Sued 2 months after buying prop

8 Replies

inherited tenant is threatening to sue due to mold causing daughters health issues. We've owned the place for 2 months but tenant has been there 3 years. Per his request we did clean some mildew / mold (small spot behind furniture ) and it has not grown back.  Do we have a problem? 

@Mike R.

Stay calm and fight back with kindness and be a gentleman.  Everyone has a story and most likely she just want to be heard.

Frank

Hire a certified industrial hygienist to perform an air quality test (recommend this over a test kit you can buy at a store since those typically do not hold up in court. Get the house inspected for mold and if there is mold then clean it up. After that they will have trouble suing since as a landlord you have a duty to provide a habitable residence and you performed your duty by looking into the issue and cleaned it up once aware of the issue. If you ignore there requests then you could be held liable.

Check your state/local laws on this. They vary dramatically from one place to another.

Also was there a mold disclosure when you purchased?  

First of all you can't panic when they threaten to sue.   Some people are just that way. If they know they can push your buttons they will.  You could have testing done and come back to them with the results.  If they complained to the previous owner and it was not disclosed to you that is something you need to address.  If this is their first complaint I would let them know that you hate to start the relationship like this with a threat to sue. You addressed their initial issue. and the problem is resolved. What else would they like you to do?

Testing? Maybe you will need to do this. If there is a basis then you will need to remediate but I would be clear to the tenant that if there is no basis that is the end of it.  Why did the previous owner sell, was the tenant a problem? If so you will have to set the tone early on that this is a business relationship and you are responsive but not getting into a lot of drama.  I wonder how we all survived childhood with all the health issues kids have these days...

I tell people I haven't had a good week till someone threatens me with a law suit. And honestly out of dozens of threats I've only been sued once when one tenants dog bit another. Most are just baseless claims like my kid has asthma because of mildew in the bathroom that I haven't cleaned since I moved in. Mold is just the new hot button issue use to be asbestos and lead paint before that. Toxic mold is actually very rare and every home has a certain amount of mildew and mold. My advice is not to waste your money on testing clean with bleach water and buy a mildew mold suppressant from hardware store it's a chemical you put in a pump up sprayer keeps mold from coming back if on a painted surface get a fungicide paint additive and repaint area. Lastly when a tenant threatens law suit non-renew lease or get rid as soon as possible they will be a constant problem going forward.

I have run into this. Get them out, clean it up and rent to someone else

thank you!!!!  feeling better alreay

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