Mold Laws for Landlords

Mold growth on greenboard ceiling in a bathroom.
Mold growth on greenboard ceiling in a bathroom.

There have been a lot of recent changes in laws that govern landlord-tenant relationships in San Francisco.

One of the most notable is SB 655. We encourage you to read this bill yourself.

The California Apartment Association did a marvelous job of limiting certain provisions in SB 655. However, there remain problems for landlords.

It is cheaper and easier to listen to your tenants’ issues and respond to them with a correction, if possible.

A polite, responsible discussion among adults can usually correct mold related problems. However, if routine maintenance is neglected for many years and there are multiple roof patches, etc., etc., then yes, it’s going to get expensive.

The only thing landlords have to sell is time (occupancy). If the “polite, respectful discussion” collapses into screaming and threats, expect it to cost everyone a lot of money. You lose the tenants and have a vacant unit. Your insurance goes up. The SFDBI can become a costly with Notices of Violation and building permits.

Yes, some tenants that will say anything when they can’t pay the rent. And yes, a few tenants  will allow thirty people to live, shower, and cook in a studio apartment (this is guaranteed to cause mold growth). But there are also landlords that don’t repair toilets for tenants, don’t supply heat or exhaust fans, or deal with pest problems.

You can’t clean up the mold with bleach. All it will do is lighten the paint – the mold will return. You have to find and fix the leak and remove the moldy building materials.

You can reduce interior humidity from showers and cooking by installing a humidistat bathroom fan. This is wired by your electrician and goes on anytime the interior humidity exceeds 52%. This will create a less favorable environment for mold to grow. It’s noisy. But it works. There is no off switch.

We also encourage you to visit the unit of concern and see for yourself.

Contact Us to discuss your specific issues.

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