Birmingham, AL asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Alabama

Q: We've notified our landlord of several spots of mold. He had a guy come take samples & we can't get the report. Have kid

We had a bad leak in our laundry room / closet that over a years time took my landlord 4-5 times to finally fix. I've voiced my concerns about mold and mildew in places of my home. In my front closet I had several jackets grow mold / mildew which ruined them. Our landlord had a guy come take samples of the mold in which we've never received a copy which I requested...We've lived here approx 5 years now and pay $800 a month. We have a 2 year old son whom I think this is effecting. What do I need to do to have this problem taken care of..we don't have money to move right now.

2 Lawyer Answers
Amanda B Cook
Amanda B Cook
Answered
  • Montgomery, AL
  • Licensed in Alabama

A: You should call a landlord tenant attorney who can help you draft a notice to terminate your lease for the unsafe and dangerous conditions. There is not much you can do to force your landlord to 'fix' all of the mold in the house, though you do have the right to terminate your lease if he refuses to do so. Most insurance policies specifically exclude damage and health problems that arise form mold infestation, and so suing your landlord, unless under very specific other circumstances, might be difficult. You really need to talk to an attorney, and you really must move out of the house if it is dangerous. Mold sickness can be very serious and lead to permanent breathing problems, blindness, or even death.

1 user found this answer helpful

Gregory Andrews Cade
Gregory Andrews Cade
Answered
  • Birmingham, AL
  • Licensed in Alabama

A: While there are no federal laws specifically addressing the issue of mold exposure on rental property, the landlord has the legal obligation to ensure the house or the apartment tenants occupy is in habitable condition at all times. The warranty of habitability, which residential leases include in the majority of U.S. states, also refers to mold, since it can easily become a health hazard. Numerous species of mold release mycotoxins in the air, whose frequent inhalation can trigger severe allergic reactions, as well as plenty of serious diseases, in people, especially in children. Your concerns are absolutely legitimate and under the warranty of habitability, your landlord has to properly attend to the problem.

However, considering that you already attempted to discuss the issue of mold with your landlord multiple times to no avail, you need to take more radical measures. Withholding rent or hiring a professional mold removal company and subtracting the cost of their services from your rent are your next options. It is crucial to notify your landlord before deciding to stop paying rent via a rent withholding letter. Hopefully, your action will prompt them to take care of the mold contamination at last.

As for taking legal action, you cannot file a personal injury claim in the absence of a diagnosis which can be proven to have occurred as a result of mold exposure by a medical expert.

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