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Im an out of state condo owner. Leak of pipes in kitchen while tenant was not there caused what appeared to be black mold on walls and soaked through the entire bottom cabinets.  Once alerted I responded immediately got a drywall/cabinet guy to gut out everything that was moldy or wet beyond repair.  While this repair is still in process tenant is claiming her house is inhabitable and went to hotel. I agree that at the moment it would not have been recommended for her to stay there as of now from the smell alone but it looks like we will be in disagreement of when it would be considered habitable as she is googling scary stuff on mold and being overly dramatic saying she has to throw out everything that's cloth or fabric.
So my questions are (that I'm still trying to read up texas landlord/tenant law on):
-In general would I be liable for:
hotel costs?
tenants possessions she "had to" throw out?
medical bills of her getting checked out at the doctor?

Also from the description of the issue is this something where I have to bring a certified mold specialist out for them to do all kinds of stuff?  I already have a good contractor who is going through and gutting out everything.  At this point I'm trying to get this condo back to presentable decision and sell while I'm still ahead.

 

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not at all. i'm a landlord. i try to do what's fair and lawful.

unless there is utter negligence on the part of a tenant ... (more)

solarUS (Jun. 23, 2017 @ 9:11a) |

yeah,.

I don't know if saladdin was really being serious there.     But most landlords don't blindly blame tenants for ev... (more)

jerosen (Jun. 23, 2017 @ 12:06p) |

Can we keep this on topic and take the discussion on VA auto insurance to another thread.

fwuser12 (Jun. 23, 2017 @ 3:00p) |

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rated:
Mold doesn't happen overnight. It's the tenant's responsibility to maintain a proper environment. For it to have soaked through the cabinet entirely, it had to have been ongoing for a long time.

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My recommendation would be to research Texas laws regarding homeowners and renters insurance.  There is some information here: http://www.tdi.texas.gov/insurance/index.html.  Renter's insurance should cover renter's belongings.  Not sure if your homeowner's policy covers damage caused by mold or the root problem, but it's worth investigating.  If the problem was caused by renter, I wouldn't think that you would be liable for hotel costs, but I could be wrong.

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nwill002 said:   Im an out of state condo owner. Leak of pipes in kitchen while tenant was not there caused what appeared to be black mold on walls and soaked through the entire bottom cabinets.  Once alerted I responded immediately got a drywall/cabinet guy to gut out everything that was moldy or wet beyond repair.  While this repair is still in process tenant is claiming her house is inhabitable and went to hotel. I agree that at the moment it would not have been recommended for her to stay there as of now from the smell alone but it looks like we will be in disagreement of when it would be considered habitable as she is googling scary stuff on mold and being overly dramatic saying she has to throw out everything that's cloth or fabric.
So my questions are (that I'm still trying to read up texas landlord/tenant law on):
-In general would I be liable for:
hotel costs?
tenants possessions she "had to" throw out?
medical bills of her getting checked out at the doctor?

Also from the description of the issue is this something where I have to bring a certified mold specialist out for them to do all kinds of stuff?  I already have a good contractor who is going through and gutting out everything.  At this point I'm trying to get this condo back to presentable decision and sell while I'm still ahead.

 


Sounds like she's trying to take you for a ride. She should have renters insurance for her belongings. Tell her to take it up with them. No different than if the house burnt down, you aren't responsible for her belongings.

Once repair is made, tell her that's it. If she doesn't want to move back in, let her out of lease. You've done what's required of you.

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lotusgardener said:   Mold doesn't happen overnight. It's the tenant's responsibility to maintain a proper environment. For it to have soaked through the cabinet entirely, it had to have been ongoing for a long time.
  
does your insurance cover remediation in this situation?
 

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I would say the hotel costs are probably a liability until its deemed habitable.  Has it ever been deemed in habitable?  Perhaps you could get a mold test done ASAP so you as assert its safe and not pay for the hotel stay.  Also room rates per day are a lot different than say per week, so you might want to negotiate if you have to house them elsewhere.  I would say the medical and thier goods are on them and thier insurance, you have been attentive to the complaint and are working to remidate ASAP.  I don't know your local laws or issues so take this opinion for what its worth, you may need to check with a lawyer in the respective area to be sure you are doing it all right.  

