Disclosing the presence of mold to a potential renter or buyer of a property is important, as black mold can be detrimental to your health after repeated exposure.
Mold disclosure in rental properties is not strictly enforced in New York’s Real Property Law. Landlords are not required to disclose high levels of mold as they rent out their properties.
However, there are still some specific laws on mold remediation. They outline the responsibilities for the disclosure of mold present on the property, the landlord’s responsibility, and clarify the liability for the payment of mold remediation.
Landlords are legally responsible to make sure that their rental properties are habitable, and so they are required to provide an environment that is free from damage like water leaks on roofs, pipes, and gutters.
While there are no state laws that require landlords to disclose mold in the building, they are responsible for the following:
- Make sure that the rental property is habitable
- Clean and/repair the damages that may cause mold
- Provide attention to the damages mold report by their tenants, particularly when the mold has caused damage
Landlords usually hire mold professionals to provide a long-term solution for their tenants. When hiring mold professionals, they should also make sure that the professionals follow the requirements of Mold Law Article 32.
The landlord’s mold responsibility is not something that can easily be overlooked because tenants have the right to take the situation up to court when the landlord is irresponsible regarding the problem.
Tenant Mold Responsibility New York
New York tenants are not obligated to fix the mold issues in their apartments and pay for the costs. Mold issues in the property are not placed on the tenants’ shoulders unless the tenants failed to maintain their rental unit.
Other tenant responsibilities and rights include:
- Watch out for signs of mold, and promptly report it to the landlord
- Reach out to their landlord and explain the situation
- After an initial inspection by the landlord, the tenant may submit a formal notice
- The tenant is expected to keep the property in a habitable state; thus, behaviors that may cause mold growth can make them liable for the mold remediation
Cases regarding mold in rental properties are only taken to court or the city by tenants when landlords are not responsive to their complaints and no official notices have been made to follow a repair.
The tenant also has the right to appeal for rent withholding, wherein payment of rent will be withheld because the mold has made the property uninhabitable. This is based on the state law that binds landlords to provide a liveable environment.
Another option for tenants is to take initiative in cleaning or fixing up the mold in their place and deduct the repair costs from their rent. Repair and Deduct is not an uncommon solution and could be helpful for both the tenant and landlord.
New York Rules Regarding Mold in Rental Properties
When handling mold in rental properties in New York, the following rules are followed.
- Landlord-tenant laws dictate that landlords that own three or more apartment buildings of any size where a tenant has asthma should keep their apartments free of mold.
- Although there are no laws in the state that address a landlord’s liability in mold prevention or remediation, New York has made it easier for tenants to report landlords who are not responsive in solving the unit’s mold problems.
- The city’s health and housing departments can be contacted by tenants especially when the mold issue has made it dangerous for the tenants’ health or has made the area inhabitable.
- Furthermore, the situation can be taken to court when the landlord remains negligent of the problem and the city health and housing department’s solutions are inadequate.
New York State Mold Law Article 32
Article 32 of the New York State Labor states the licensing requirements and minimum work standards for mold removal or remediation experts, which serves to assure that the hired inspector/professional is qualified to do so.
The three (3) components of the law are:
- Training – Mold professionals must undergo appropriate training before being licensed, required by the Mold Program. This is the first requirement for being able to perform mold assessment and remediation.
- Licensing – Anyone who identifies themselves as a legitimate mold assessor, remediation contractor, or abatement worker without a valid mold license issued by the Commissioner will be subject to a civil penalty. Expired licenses must be renewed immediately.
- Minimum Work Standards – The Department of Labor enforces minimum work standards for licensed professionals. The Mold Program provides mold assessment and remediation activities to be completed by the licensees.
Visit the New York State Department of Labor for further information on Article 32 of the Mold Law.
Mold Clauses in Lease Agreements
Even though there are no specific laws on mold in New York rental properties, there are some landlords that included clauses in the lease that protect them from being liable for mold accumulation.
In some states, mold litigations are frequent due to their laws that require landlords to disclose information about mold. However, in a state like New York where no such law exists, landlords and tenants make do.
A landlord who is responsible will follow the law in providing a safe and liveable environment for the tenants, which will ultimately include preventing mold growth, by maintaining the structural integrity of the building.
New York tenants are also expected to maintain their rental units in the first place to avoid the accumulation of mold during their stay, without the availability of mold clauses in lease agreements.
Mold Removal New York
The best way to manage mold is to hire a professional mold removal contractor. New York offers a lot of mold removal or remediation services that are guaranteed to get the job done.
Mold is not exactly a rare problem among the tenants in places that are not well-maintained. It is common knowledge though that mold removal services are costly.
Mold experts utilize expensive, professional equipment like HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) air scrubbers, HEPA vacuums, commercial-strength dehumidifiers, etc.
For smaller areas of less than 10 square feet, the landlord or the tenant may opt for cleaning/removing the mold themselves provided they wear the proper protective equipment such as goggles, gloves, and respirator.
Mold Remediation Cost New York
The average cost of mold remediation in New York costs about $17 to $34 per square foot.
Many factors affect the cost of mold remediation including how much mold there is, where it is located in the area, and how early it has been detected.
Additional costs will be included when the mold has been disregarded for too long because this will possibly cause damage to drywall, lumber, subflooring, siding, and other areas.
Mold remediation that includes repair of damages will be at an average cost of $6,216.