Tenant complain about mold

19 Replies

Tenant ordered mold inspection directly without my approval. He wanted me to reimburse the inspection cost $500. I didn't reimburse him. The mold spore counts is actually very low. However, since the inspection company normally want to make $$ out of it. So, the quote to do the mold repair is $3500. This is quote is including the replacing the sheetrock etc and remediation/containment. I agree to do the $3500 repair.

The tenant lease is expiring in July. The tenant is ok tenant. Paid on time. Keep the property ok. But, his action of ordering the mold inspection kind of really pissing me off.

Here is my plan when his lease expiring in august:

- raise his rent 10% if he is renewing the current rent. (his current rent is $1450)

If this is your tenant, what would you do? To continue leasing to him or not?

Thanks.

Originally posted by @Richard Vang :
Tenant ordered mold inspection directly without my approval. He wanted me to reimburse the inspection cost $500. I didn't reimburse him. The mold spore counts is actually very low. However, since the inspection company normally want to make $ out of it. So, the quote to do the mold repair is $3500. This is quote is including the replacing the sheetrock etc and remediation/containment. I agree to do the $3500 repair.

Are you agreeing to do the $3500 mold remediation without getting a second or third opinion? How do you know the mold remidiation contractor isn't related to the tenant and is trying to make a quick buck off of you?

And get the 2nd opinion from a company who does not do remediation, nor benefits from remediation.

Did he complain about the mold and you took no action or he just ordered the inspection without telling you?

California has specific mold laws - I suggest you read up on them

California's "Toxic Mold Protection Act of 2001" authorizes the state's Department of Health Services (now called the Department of Health Care Services) to set permissible levels of indoor mold exposure for sensitive populations (like children, or people with compromised immune systems or respiratory problems). The California law also allows the DHCS to develop identification and remediation standards for contractors, owners, and landlords and requires landlords to disclose to current and prospective tenants the presence of any known or suspected mold.

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/mold-rentals-landlord-liability-responsibility-prevention-30230.html

He ordered it without telling me.

I did get 3 quotes about the mold remediation. 2 of them ~$3500. 1 ~$5000.

There was a prior thread all about the mold. It seemed to me to be a real issue, and one that I am glad to see you addressing.

If you don't want to rent to the guy anymore because of this issue, then don't renew. But if you do renew, put it behind you. The tenant acted to resolve an unsafe situation that, rightly or wrongly, he had reason to believe you were not taking seriously. Chalk that up as a lesson learned and leave it in the past, or just don't renew the lease.

What would I do? There's no way that I would spend $3500 on mold remediation unless it truly was indeed a very, very significant mold issue. Every house has mold, even mine. Most can be cleaned up with some bleach. After cleaning with bleach, Kilz will cover and contain. Even if you have to replace sheet-rock, I can't imagine it costing $3500 unless it was a very significant issue over a very large area. I once bought an REO property that had set empty for a long time and there was water in the basement and thus a LOT of mold in the entire basement. I hired the professional guys for this and it cost about $4500, but that was for the whole friggin basement.

The other thing that I would do is to tell this tenant that they are welcome to leave and move out and go somewhere else at any time, and I will gladly let them out of their lease early providing that they are current on their payments and haven't caused any damage. By the way, what caused the mold? You won't have significant amounts of mold without some source of water. Did the tenants leave water standing somewhere?

@Bryan L. I offered them to break the lease early, but, the tenant wants to stay. The mold spore count is very low according to my inspector. The tenant claimed they has "breathing" problem. But, my own inspector said that the count is so low. The mold was the found in the bathroom wall. and some on the carpet. So, my guess is it's mainly due to the high humidity. but every contractor that came in and hear the word "mold", immediately add one more digit to their quotes.

The reason I agree to fix it is because the tenant claimed "breathing" problem.

I still wouldn't spend that kind of money, especially of the counts are low. Offer to let them out of the lease. There's plenty of other places that they can go rent.

@Bryan L.

Good advice. I am thinking the same as you. I offered him to break the lease and move out early. But, he insists to stay. :(

It's pretty obvious that his "breathing problems" must not really be so bad after all if he won't leave.

@Bryan L.

:) That's true. Absolutely minor mold! You are very funny. Everytime he report issues, I also has "breathing" problem.

He told me he wants to stay as long as possible. That's why I am not able to kick him out. He is giving me headache. But, good thing is he pays on time.

As a lesson learn, I will make a bullet proof lease next time.

Originally posted by @Richard Vang :
@Bryan L.

:) That's true. Absolutely minor mold! You are very funny. Everytime he report issues, I also has "breathing" problem.

He told me he wants to stay as long as possible. That's why I am not able to kick him out. He is giving me headache. But, good thing is he pays on time.

As a lesson learn, I will make a bullet proof lease next time.

If I was in your position and you have a very good lease, I would tell them they broke the lease by not having the landlord approve the "mold inspection" which is under the repair,inspection,improvement category on my lease and file for eviction if they want to play that game.

Unless the law says that the mold level is above the safe threshold, why in the world would you spend $3500 to "fix" it. I wouldn't renew with this tenant.

As a licensed mold inspector and remediator it sounds like you have no serious issues and tenants are complaining and seeing normal mold spores in a bathroom and using it as an excuse. I personally would hire a handyman to get some mold killer and clean the surfaces with it for a minimum charge of day $200. If you give into this repair that's not needed what will be next?

Originally posted by @Richard Vang :
@Richard C.

If it's your tenant, what would you do?

If it was my tenant, it would never have happened, because sometime during the MONTHS he was complaining to you about a mold issue, I wouldhave dealt with it. I remember your original thread.

You have gotten some dreadful advice on this tthread, which in many jurisdictions would get you your butt handed to you in court. But since it conforms to your own opinions, you want to follow it. Fine. Your choice, obviously.

But you might want to consider whether the courts in California are more like the courts on the East Coast, or like the courts in Tennessee. Just a thought.

@Richard C. You might have miss out details on the original thread.

Originally posted by @Richard Vang :
If this is your tenant, what would you do? To continue leasing to him or not?

Thanks.

I am sorry you are unhappy, I will let you out of your lease. No, I am not going to reimburse you for any testing. No, I am not going to be making any repairs while the property is occupied.

eta: I read now that he gave complaints to you earlier. I am not going to read the earlier thread. I would have offered to let him out of the lease earlier.

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