Who is responsible for the IAQ in your rented home?
When you rented your apartment or your home and you signed your lease, you may think that means you’re stuck with the term of your lease even if you discover that your apartment or home has an indoor air quality IAQ or mold problem. That’s not always true.
Nobody has to stay in an unhealthy environment, Nobody. If you feel that you’re rented home or apartment has poor indoor air quality IAQ from mold or any other indoor contaminate the landlord has a responsibility to improve the conditions or release you from your lease. Regardless of who you are renting from, the remaining time of the lease, or what kind of property you are renting, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to provide you with a healthy place to live.
The issue contributing to your poor IAQ must be something that is out of your control and something that is not resulting from a lack of occupant maintenance. Landlords do not pay for IAQ testing to establish the indoor air quality of your rented home you do. If there is a problem, you will need to hire a qualified IAQ consultant to identify the cause and origin of your IAQ problem and show that it is resulting from something out of your control.
If the issue is determined to be outside of your area of responsibility you should provide your landlord with a copy of the report and ask your landlord to make the necessary improvements to the property. You should always give your landlord the opportunity to make the corrections necessary to provide you with a healthy place to live.
If your landlord refuses to make the necessary improvements start looking for a safe and healthy place to live for yourself and your family. Or you could always make the necessary improvements yourself and stay put. It’s always possible to negotiate an exchange of your IAQ improvement services for rent. This can be a win win for you and the landlord.
Regardless of your decision to stay or to go you will need to show that you provided the landlord the report identifying the IAQ cause and origin from a Licensed and Certified IAQ Consultant. If report is ignored by your landlord, you should send another notice via certified mail that you are going to move.
Remember the landlord is not responsible for normal maintenance of your home. If you have elevated humidity and mold growth in the summer because you aren’t running your AC enough to save a few dollars, your landlord isn’t responsible. If your AC isn’t working correctly and the home is hot and humid and growing mold the landlord is responsible for the AC repairs and the subsequent mold remediation. You should also get reimbursed for the initial IAQ report identifying the cause and origin of the issue.
Take care of your home and always remember the Seven Principles of Healthy Homes
1. Dry: Damp houses provide a nurturing environment for mites, roaches, rodents, and molds, all of which are associated with asthma.
2. Clean: Clean homes help reduce pest infestations and exposure to contaminants.
3. Pest-Free: Recent studies show a causal relationship between exposure to mice and cockroaches and asthma episodes in children; yet inappropriate treatment for pest infestations can exacerbate health problems, since pesticide residues in homes pose risks for neurological damage and cancer.
4. Safe: The majority of injuries among children occur in the home. Falls are the most frequent cause of residential injuries to children, followed by injuries from objects in the home, burns, and poisonings.
5. Contaminant-Free: Chemical exposures include lead, radon, pesticides, volatile organic compounds, and environmental tobacco smoke. Exposures to asbestos particles, radon gas, carbon monoxide, and second-hand tobacco smoke are far higher indoors than outside.
6. Ventilated: Studies show that increasing the fresh air supply in a home improves respiratory health.
7. Maintained: Poorly-maintained homes are at risk for moisture and pest problems. Deteriorated lead-based paint in older housing is the primary cause of lead poisoning, which affects some 240,000 U.S. children.
•John P. Lapotaire, CIEC •Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant •Microshield Environmental Services, LLC •www.Microshield-ES.com www.CFL-IAQ.com
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