Mold and Other Dangerous Defects
Landlord Liability for Mold in Rental Housing in Maryland
Mold growth in rental housing can be a serious health concern for tenants. In Maryland, like many other states, landlords have certain responsibilities when it comes to addressing mold issues in rental properties. This blog post explores landlord liability for mold in rental housing in Maryland, citing relevant laws and regulations.
Mold is a type of fungus that can grow in damp and humid conditions. It often appears as unsightly, discolored patches on walls, ceilings, and other surfaces. While not all molds are toxic, some types, such as black mold, can produce mycotoxins that may lead to health problems, particularly for individuals with respiratory issues or allergies.
Maryland's Mold Laws
Maryland does not have specific mold laws or regulations that directly address mold in rental properties. However, landlords are obligated to provide safe and habitable living conditions for their tenants, which includes addressing issues that can lead to mold growth. The following laws and regulations are relevant to landlord liability for mold in Maryland:
Implied Warranty of Habitability: Under Maryland common law, there is an implied warranty of habitability in all residential leases. This means that landlords are responsible for maintaining rental properties in a condition that is safe and fit for human habitation. Mold issues that make a property uninhabitable may breach this warranty.
Maryland Code, Real Property § 8-211: This law requires landlords to maintain the premises in a clean and sanitary condition. If a mold issue arises due to a failure to maintain cleanliness, the landlord may be held liable.
Tenant's Right to Withhold Rent: In some cases, tenants may have the right to withhold rent or make repairs themselves if the landlord fails to address mold problems after proper notice. However, tenants must follow specific procedures outlined in Maryland law (Maryland Code, Real Property § 8-211) to exercise this option.
Notice and Repair: Tenants are generally required to provide written notice to their landlords about mold problems. The landlord is then obligated to take reasonable steps to address the issue promptly.
Landlords in Maryland are expected to take the following steps to address mold issues and avoid potential liability:
Prevention: Landlords should proactively take steps to prevent mold growth by addressing leaks, improving ventilation, and maintaining a clean property.
Prompt Response: When tenants report mold problems, landlords should respond promptly, investigate the issue, and take necessary actions to remediate the mold.
Professional Remediation: In cases of extensive mold infestations or toxic mold, landlords should hire qualified professionals for mold remediation to ensure the safety of the property and its occupants.
While Maryland does not have specific mold laws, landlords are legally responsible for maintaining rental properties in a habitable condition, which includes addressing mold issues. Tenants also have rights and responsibilities in these situations. If you believe your landlord is not addressing a mold problem in your rental property, it is advisable to consult with legal counsel and document the issue thoroughly. Mold issues should be addressed promptly to protect the health and well-being of tenants and to prevent potential legal disputes.