Mold is fungi that grows in humid, damp and warm conditions. The most common types of indoor molds include aspergillus, penicillium, cladosporium and alternaria. Areas where mold is often found includes bathrooms and basements, but any part of the home where there is moisture could harbor mold. Learn how the effects of mold hurt your health and when sickness may result in a landlord being held liable.
Health Problems from Mold
Some people are especially sensitive to mold. The effects of mold include wheezing, congestion, coughing, runny nose, headache, skin and/or eye irritation. But for those who have a serious allergy to mold, health problems from mold can lead to more severe reactions -- such as shortness of breath, fever, flu-like symptoms and vomiting.
People with certain medical conditions are more susceptible to the effects of mold, for instance, those with respiratory illnesses such as asthma or lung disease. Also, anyone with a compromised immune system is at risk of developing an infection in the lungs because of mold exposure.
When Illness Caused by Mold Exposure Could Lead to Landlord Liability
When mold is found indoors and it’s believed to be the cause of someone’s illness, it’s important to notify the landlord as soon as possible. Although some states have passed laws that set standards for indoor mold, Georgia is not one of them. But that doesn’t mean a landlord isn’t responsible for mold cleanup or for the harm suffered when there was a failure to maintain the premises properly.
Keep in mind that if a tenant or renter was the one who caused mold growth, it would be difficult to pin that on the landlord. So there must be evidence that it was someone else’s negligence. An example would be a roof that is in disrepair and leaks, which causes mold to grow. In this case, it could be the landlord’s failure to fix not only the roof, but also the resulting mold problem.
Another example is when an area of the residence -- such as the bathroom -- isn’t properly ventilated. If this causes mold to grow, the landlord could be held liable for resulting injuries.
Mold can grow in paneling, drywall, ceiling tiles, carpeting, wallpaper and around plumbing. Toxic mold has made headlines in recent years -- it was a primary concern during the New Orleans Hurricane Katrina flooding. Flooding -- such as in a basement -- is another common condition where mold may be present. Wherever it’s a problem, the main point is to determine if this was something caused by a landlord’s negligence -- whether it was preventing the problem in the first place or not taking care of it once it was discovered.
Seeking Legal Advice When Mold Exposure Leads to Serious Illness
Unless someone’s health has been significantly impacted by the effects of mold, it wouldn’t be worth pursuing legal action against a landlord. But when it’s believed there is a legitimate case, it’s important to consult legal counsel as soon as possible.
An attorney will investigate the matter to determine liability, the strength of a case and types of recoverable damages. This could include medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. The law office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. is familiar with the effects of mold and how to go about identifying the liable parties. Fill out our contact form for more information if you are concerned that mold is causing illness in your Peachtree City rental property.