Mold can be a serious problem—it’s difficult to detect, expensive to remove, and can cause health issues for your renters. Per landlord-tenant laws, however, the implied warranty of habitability requires landlords to keep their rental properties free of health hazards. That’s why it’s important to spot mold issues and remediate them immediately.

Signs Your Rental May Have a Mold Problem

If you do have mold in your rental property, detecting it early is important for the health of your tenants and your finances. Unfortunately, the presence of mold isn’t always obvious, making mold detection challenging in many cases.

Mold spores are microscopic can be found everywhere in a home, but the issue becomes apparent when there’s a sign of significant settling and growth. Mold needs moisture and dampness to grow, and when those conditions are present, your rental can be a host for a breeding ground. Focus on those kinds of areas when looking for mold and pay attention to the following signs to detect mold before it becomes much more serious.

  1. Dark-colored spots are visible on porous, moisture-exposed surfaces: If you see spots on floors, walls, ceilings, carpets, and fabrics, it’s likely mold.
  2. The rental smells musty: Mold has a pungent, musty, mildew-y odor. If there is a strong smell in the rental property, try to identify if the source is mold—it might not always be in plain sight.
  3. Residents have allergy-like symptoms: Mold may be present if your renters are complaining of hay-fever-like symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, rash, shortness of breath, or irritated eyes, skin, throat, or nose.

Check out areas that have the most exposure to moisture, like the basement and the attic. Basements are usually the dampest parts of a home and have less exposure to light. Also check the attic, where a leaky roof could be creating a friendly environment for mold. Bathroom ceilings are also common offenders because of moisture from showers even if there’s a fan or window. Regularly inspect the ductwork of your HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) systems too as ductwork can easily circulate spores. Mold also loves dusty surfaces and condensation (from an A/C coil or faulty dehumidifier).

If the rental has a history of flooding or water damage, there’s an increased risk of mold growth. Spores need moisture to multiply. Do a thorough check for areas that might have water damage, leaks, or general dampness.