Most residential buildings do not have any specific legal mandates for mold.

However, Minnesota law requires that a landlord must provide an apartment that is habitable and in reasonable repair (Minn. Stat. § 504B).

The purpose of this article is for landlords and tenants to better understand laws and their rights and responsibilities for mold.

Minnesota State mold laws

The landlord is not responsible when it comes to minor issues caused by the tenant’s behavior, but in situations such as repairing moisture or mold clean-up, he is.

A very important thing is for the tenant to be careful with his behavior not to cause mold in the apartment. The following tips are mandatory for all current and future tenants:

  • Prevent condensation on cold surfaces ( good air movement will help you accomplish this);
  • Use kitchen fans when cooking and bathroom fans during and after showering;
  • If you spill liquid on carpets quickly dry the carpet;
  • If there is no medical reason don’t humidifiers in your home;

A timely response is in the interest of both the tenant and the landlord because delays may result in greater costs to clean and repair.

Note: See the full list of state mold laws here

How to combat mold legally - landlord-tenant

Combating mold should be a shared responsibility between the landlord and the tenant. The landlord should not neglect his responsibilities and the tenant should pay attention to his behavior and not contribute to the appearance of mold.

Start with mold inspection if mold can be seen, if a musty odor is present, or if you believe the mold is causing health problems, and pay attention, especially to hidden areas, such as plumbing access areas, crawl spaces, behind mirrors, attics, behind furnishing, closets, and cupboards.

If after the inspection it turns out that the problem is serious and cannot be safely remediated the landlord should hire a professional service provider. Keep in mind that certain moisture problems may be covered under property or renter insurance policies.

What if the landlord refuses to react?

The lack of legal requirements does not amnesty the landlord from responsibility. Minnesota State law (Minn. Stat. § 504B) decisively states that landlords must provide habitable apartments. If an apartment becomes uninhabitable it will be considered a violation of the lease.

Local government units can assist in situations when the owners of mold-damaged apartments are unable or unwilling to resolve the problem. If the landlord fails to make necessary repairs follow these steps:

Check the lease agreement

Always have a signed copy of the lease and study it well because the tenant should understand the terms of the lease agreement. Lease agreements seldom address responsibility for mold complaints specifically, although they should include language specifying how all maintenance and repair concerns are handled.

Contact the local housing department

Check if your city or county has housing codes that govern the minimum maintenance requirements of the rental units. If inspection exists you can file a complaint and request an inspection of the rental unit if your landlord neglects his responsibilities. Make sure that the owner has no right to “punish” you or in any other way resent you if you contact the inspection.

If during the inspection it is established that the landlord has violated the local housing codes he/she will receive the order to make all repairs and will be given time to make them.

Contact the local health department