Tenant Mold Tests & Tenant's Notice to Landlord of Moldy Apartment, Home, Office
TENANT HELP for MOLDY RENTAL - CONTENTS: What mold tests can be performed by a rental apartment, home, or office tenant? How to handle mold problems in rental property, apartments, rental homes, offices
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This document discusses the steps that a tenant in a rental apartment or rental home can take to deal with an actual or suspected mold problem and we discuss how to notify building management of a mold problem.
If you are not certain of the presence of unsafe conditions in the rental apartment,
your letter should state your observations, complaints, concerns, and ask the building management to bring in the appropriate
professional to inspect, diagnose, and if needed, specify what repairs, cleaning, or remediation are needed.
1. Notify building management in writing: You should notify building management in writing of unhealthy unsafe conditions that need attention and that you are
unable to live in the apartment.
Most building maintenance employees lack the training to recognize mold, conduct appropriate
mold inspection and testing, diagnose the extent and causes of problem mold, and evaluate the risk of mold
to rental tenants, nor specify the mold remediation procedures necessary.
2. Simple mold testing: You might be successful in identifying some of the mold suspect material you see as problematic, and you might
collect a settled dust sample to see you can pick up indications of other problem molds or allergens.
Mold tests do not measure mold exposure: However
identifying mold in an apartment, while it may convince building management to act, does not and cannot establish the
level of exposure that an individual has had to the mold found, nor does it assure that the mold identified is the only
or even the main hazard. The prime use of tenant sampling in this case is to show management that there is at
least some evidence of problem mold in the building
Our MOLD TEST KITS web page contains sampling instructions you can
follow. I'm on assignment out of the U.S. and won't be processing any lab samples until after 9/10 so if you are in a
rush you should use another lab but you can still follow our sampling procedures.
3. If building mangement responds: If building management elects to make some effort to deal with the problem:
3.a. Proper dust control: be sure that the work does not create demolition debris and mess which contaminates or further contaminates your
belongings, especially soft goods like curtains, carpets, bedcovers, which may then require cleaning, and worse,
upholstered furniture which might not be able to be cleaned adequately.
3.b. Possible contents cleaning: if your possessions are already likely to be contaminated with moldy dust they should be cleaned before taking them
to a new home; soft goods can be laundered or dry cleaned; hard surfaces can simply be washed or wiped.
upholstered furniture is in question depending on how bad it is; surface dust can be vacuumed off of it; if upholstered
furniture has been wet or has had mold growing on or in it is probably not salvageable without complete
reupholstering from the frame up.
4. If building management will not respond to a tenant's mold complaint: be sure that your mold complaint is reasonable. Getting excited because of a few square inches of mold on bathroom tile grout is often not justified - unless there is evidence of leaks inside the bathroom walls, ceilings, floors. But seeing thirty square feet of contiguous moldy surfaces in your home or apartment is in most cases adequate reason to require professional inspection, preparation of a cleanup and leak repair plan, and professional cleaning.
We do not advise getting into an argument or legal dispute if it can possibly be avoided. The costs in time and money are large and possibly worse, if the environment is actually one that is unsafe, spending months arguing is a distraction from the need to decide on and take prompt action to protect the building occupants.
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Allergen Detection What various indoor allergens look like - identification photos to help identify pollen, dust mites, animal dander, toxic or allergenic mold - Common Mold and other Allergens, Irritants, Remedies & Advice
FAQs on Mold - Frequently Asked Questions About Mold -- check this FAQ List & Site Map to see if you can find a quick answer to your mold concern
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Or choose the The Home Reference eBook for PCs, Macs, Kindle, iPad, iPhone, or Android Smart Phones. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAEHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
Kansas State University, department of plant pathology, extension plant pathology web page on wheat rust fungus: see http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/path-ext/factSheets/Wheat/Wheat%20Leaf%20Rust.asp
"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home",
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency US EPA - includes basic advice for building owners, occupants, and mold cleanup operations. See http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.htm
US EPA - Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Building [Copy on file at /sickhouse/EPA_Mold_Remediation_in_Schools.pdf ] - US EPA
US EPA - Una Breva Guia a Moho - Hongo [Copy on file as /sickhouse/EPA_Moho_Guia_sp.pdf - en Espanol
Allergies, Allergens, Allergy Testing in Buildings - References & Products
Allergen Tests in Buildings advice about how to test, what to look for, in evaluating the level of dog, cat, or other animal allergens in a building
"IgG Food Allergy Testing by ELISA/EIA, What do they really tell us?" Sheryl B. Miller, MT (ASCP), PhD, Clinical Laboratory Director, Bastyr University Natural Health Clinic - ELISA testing accuracy: Here is an example of Miller's critique of ELISA
http://www.betterhealthusa.com/public/282.cfm - Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients
The critique included in that article raises compelling questions about IgG testing assays, which prompts our interest in actually screening for the presence of high levels of particles that could carry allergens - dog dander or cat dander in the case at hand.
