New Mold Laws Increase Risk for Landlords

Mold is a complex organism. It is the delicious key ingredient in blue cheese and mushrooms, and can cure diseases in the form of penicillin. But, it can cause health problems and headaches in some of its many forms, particularly if you are a landlord.

What is Mold

Mold is a form of fungus that grows both indoors and outdoors and thrives in warm, damp, and humid environments, like the salty ocean air here in Southern California. Mold can develop on virtually any surface, and is often caused by dampness that is not properly evaporating, such as areas with pipe leaks or condensation.

There are over a thousand different varieties of indoor mold, ranging in color from black to green to white. The good news is that most types of indoor mold are safe in moderate amounts; however, inhaling a high concentration of spores can cause health risks to both humans and animals. Common symptoms from mold exposure include coughing, chronic congestion, headaches, watery eyes, and wheezing. Reactions can also be severe enough to cause cognitive issues and even neurological symptoms.

Dangers to Landlords

Aside from the health risk to tenants, mold can also be a big problem for landlords. Since mold grows where there is moist organic material, it is commonly found around leaking pipes or roofing, improperly draining AC units, improperly sealed shower or bathtubs, toilets, and more. Many of these common locations for mold growth are behind walls or places that are easy to overlook, therefore the original leak and the mold growth from it can continue unchecked for years, causing expensive, lasting damage to your investment property as well as to the health of your tenant.

Aside from the health and property damage issues, as of January 1, 2016 mold issues can also threaten the stability of your rental income. According to the new laws in the state of California, mold issues now qualify as a condition that can legally make a rental unit uninhabitable, leading to a multitude of remedy options for tenants that can include deducting rent payments or breaking their lease due to habitability issues. This can be exceptionally difficult for the landlord, as mold problems are not always easily detected or quickly fixed to avoid this situation.

Avoiding Risk

Many landlords are unaware of the new legislation and how to comply. It’s important to work with an experienced property manager to make sure you are following all state and federal regulations and that you are apprised of changes as they happen. At MV Properties, our team stays up to date on the legal and business changes in the San Diego housing market so we can help our property owners stay compliant.

The best protection against mold and the potential tenancy issues it can cause is a well-maintained property and a properly educated tenant. A professional property management company can help you avoid such risks by promptly fixing any moisture issues that may occur at your rental property and being sure that tenants are aware of the dangers of high humidity in areas such as bathrooms and kitchens.

Let Us Help

If you are concerned about the new laws and how they may affect your rental, call MV Properties at 888-686-1525. From providing up-to-date and in-depth regulatory knowledge to ensuring a smooth and stress-free transition between tenants, we can help maximize your rental investment. Ask a question anytime by emailing keegan@mv-props.com and visit our website to learn more.

About Keegan

Keegan McNamara is the founder of MV Properties, a leading San Diego property management company offering the highest level of service in property management, maintenance, and leasing. His goal is to cultivate long-lasting relationships with his clients (property owners) and their tenants to provide an enjoyable leasing experience. Keegan holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego and is a Principal at McNamara Ventures, a real estate development, and investment company focused on residential and mixed-use properties.