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Mold is a tricky topic. I'm a landlord. I hate mold complaints. People freak out over mold for some reason. But mold is everywhere in the environment and generally harmless.
Is the tenant complaining of specific medical problems such as an allergic reaction or breathing problems or similar? Or is she just googling stuff and freaking out? If she is citing actual medical problems thats a different matter.

If the place was/is uninhabitable due to the damage and repairs then you would be liable for reasonable hotel cost during that time. (dont' write blank check or she might stay at a 5 star hotel and charge you room service).
Anything past that I'd say no to.

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It might be in your interest to get a mold inspection to make sure theres nothing actually dangerous. 99.99% chance its harmless.
I've done a mold inspection before to appease a tenant. It helped.

But be careful about what you do as far as mold inspection. Ask the inspector before hand what kind of report they provide and what it says. It needs to have a clear "pass" / "safe" or similar kind of result. I don't believe theres any legal or agreed upon definition of the 'safe' level of mold so if the report just throws numbers at here like "x ppm of mold particulates" she might think its evidence in her favor as long as x is not zero. Mold is everywhere so they'll always find some. Its a matter of how much and what kind. The bigger concern is what kind. There are 1-2 varieties that are really dangerous and toxic but they might as well be as rare as black widow spiders.

And worst case if there actually IS dangerous mold then you should know so you can take action rather than end up with a serious ill tenant suing you for everything. Again thats like a 1 in 1000 chance or something, so not much concern.

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needhelpplease said:   
lotusgardener said:   Mold doesn't happen overnight. It's the tenant's responsibility to maintain a proper environment. For it to have soaked through the cabinet entirely, it had to have been ongoing for a long time.
  
does your insurance cover remediation in this situation?

  nope.  the only insurance I could get on this condo was texas fair plan which covers next to nothing

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I'm assuming there isn't anything in your lease about mold right?

Assuming not, then next time add a clause making it the tenants responsibility to control mold and stating you're not responsible for damages. There should be examples in leases that are legally acceptable you can use in your state. Also give people a mold handout when they move in. WA state for example actually requires that.

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Don't have the lease on hand to review since I'm at work. Don't recall anything like that and we "inherited" the lease from the previous owner who had the condo with the tenant still there.
She claims she's extra sensitive to stuff in the air due to having psoriasis.

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Just get rid of her. Many leases have a clause where if a property is uninhabitable for a length of time, the lease is ended. Many times this clause is to protect the renter, but in this case you need to us it for your benefit. You will not be able to talk reason into her and the demands she will make will be lengthy. Not worth the hassle and effort. Fix the place and find a new renter.

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nwill002 said:   ... At this point I'm trying to get this condo back to presentable decision and sell while I'm still ahead.

 

  

Is selling the place more an immediate goal?   Could be a good point to break the relationship.

like wilesmt suggested, maybe you should "get rid of her" or nicely put, offer to let her out of the lease.   Id get her to decide she wants to leave and that you're letting her.

You've decided to just sell since you're tired of being a landlord.
Its going to take a lot of work to fix up the place.  She doesn't want to stay in a crampt hotel room for long.   
She doesn't want the mold exposure anyway right.
etc.

You might need to pay her off to get her out.    And if so, I'd try to get something that says that she agrees that you're "settled" or something.    That way if she decides to sue you after the fact you've got her signed agreement.   

just my 2 cents.   Not sure what the right course is here.   I hate mold complaints...
 

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For those who have gone through mold remediation, how did you select your contractor/ensure you weren't being taken for a ride?

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My mom just wen thru this same problem.

The 2nd floor pipes had a leak. By the time she noticed it- (she lives there full time on the first floor) severe mold had set in. Her home owners insurance covered repair and a hotel for her. The hotel was necessary. It confused me- because the construction is flexicore. It took months to make it right.

So it CAN be too late by the time mold is noticed in a condo.

I know all about trashy tenants- I laugh like crazy when a tenant complains about rats/roaches when it is their sloppy house keeping invited the pests~!

Good luck and keep us posted. (she lives in IL)

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I kinda want to atleast try to recoup some of our costs back from rent but the wife is much less patient and wants to get out now. We would still come out with a solid clean net for the life of this rental investment but next time I think we will invest in a better put together place in a higher end area.