http://www.tldp.com/issue/174/IgG%20Food%20Allergy.html contains similar criticism in another venue but interestingly by the same author, Sheryl Miller. Sheryl Miller, MT (ASCP), PhD, is an Immunologist and Associate Professor of Basic and Medical Sciences at Bastyr University in Bothell, Washington. She is also the Laboratory Director of the Bastyr Natural Health Clinic Laboratory.
Allergens: Testing for the level of exposure to animal allergens is discussed at http://www.animalhealthchannel.com/animalallergy/diagnosis.shtml (lab animal exposure study is interesting because it involves a higher exposure level in some cases
Allergens: WebMD discusses allergy tests for humans at webmd.com/allergies/allergy-tests
Animal Allergens: Dog, Cat, and Other Animal Dander - Cleanup & Prevention Information for Asthmatics and regarding Indoor Air Quality.
Recognizing Allergens: What various indoor allergens look like - identification photos to help identify pollen, dust mites, animal dander, toxic or allergenic mold - Common Mold and other Allergens, Irritants, Remedies & Advice
Rodent control issues, including dander, fecal, and urine contamination of Buildings and Building insulation are discussed at our
Associations: Sick House, Sick Building, SBS - Air Quality, Government, Private Associations and Information Resources
Atlas of Clinical Fungi, 2nd Ed., GS deHoog, J Guarro, J Gene, & MJ Figueras, Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures, Universitat Rovira I Virgili, 2000, ISBN 90-70351-43-9 (you can buy this book at Amazon) - The Atlas of Clinical Fungi is also available on CD ROM
"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home", U.S. Environmental Protection Agency US EPA - includes basic advice for building owners, occupants, and mold cleanup operations. See http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.htm
"Disease Prevention in Home Vegetable Gardens,"
Department of Plant Microbiology and Pathology,
Department of Horticulture, University of Missouri Extension - extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G6202
Fifth Kingdom, Bryce Kendrick, ISBN13: 9781585100224, is available from the InspectAPedia online bookstore - we recommend the CD-ROM version of this book. This 3rd/edition is a compact but comprehensive encyclopedia of all things mycological. Every aspect of the fungi, from aflatoxin to zppspores, with an accessible blend of verve and wit. The 24 chapters are filled with up-to-date information of classification, yeast, lichens, spore dispersal, allergies, ecology, genetics, plant pathology, predatory fungi, biological control, mutualistic symbioses with animals and plants, fungi as food, food spoilage and mycotoxins.
Ozone Warnings - Use of Ozone as a "mold" remedy is ineffective and may be dangerous.
Rot concerns in buildings-some building mold such as Meruliporia incrassata "Poria" risks serious rot and hidden structural damage
US EPA: Una Breva Guia a Moho - Hongo [Copy on file as /sickhouse/EPA_Moho_Guia_sp.pdf - en Espanol
OTHER IAQ ISSUES: How To Find and Address Other Indoor Air or Indoor Environment Contaminants Besides Mold
Mold or allergens may not be the only or even the main indoor environmental contaminant. Don't let media attention to mold
cause so much enviro-scare fear that other, possibly more urgent hazards go un-addressed.
Rodents, Mice, Squirrel Control - I find high levels of mouse and rodent dander, fecal dust, and urine-contaminated dust in some buildings,
and high levels of these materials in building insulation in those locations. If you have a mouse problem, particularly if mice and their waste (fecals or urine) are contaminating
the building HVAC or building insulation, may need both steps to clean up or remove infected materials and steps to stop an ongoing
rodent problem. If squirrels are a problem, the cleanup needs to include closing off entry openings into the building. Get some
help from a licensed pest control expert.