“Ask Kari” is a monthly, Question & Answer feature from Kari Negri. Kari has two decades of property management experience, is a featured speaker at many industry trade shows, such as AAGLA’s annual trade show, and is the CEO of SKY Properties, Inc. in Los Angeles.
El Niño Still Coming?
February is usually our wettest month, but turned into a heat wave. January was recorded as the warmest January on record according to NASA. What we need to know, as building owners and managers, about heat and rain is that together they are the perfect storm to grow mold.
As of January 1, 2016, mold is considered a substandard housing condition as defined in California Health and Safety Code 17920.3. Here is a general introduction, with some tips and highly recommended links, building owners might consider regarding mold.
Know your responsibility. Before cutting open a wet ceiling or wall, please make sure that the person you have working is both Mold and Lead Certified. One of the big problems Housing Providers are constantly dealing with is leaking water. Whether it is from a pipe or the sky above, leaking water is extremely important to address immediately after it happens. If water intrusion into a unit is ignored, and heat is present, there is potential for rapid mold growth. How it is handled is key. Most maintenance men think that just cutting out the wet patch will take care of it, and sometimes it will, but not putting up the proper barrier between the problem and the tenant’s belongings can be a huge mistake. You never know what you will find when you cut into a wall or ceiling. Putting up a proper barrier is equivalent to wearing safety glasses. You don’t wear them because a nail is going to come rocketing towards your eye. You wear them in case a nail comes rocketing towards your eye. All precautions must be taken because, as described in, “California Tenants – A Guide to Residential Tenants’ and Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities“: “Before renting a rental unit to a tenant, a landlord must make the unit fit to live in, or habitable. Additionally, while the unit is being rented, the landlord must repair problems that make the rental unit unfit to live in, or uninhabitable. The landlord has this duty to repair because of a California supreme Court case, called Green v. Superior Court, which held that all residential leases and rental agreements contain an implied warranty of habitability. Under the “implied warranty of habitability,” the landlord is legally responsible for repairing conditions that seriously affect the rental unit’s habitability.” The presence of mold can now be considered a habitability issue.
What is mold?
The California Department of Public Health defines mold as, “Simple, microscopic organisms, present virtually everywhere, indoors and outdoors. Mold growth on surfaces can often be seen as discoloration, frequently white, gray, brown, or black but also green and other colors. Molds, along with mushrooms and yeasts, are fungi and are necessary to break down dead plant and animal material and to recycle nutrients in the environment.”
Signs of mold.
Molds often have an earthly discolored appearance. They appear in many colors, but are often white, gray, brown or black. Even if there is no earthy or moldy smell, if you see water stains (often water damage on ceilings, drywall or wood), it is worth further inspection and repair. Again, do not try to address the issue without having the proper training, or hiring someone that does, so that residents in the apartment are protected.
Why mold is harmful.
Molds cause allergy, inflammation and infection. Mold’s depth and severity on one’s health varies with each individual. For example, it is more harmful to individuals with current health conditions, such as asthma or compromised immune systems (cancer patients, autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and HIV).
California has released a lot of information about the mold issue. To make the information easily accessible, I have created a webpage for your convenience and reference. Please visit: http://www.skypropertiesinc.com/mold/
As always, please remember, I am not an attorney. Seek clarification through your attorney. All articles are simply an opinion. Stay in touch at www.GetSky.net
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