Mold: Tenant/Landlord Issues
Excessive moisture in a dwelling can contribute to discomfort and
aggravate respiratory conditions such as asthma. When moisture problems
occur in rental properties, conflicts may sometimes occur when trying to
correct them. You should always give your landlord the opportunity to
correct building defects and should immediately notify your landlord when
you notice moisture problems. Alternatively, as a tenant, you have the
responsibility to immediately repair moisture problems for which you are
Prior to entering into a lease:
Carefully inspect the apartment for evidence of moisture problems such
as stained carpeting, water stains on walls or ceilings. Pay close
attention to plumbing locations. Take note of musty odors. If you or other
residents have asthma or other respiratory conditions, you may wish to
avoid units with evidence of water damage, older carpeting, smoking and slab-on-grade or below-grade
units which may have higher relative humidities.
Manage Moisture and Allergens:
- Maintain humidity below 50%. Using air conditioning
or a dehumidifier will help.
- Manage insects which can be a significant source of allergens.
- Vacuum frequently, preferably with a HEPA vacuum (a HEPA vacuum has
a filter capable of removing particles as small as 0.3 microns at
- Refer to mold guidance if you have moisture damage or encounter mold,
clicking on the links above.
While dampness and mold are typically not written into local housing
ordinances, landlords do have a duty to keep premises in a reasonable
state of repair and to make necessary structural repairs. Tenants have
certain rights where conditions in the premise materially affect health or
safety of the tenant. (Wisconsin Statutes 704 Landlord and Tenant (http://www.legis.state.wi.us/statutes/Stat0704.pdf
) (PDF, 113 KB) (exit DHS)
In resolving conflict, you should always first contact your landlord
and describe the condition you are concerned about. Familiarize yourself
with the information found in the Resources link above. Document
the condition in detail including photos, date, time, who you notified and when.
Contact your local health department
and/or housing/building inspector
and describe the mold and/or moisture condition you are concerned about.
Either authority may be able to help confirm the problem and recommend an
If no resolution:
If a mold or moisture condition has been verified and a landlord fails
to correct it, you may file a complaint with the
Department of Agriculture
Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) (exit DHS). They can be reached at 800-422-7128.
When considering questions about lease agreements, it would be wise to
first seek legal assistance prior to taking any action on the lease or withholding
(For assistance identifying legal aid sources, you can clink on the links
Search Wisbar: http://www.wisbar.org/lawyersearch/ (exit
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August 12, 2014