Landlord-Tenant Issues: Who's Responsible For Mold & Repairs

ST. LOUIS, MO -- Water, pouring into an apartment complex hallway. One renter said the water was pouring into her apartment for 12 hours! What would you do? Call for help right? This renter did. She said she and her neighbors called their maintenance and management companies and didn't get any help. The next morning - more bad news. Marishiah Creswell says, "A building inspector came and evacuated us. Said that I was forced to evacuate because the building had been deemed condemned."

Condemned? Now what? Marishiah didn't have a place to go. So she called her apartment management company again. "They said, 'You'll just have to find somewhere to stay because the buildings are being worked on, and until then you are on your own.'"

You're on your own? No one wants to hear that. But what do you do? Well many people turn to us. One of the most common calls 2 Wants to Know gets is from people with landlord-tenant issues. So we're running down the basics:

  1. Document the problem with photos.
  2. Let the landlord know there is a problem with the living conditions. Don't call the tv station or the city. Call the landlord or management company first and also send them your complaint in writing.
  3. Pull out your lease. See if it covers condemnation and emergency provisions. And what your landlord is responsible for.

Those documents could help you be reimbursed for the expense of emergency shelter if you go to court. The property manager found Marishiah a temporary unit to stay in and it worked out well. But that was in Missouri.

Here in North Carolina, the story is different. If the rental is condemned, there's no law forcing the landlord to give you another place. But this is also the one time where it's okay not to pay rent. Landlords cannot accept rent when the property is condemned.

So what do you do if you don't have a place to stay? Two options: Check your renters insurance. It may help with an emergency stay. And the Red Cross is a last resort for an emergency night stay.

Mold is the top landlord tenant complaint we receive. There are no national regulations regarding the amount of mold that can legally be present in a rental property. And there are no federal codes that address mold testing or mold removal for rental properties. And North Carolina has no mold laws for rental properties. So - what are your rights when it comes to mold?

As a renter, you have the right to a habitable living environment and to have repairs fixed. Renters must give the landlord written notice of needed repairs and - except in emergencies - the landlord has 30 days to make repairs.

Now - don't miss this: The renter is fully responsible for mold damage if the mold is a result of something *you* did! If your fish tank leaks onto the floor and mold grows, you are responsible for the price of the cleanup, not your landlord.

Here are some tools to navigate the landlord tenant relationship:
complaint process
repair process
mold and tenant rights


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