Most mold complaints are unfounded and do not result in expense to the landlord. Our practical approach mitigates risk, both from a financial and health standpoint.
Unlike lead, there are no federal laws covering the presence of mold or even a requirement to disclose that the property has been subject to past mold remediation. This is likely because mold is a naturally growing organism and a constant in our environment 24/7. Many Landlords think that as soon as a tenant raises a concern about mold they should immediately began major remediation work and start paying for the tenant's alternative accommodation. This is not the case.
What many tenants believe is a mold infestation is actually mildew build up, which can easily be wiped away with a damp cloth and some bleach. This is especially common in poorly ventilated bathrooms and on AC repair ducts. Black marks on the bathroom grout is mildew and not grounds for a lease termination.
If the tenant has a genuine concern about mold, our standard operating procedure is to visit the property, inspect the condition and then in most cases reassure the tenant that this is a normal consequence of living in Florida. We then advise the tenant to ventilate more frequently by adjusting the AC or opening the windows more frequently. Again, wiping down the affected surfaces with a damp cloth and bleach is usually sufficient.
Occasionally the tenant doesn't accept our appraisal and the tenant is then advised to contact a state certified mold inspector, and at the tenants expense order a mold test. 99% of the time, the mold test comes back within 'normal range' and the tenant concerns are assuaged.
In the event of the test producing abnormal results and the presence of mold we would (in consultation with the landlord) devise a strategic plan.
Remediation and build back costs can escalate, therefore in most cases we file a claim with the landlord's insurance so most of the costs are covered.
The remediation process can take a while and therefore we recommend that the tenant vacates the property, either temporarily or we cancel the lease. Both of these disposal options are covered in the lease and there will be no penalty to either the landlord.
In summary, if you hear the word MOLD, don't panic. There are practical solutions which do not break the bank.
Your rental manager can provide more information.