Toxic Mold Injuries – Landlord Liability

Black Mold

Black Mold

A landlord is under a legal duty to keep and maintain the tenant’s property in a safe condition – including damage to one’s property and health caused by flooding  The damage suffered from exposure to toxic mold can be costly in human suffering and for the owner of the property, it can mean facing serious legal liability.

It is reported that over twenty-five percent of all homes in the United States contain some degree of toxic mold. Black mold is among the most feared and dangerous of molds. Currently, there are over one hundred strains of toxic mold that can cause severe health problems.

Symptoms Of Toxic Mold 

Mold is drawn to standing water as well as moisture, and grows on tiles, in carpeting, insulation and in the wood. Molds can damage a building’s contents or structure, rendering it uninhabitable. Worse still are the number of people every year who are exposed to toxic mold and the range of symptoms it presents, such as burning eyes, sinus irritation, respiratory irritation, depression, fatigue, dizziness and digestive problems. There are also serious and life-threatening conditions that can result from exposure to toxic mold such as cancer, bleeding lungs, bladder and kidney failure, as well as neurological disorders.

How Does Toxic Mold Gain Interior Access 

Many forms of toxic mold gain access to the interior of a building through openings in windows and doors. Flooding of the interior can occur, especially if one resides in tropical gulf states such as Texas and Louisiana.  However, it does not take hurricane winds or heavy rains for mold to spread. The causes of mold infestation can appear quite benign.

Mold can be brought in to a dwelling by the family dog or cat – and can even attach to garments such as hats and coats. Mostly however, it is the builders and contractors who fail to adequately seal a structure from the entry of water that can be held legally responsible.  The list of possible responsible parties can be many. Typically they include architects, builders, roofers, and even prior homeowners. This is why city, county and state building codes  require that structures be able to withstand certain levels of adverse weather conditions such as wind surges and storms.

Civil Litigation

Once toxic mold infiltrates a structure, it must find more moisture and a source of food. Moisture trapped within the buildings structure is usually the main cause of mold and it’s what keeps it spreading.

The increase in toxic mold related illnesses and deaths have resulted in an increase in civil litigation throughout most of the fifty states. An entire new consumer rights area has emerged making it much easier to find experienced lawyers with deep experience in this area of the law and a wide array of legal remedies to assist plaintiffs that have been negatively affected or injured by toxic mold.

A legal action alleging negligence must establish that the owner of the property failed to use reasonable care in developing, constructing and/or maintaining the property, such that, toxic mold was allowed to spread through the structure resulting in illness, injury and damages to the people who live or work in such environments.

Victims of toxic mold exposure may also be the victim of intentional nondisclosure on behalf of the seller, the real estate agent, builder, landlord or contractor. In fact any party that has a legal duty to disclose dangerous conditions on a property prior to the sale or lease of that property, whether commercial or residential, can be held legally liable for the financial damage and health risks caused by such nondisclosure.

Prevention And Clean-Up

Cleaning up and preventing further recurrence of toxic mold can be problematic and costly as well. Even if the inspection and cleanup team is unable to visibly see the mold, locating the mold-producing conditions, such as traces of water and leaks behind a wall or between ceilings, can inform you where the mold problem is and how difficult and expensive it will be to eradicate it from the structure.

For more information on toxic mold liability, black mold, mold lawyers, legal rights and remedies of homeowners and landlord liability for dangerous conditions visit tenant rights and the landlord duty to make the tenant’s home safe from dangers.

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