It’s a big problem: mold in an apartment. What can you do about it? Walt Kane explains your options.
It’s a serious problem for many renters: mold in an apartment, especially during the hot summer months, and forcing a landlord to fix it isn’t always as easy as you’d think.
Kane In Your Corner receives a lot of complaints from renters about their living conditions.
If you live in New York City, the answer is clear: landlords who have buildings with three or more apartments are required to keep them free of mold.
Everywhere else, it’s a little trickier. New York State, New Jersey and Connecticut all have laws saying apartments must be safe to live in, but there’s no legal limit for mold like there is for lead where once you go above it, it’s unsafe. Each case has to get handled individually.
So, what do you do if you have black mold in your apartment?
Experts say the first step is to notify the landlord. If they don’t fix it, you can call your local health or building department or go to court. You’re allowed to sue for medical bills, damage to property and pain and suffering.
But a couple of things to keep in mind. First, the mold typically has to be the landlord’s fault, not the result of something you did. Also, a lot of people say, “I’m not going to pay my rent unless this gets fixed”. If you’re thinking of doing that, you might want to talk to an attorney first because there’s a right and a wrong way to withhold rent. If you do it the wrong way, you can get evicted.
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