Estimating the Menace of Mold

My roommates and I recently found mold in our house. It’s in the basement and a lot of the walls on the first floor have mold in them. We rent it from a local landlord, and the local landlord is… not great. It looks like the house hasn’t been taken care of in a while. We reached out to them and they sent someone over to look at it, but they haven’t done a full cleaning yet. While we wait, we’re wondering if we should move out or stay with friends. How dangerous is it if we say? When they do send people in to do a cleaning, what will happen? I just want to know, in case we have to move all of our stuff.

Mold can be a serious problem. It depends on the mold, but they can range from merely messy to totally toxic. At best, it can get into and damage your furniture. At worst, it can do the same with your lungs. Molds can also cause allergies, chronic health problems, and asthma. To deal with this problem, you will want a plan.

You asked how dangerous it is to stay. That depends on the type of mold in your home. To decide what to do, you should familiarize yourself with what might be lurking in your walls. This guide lists eleven different types of molds that are commonly found in houses. Domestic molds run the gamut from aureobasidium, which can damage wooden floors and furniture, to stachybotrys chartarum, also called black mold or toxic mold. If you or your roommates have any problems with your health, you should see a doctor and let them know. You do not want the problems getting any worse than they are.

Counterintuitively, you do not want to clean all of the mold up yourself. You have already done the right thing by calling your landlord, since you have set the wheels in motion to get the house cleaned. You should also take photos of the mold to keep a record of it. Mold is often the result of moisture leaking into the home, so it is possible that another problem like a leaky window or shower drain is contributing. If that is the case, your landlord is responsible to cleaning up the mold as well as repairing the issues responsible for causing the water infiltration in the first place.

It sounds like your landlords have sent over somebody to inspect the mold, which is a perfectly fine first step. According to Water Mold Fire Restoration of Houston, mold removal is a multi-step process. The removers must test the mold and give your landlords a work estimate. Once that estimate is made, there are several routes the mold removal could take. They may end up spraying the mold in order to kill it, or they may demolish several of the walls. They may even set up a containment room and “fogger” to kill the last mold spores in your home. It all depends on the type of mold they find.

So should you move? It depends on your own health. If it is impacted by the mold right now, it is time to crash with friends. If it is only musty smell, you can stay put. The caveat to this, though, is what might happen when mold removal begins. For this, you should negotiate with your landlord. You need enough time to move out if the pros are going to do demolition, and you are entitled to the rights granted to you by your lease. If your landlord does not cooperate with you, or if you are sick and the mold removal is taking too long, you can easily find step-by-step guides on what you should do.

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