Landlords are legally required to keep rental premises livable in Nevada, under a legal doctrine called the “implied warranty of habitability.”
- New Hampshire – New Hampshire law requires landlords to provide safe, sanitary housing for tenants. A state law RSA 48–A:14 spells out minimum standards for rental property.
- New Jersey – Under current New Jersey law, the landlord does not have to disclose high concentrations of mold in rental properties tenants. All you must do is notify them if the property sits in a flood zone. They are about to pass a mold licnesing law
- New Mexico – New Mexico does not have laws or state agencies that regulate mold or have jurisdiction to enforce abatement.
- New York – Landlords of buildings with three or more apartments — or buildings of any size where a tenant has asthma — are required to keep tenants’ homes free of mold and pests. This includes safely fixing conditions that cause these problems, repairing water leaks and correcting persistently high humidity levels. State law requires landlords to keep apartments free of conditions dangerous to life too, health, and safety of tenants. Article 32 of the New York State Labor Law, establishes licensing requirements and minimum work standards for professionals engaged in mold assessment and remediation.
- North Carolina – North Carolina law requires landlords to fix excessive standing water, sewage, or flooding problems caused by plumbing leaks or inadequate drainage that contribute to mold (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-42).
- North Dakota – Landlord must disclose, prior to lease signing, knowledge of any mold in the dwelling that exceeds safety limits or poses a health concern. A landlord must distribute a State Department of Health Services consumer handbook once it is developed and approved. (Cal. Health & Safety Code §§ 26147 and Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1941.7)
- Ohio – The state of Ohio has no standards for mold exposure or laws and regulations related to mold exposure limits. No certification or licensing requirements exist in Ohio for mold inspectors and remediators. The Ohio Department of Health has a very limited role with regard to mold but will answer questions from the public.
- Oklahoma – The landlord has a responsibility to ensure proper living conditions for their tenants, which includes having premises free from any kind of mold contamination. If a tenant and has discovered mold, then it is the duty of the landlord to get the mold removed and pay for any such removal.
- Oregon – The landlord is legally required to keep the rental “habitable,” which is legalese for livable. That means that the landlord must make any repairs necessary to stop the growth of mold in the unit.
- Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania doesn’t have any statutes or regulations that require landlords to disclose high concentrations of mold in rental properties to prospective tenants or buyers.
- Rhode Island – There are no current, specific, mold regulations. However, there are multiple laws and regulations that require safe and habitable housing, that specifically address moisture and ventilation, and otherwise touch on mold-related housing standards. For example, the Rhode Island Residential Landlord and Tenant Act requires the landlord to maintain the premises, and make necessary repairs. (RIGL §34-18.)
- South Carolina – State law does not protect tenants from mold. In South Carolina, there are no laws to protect you or force your landlord to clean it up.
- South Dakota – Requires sellers of a residential property to provide a form disclosing known hazardous conditions including radon, mold, methane gas, lead paint, asbestos insulation, urea-formaldehyde foam insulation, and toxic materials, as well as any known testing for such conditions. §§ 43-4-37–44 – WHat about tenants?
- Tennessee – The Tennessee Department of Health does not have the authority to inspect and require landlords to address mold issues in rental property. Laws to address mold directly are not common. However, in some cases, local building codes may help to address the problems that contribute to mold growth.
- Texas – Landlords in Texas must abide by the “implied warranty of habitability.” This legal doctrine requires the landlord to provide a property in a livable condition. All persons performing mold assessments and mold remediation in Texas, if not exempt under the Texas Mold Assessment and Remediation Rules, are required to be licensed or registered.
- Utah – Under the Utah Fit Premises Act, landlords have a duty to maintain what the law calls “standards of habitability.” Landlords are often responsible for any cleaning and repairs that may be necessary to get rid of it.
- Vermont – Authorizes the state Department of Health to promulgate rules and regulations for preserving public health. Rules (Yt. Admin. Code 12-5-25:8) establish habitability standards for rental dwellings, including the requirement that dwelling units “be maintained to be free from the regular or periodic appearance of standing water or excessive moisture which may result in visible mold growth. There are no Vermont certifications or licenses for mold remediation or testing.
- Virginia – Landlords must disclose any visible mold to tenants before they move in, and take prompt action to remove the mold. In addition, tenants must “use reasonable efforts” to maintain their apartment and prevent the accumulation of moisture and the growth of mold.
- Washington – The landlord must, at all times during the tenancy, keep the premises fit for human habitation (warranty of habitability). Specifically, the landlord must (1) maintain the dwelling unit in reasonably weathertight condition and (2) provide tenants with the information provided or approved by the department of health about the health hazards associated with exposure to indoor mold. (Wash. Rev. Code § 59.18.060).
- Washington DC – All mold professionals must maintain a general liability insurance coverage of at least one million dollars, unless covered under an employer’s policy. Licensed professionals may only perform services they are licensed to conduct. A licensed mold assessor is permitted to record observations, take measurements, collect samples, plan and conduct surveys, prepare reports, and develop and evaluate mold remediation and management plans.
- West Virginia – The duty of the landlord to maintain a premise; requiring a landlord to address issues of accumulation and the growth of mold, and requiring the landlord to perform mold remediation in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards.
- Wisconsin – While dampness and mold are typically not written into local housing ordinances, landlords do have a duty to keep premises in a reasonable state of repair and to make necessary structural repairs. Tenants have certain rights where conditions in the premises materially affect the health or safety of the tenant.
- Wyoming – In every residential lease, there is an implied warranty of habitability which is breached with the presence of mold.
In an attempt to shield themselves from liability due to illness resulting from mold, some landlords insert mold clauses in the rental agreement that provides the landlord immunity from liability in such cases.
To learn more about the laws where you live, contact your local Health Department.
If you suspect you have mold in your home please connect with us today.
The information contained on this site is for informational and educational purposes only. It does not represent a health diagnosis, therapeutic recommendation or prescription for treatment. We urge you to consult and obtain medical advice from a licensed, trained, and competent medical provider for concerns with health issues.
3. To see whether your state is considering mold-related legislation that might affect residential rentals, you can search the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Environmental Health State Bill Tracking Database.