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I talked to the tenant again and was able to calm down her mold hysteria by present the plan of my repair doing an anti-microbial wipe down of the entire unit's surfaces and double back over all the exposed construction from the kitchen demo before installation.
Once everything is put back together and "sealed up" along with another day of ventilation we will bring out a mold assessor to do a air sample as our assurance that everything is okay.

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nwill002 said:   I kinda want to atleast try to recoup some of our costs back from rent but the wife is much less patient and wants to get out now. We would still come out with a solid clean net for the life of this rental investment but next time I think we will invest in a better put together place in a higher end area.
  How much effort and loss of rent will it be to let this tenant go and find a new one with a fresh lease?

With a new tenant, you can do the lease over (adding in wording for mold responsibility on tenant, making sure they have rental insurance etc.). If the loss of rental is ~a month, I will be inclined to get rid of this tenant and find a new one (assuming you want to keep this as a rental).

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You weren't specific as to the exact point of the pipe leak. Was it within a wall or just under the sink? If the former, read your condo docs to see who is responsible, you or the association. If the association then start working with their insurance. I assume you've either contacted your insurance or know for certain what they'll cover and what they won't and also spoken with the tenant about her insurance.

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it was within the wall of my unit. I was told its my responsibility of the pipes until it hits the main line. HOA only covers the main line pipes and there's issues with that as well. That's a whole other story with something going on with the main line which is why we are trying to get out of here more sooner than later.  This "mold" issue was supposed to be the smaller issue before we started gutting stuff and saw much more extensive water damage.

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People do flip out over mold, but there was a case that settled matters a long time ago. I think it was NY case where it was thrown out when they said that there wasn't any scientific evidence that mold caused any particular illness. Also in my state, anybody can call themselves a mold specialist as there's isn't any licensing or requirement for it.

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mikk1 said:   For those who have gone through mold remediation, how did you select your contractor/ensure you weren't being taken for a ride?

If you are doing mold remediation, you are by default being taken for a ride.

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This thread is why you can never trust landlords.
If the OP thinks there is nothing wrong with a little/lot of mold, maybe he should try to live in it for 6 months or a year.

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We dont know that completely yet.  We had rentals and every single tenant- trashed the place.. it became cost effective to let it sit empty- which we did for 3 years.

Mold can cause brain damage.  Black mold can be a very serious health matter. ... toxic black mold is deadly and can kill you.

My moms unit was out of service for about 4 months. It is a tedious process to remove it- it rates up there with asbestos 

 

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Deadly Mycotoxins Can Cross Into Your Brain from Your Nose and Eyes
Mycotoxins3 are chemical toxins present within or on the surface of the mold spore, which you then unwittingly inhale, ingest, or touch. These mold toxins are extremely potent and often affect nearly every organ system in your body. Some effects resemble radiation sickness. Some are neurotoxic and produce central nervous system effects, including cognitive and behavioral changes, ataxia, and convulsions. Approximately 70 percent of the people with confirmed exposure to toxigenic molds exhibit significant neurotoxicity.4

Scientists believe that mycotoxins are the organism's way of holding a competitive edge by defeating other organisms that are trying to thrive in the same environment—like humans, for example.

One of the reasons mycotoxins are so toxic is they can cross directly into your brain. According to Dr. Thrasher, your olfactory neurons are in direct communication with your brain—there is no barrier. Anything you have inhaled or smelled, even if it doesn't have an odor, can go directly into your brain via these olfactory neurons. Mycotoxins have even been found to enter your brain via optic muscles and optic nerves. This lack of a blood-brain barrier has been confirmed in scientific studies.5

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/09/03/mo...

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wilesmt said:   
mikk1 said:   For those who have gone through mold remediation, how did you select your contractor/ensure you weren't being taken for a ride?

If you are doing mold remediation, you are by default being taken for a ride.

  
Would involving insurance company at the onset help prevent being taken for a ride? They would use reputable contractors?

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DamnoIT said:   I would say the hotel costs are probably a liability until its deemed habitable.  Has it ever been deemed in habitable?  Perhaps you could get a mold test done ASAP so you as assert its safe and not pay for the hotel stay.  Also room rates per day are a lot different than say per week, so you might want to negotiate if you have to house them elsewhere.  I would say the medical and thier goods are on them and thier insurance, you have been attentive to the complaint and are working to remidate ASAP.  I don't know your local laws or issues so take this opinion for what its worth, you may need to check with a lawyer in the respective area to be sure you are doing it all right.
 

