Asked in Civil Rights and Landlord - Tenant for Indiana

Q: I'm currently renting a house in Indiana and it is of mold. The landlord knows. What should I do?

It started in the basement he told me to use bleach. I told him that doesn't work. He could careless. Then the bathroom sink started leaking he knew and did nothing about until a couple of months ago. There was black mold all up and down the bathroom wall he used bleach on it put a new one in and set the molded one outside on the deck. Now I have mold growing out my bathroom ceiling black mold he doesn't care what are my rights?

1 Lawyer Answer
Gregory Andrews Cade
Gregory Andrews Cade

A: Unfortunately, the state of Indiana has no federal laws pertaining to the issue of mold in rented apartments at the moment. Although landlords have to provide tenants with habitable conditions, they have no responsibility when it comes to mold prevention and remediation from a legal point of view. Nevertheless, if mold exposure results in serious health issues, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against your landlord.

Despite Indiana not having effective laws in this respect, there are two legal self-help approaches you can resort to if your landlord fails to solve the mold problem in the apartment you currently inhabit. The first entails you bringing up the warranty of habitability, which every landlord has to comply with, regardless of the state. Accordingly, you can decide to stop paying rent until the issue of mold is properly attended to. This is commonly known as “rent withholding”. Alternatively, you can hire a professional mold removal company to take care of the problem and subsequently subtract the cost of their cleanup services from the rent, which is the second self-help strategy (“repair and deduct”). However, while these two approaches are legal, you should keep in mind that they are not codified by state law and may therefore be challenging to pursue.

Finally, using bleach to remove mold is highly ineffective and will not help you get rid of it. At best, it may temporarily slow down the spread of mold. This DIY method may actually worsen the problem, since most bleach solutions also contain water, which promotes the growth of mold. Instead, you or your landlord should hire a licensed mold removal company, after which the leaking sink must be quickly fixed so as to prevent mold from recurring.

Alexander Florian Steciuch agrees with this answer

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