Renters who don’t know they need to Repair Water Damage can get very upset. And with
the renting process the way it is, it’s easy to see why it can become a nightmare.
There are a number of considerations that will go into renting a property. A normal
rental checklist will include searching for a particular number of bedrooms and
bathrooms, the garage, location and possibly the types of appliances a property is
rented along with. Unfortunately, asking about previous water damage and mold is
usually not on the list. And also, if it is, it is unlikely that the info will be
A simple visual examination of a property is usually not enough to find hidden
sources of water damage. Often, walls are painted prior to being occupied by the new
renter; hence, visual evidence of mold or even water damage can be concealed. Also,
it could be the case that water damage occurred in years past and is hibernating
until spring after you take ownership and move into your brand new water-damaged
A recent example of renting a house with unknown water damage involves a non-profit
group from Texas that also recently rented an older home for a historic museum. The
group got allocated $5000 towards renovating the particular historic property to
house the art gallery. Unfortunately, upon renovating the property, harmful black
mold was discovered inside the walls.
Shortly after the mold was found, several of the staff, who also lived on site, began
to experience the ill effects of the mold, including getting up almost daily to
severe headaches. Along with feeling unwell, the group was worried about the fragile
condition of the museum’s artifacts being exposed to the mold too. Unable to afford
mold remediation, the group is now facing having to relocate the museum or close it.
Another example of unknown water damage involves a couple who rented a condo in
Clearwater, Florida recently. After sitting with their house on the market for over a
year within the poor Florida real estate market, their house at last sold, and they
had two weeks to move out. Fortunately, they were packed; sadly, they didn’t have
much time to choose their future rental.
Within a couple of days, they managed to secure a decent lease. At first glance, it
looked fine: brand new carpet, fresh white paint. The particular couple moved into
their condo a week later and were quickly realized there was previous water damage.
The breakthrough began with strange signs like a sudden infestation of carpenter ants
(ants are apparently drawn to humidity). Both of them began to experience nose
problems and the wife began to awaken in the middle of the night with terrible head
aches that would last throughout the day.
Even their own two dogs started to have difficulties: itchy earlobes and paws. Right
after seeing doctors and taking the canines to the vet without any relief, the
particular couple began to suspect something else was to blame: mold. Sure enough,
one day they pulled back the blinds associated with their bedroom window and the
whole window and wall beside the window was covered with black mildew.
Upon checking the rest of the windows in the home, they discovered that every window
had mold growing on it and on to the wall it was in. The couple continued to inspect
the home. There was an excess of mold growing in the inexpensive plastic shower
stalls, under the laminate kitchen floor and underneath the carpeting. The couple
wanted out of their lease and then moved out.
What exactly was the water damage culprit in both of those occurrences? In the case
of the museum, the home had fallen victim to numerous water surges. Flooding caused
water damage that was still left untreated and thus resulted in years of dark mold
growth within the walls.
Regarding the condo renters, there were a few causes. First, the air conditioning
device was old, leaked and should have been replaced; however, the landlord failed to
want to pay for the replacement. Additionally, the windows were single paned, there
were gaps and cracks by doors leaving airflow space, there was clearly insufficient
venting for the kitchen as well as the bathrooms and the previous tenants smoked
inside the home, leaving windows open often.
In general, the comparative humidity of the condo was averaging about 73% (mold can
develop if the humidity level rises over 55%). Even though the couple attempted to
reduce the humidity levels with a dehumidifier, prior years of carelessness plus
ineffective repair efforts led to the infestation associated with mold.
It’s a good rule of thumb to check out possible sources of water damage in a leased
property before signing a lease. What are a tenant’s rights in a water damaged apartment?
How old is the framework? If it is a historic building such as the museum, chances are it may have suffered water damage and mold at some point. Check appliances, especially dish washers and air conditioners. Are the units aging, rusting or leaking? Is the ac itself clean? Does it work
efficiently? Verify the condition of walls: do you see any bubbling or puffiness on
wall areas? Are the windows and door fittings tightly sealed? Are the windows
single-pane? Do a visual inspection. Are you able to see any mold anywhere?
It is a shame that renters sometimes get the poor end of the deal, so being proactive
is crucial. If you suspect water damage or mold in a rental property you are
interested in, point out your concerns to the landlord and insist on an inspection by
a certified water damage and mold remediation company (go to
www.waterdamagecenter/service-areas to see if there is a Water Damage Center near you
). A rental property may look clean, but remember: paint can only hide flaws from
water damage; and it doesn’t destroy mold. And if water damage repair is needed,
finding out BEFORE you sign that lease is essential.
Be careful and look closely at the property you are considering – beyond how appealing it may look visually. Be thorough and detailed. And if you have a concern, don’t commit until you have professional assurance that the rental property is as safe as it is beautiful. Your family’s health could depend on how smart you approach your search for the RIGHT rental – and the prudence you display right now.