When we get calls for mold, there is a certain way we must do things. First, we need to see where the mold is and quantify it. Is it around the base of the walls? Is it at a ceiling? Is it in a closet? If it’s along a wall, is it along the whole wall? Is it near or below a window? Is the toilet or the windows sweating from condensation? Is the sheetrock damp or soft when you press into it? Check the fans – do they operate well?
Next check the attic & the crawlspace for mold, water or leaks. While in the attic, check the ventilation and be sure there are no kinks and it’s positively vented. We want to check the envelope of the home, so be sure to look at all crevasses along the edges of the home. Is insulation dry & well placed?
All too often, tenants don’t think about our environment outside vs their living conditions inside. It’s mostly damp & wet 3 seasons of the year around here, and not everyone who lives in our area today grew up in this environment. I have had tenants with sweating windows and high moisture levels tell me they don’t use the heat because we don’t pay their power bill! When I told them to open a window and let some fresh air in there, they slammed their door in my face. People don’t realize that moisture from cooking, showers, and simply having multiple people breathing in a home will cause an increase of humidity. Mold just needs humidity and an organic food source to take root and multiply.
Are the closets stuffed with clothes, storage containers or things that can stop airflow? Are beds up against the wall? If they’re up against the wall and lack a bed frame, there is a very high likelihood mold will run along the walls near the bed. Is there mold around the ceilings in the bathroom or kitchen? Are the tenants cleaning their unit, or is there slime on the shower walls? If no leaks are present, no water in the crawlspace or attic, and the drywall is solid, the mold is caused by high moisture from to lack of airflow.
These homes were built to handle a certain amount of heat-load from limited number of occupants, and often today’s living conditions render the ventilation systems inadequate. Even a home with no leaks can quickly turn moldy. Living conditions are a major cause of mold, and educating tenants should be part of our mold solutions.
We get it, and I want you to have empathy and compassion for the residents. Nobody wants to report mold and be told ‘Well, the cause of the problem is your negligence.’ Getting billed for mold they believe is caused by a fault of the landlord is also not welcome, when 95% of the mold calls we receive are due to a tenant’s misuse or abuse of the living space. However, cleaning the mold, using proper ventilation, turning on the heat and allowing for proper airflow will go a long way at addressing any growth of mold. Let’s work together to stay on top of this type of Maintenance. Thanks again from everyone at InterWest Properties.