Not so fast. Last I read about this, the landlord is responsible only for refunding (or not charging) the prorated rent during the uninhabitable period, not for the hotel stays, even if the hotel is more expensive than rent.

This makes sense if the landlord isn't liable for the habitability problem.

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sunsetcliff said:   Deadly Mycotoxins Can Cross Into Your Brain from Your Nose and Eyes
Mycotoxins3 are chemical toxins present within or on the surface of the mold spore, which you then unwittingly inhale, ingest, or touch. These mold toxins are extremely potent and often affect nearly every organ system in your body. Some effects resemble radiation sickness. Some are neurotoxic and produce central nervous system effects, including cognitive and behavioral changes, ataxia, and convulsions. Approximately 70 percent of the people with confirmed exposure to toxigenic molds exhibit significant neurotoxicity.4

Scientists believe that mycotoxins are the organism's way of holding a competitive edge by defeating other organisms that are trying to thrive in the same environment—like humans, for example.

One of the reasons mycotoxins are so toxic is they can cross directly into your brain. According to Dr. Thrasher, your olfactory neurons are in direct communication with your brain—there is no barrier. Anything you have inhaled or smelled, even if it doesn't have an odor, can go directly into your brain via these olfactory neurons. Mycotoxins have even been found to enter your brain via optic muscles and optic nerves. This lack of a blood-brain barrier has been confirmed in scientific studies.5

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/09/03/mo...

  That's one of the last sources I would take medical advice from:
https://www.quackwatch.org/11Ind/mercola.html
http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/February-2012/Dr-Jose...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Mercola

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Are you saying that black mold is not an irritant to human health?

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see why I hate mold complaints? You can just google it and see an alleged doctor claim that black molds gonna get in your brain and kill ya!

Nobody should need to live with mold. Its at least an irritant and worst toxic. (99% the former and 1% the later)

OP is going to great expense to remove the mold.

Also grown up adult renters should know enough to be able to control mold in their own homes. (OPs situation with a broken pipe is not renters fault, I'm just saying generally renters are responsible for controlling mold )

Mercola is a total quack.

black mold <> toxic mold

Some mold is toxic, some is irritating, colors vary and thers no direct relationship / correlation between color and toxicity.

more reliable information on molds :
https://www.cdc.gov/mold/default.htm

rated:
sunsetcliff said:   Are you saying that black mold is not an irritant to human health?
  
"irritant"
or
"extremely potent" and nerotoxic?


Spiders are irritants.   Not all spiders are black widows.

 

rated:
The funny thing about that comparison is that black widows aren't even that dangerous. Doctors don't even administer anti venom in most cases. Black widow deaths are EXTREMELY rare in the states. What few deaths we have per decade are from an allergic reaction to the venom, not the bite itself.

I know in school i was made to believe black widows were death machines, killing thousands per year. Couldn't be more wrong.

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How many people does mold kill annually?

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Well Jer- just look around at this country. Protestors sure arent a breath of fresh air- something has warped their mind

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snnistle said:   My recommendation would be to research Texas laws regarding homeowners and renters insurance.  There is some information here: http://www.tdi.texas.gov/insurance/index.html.  Renter's insurance should cover renter's belongings.  Not sure if your homeowner's policy covers damage caused by mold or the root problem, but it's worth investigating.  If the problem was caused by renter, I wouldn't think that you would be liable for hotel costs, but I could be wrong.
  Requiring tenants to have renter's insurance would guarantee that both their belongings and loss of use would be covered.

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sunsetcliff said:   Are you saying that black mold is not an irritant to human health?
You're not that good at logic. Pointing out a false argument discussing the severity of the impact of mold is not the same as saying it isn't an irritant.
But if I did say something about it, it would be supported by more than an article from some well-known quack.

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Since it hasn't been said yet....

dis house be stank

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On the tenant- many of her concerns would fall under renter insurance policy.

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People should not be landlords without knowing tenant rights, landlord rights, local laws and regulations, and requiring the tenant have renters insurance. Boggles my mind when I see these things come up and a lack of knowledge.

Skipping 35 Messages...
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Can we keep this on topic and take the discussion on VA auto insurance to another thread.

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