Molds are very common in all buildings, including residences, and will grow anywhere indoors where there is moisture, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And
living in an area with coastal conditions also means a higher likelihood that mold or mildew will make an appearance in your apartment.
Generally, mold and mildew – its milder sibling – are simply smelly and unsightly. Exposure to mold doesn’t always lead to health problems, but some people are sensitive to molds and may experience an allergic reaction or aggravated health conditions.
There are simple, everyday precautions that residents can take to maintain a mold-free apartment. Start with the basics: Keep your home clean. Vacuum and mop regularly, along with consistent cleaning of kitchens, bathrooms and living areas. Regular cleaning helps halt the accumulation of dirt and debris, which attracts mold. Be sure to include window tracks in your cleaning routine.
If you are new to the apartment, check for signs of mold upon move-in, just as you would for any other concern such as cracks, leaks, and working plumbing and electricity.
Adequate ventilation is also a key step in mold prevention. Make sure that your apartment has working ventilation, such as exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms. Windows should be in good working condition, too. When steam or humidity from a shower or bath condenses on cool surfaces like mirrors, ceilings, windows and walls, mildew may form without proper ventilation and drying for the area. Ensuring such areas are kept dry and ventilated is the resident’s responsibility.
Additional measures you can take to keep your apartment moisture-free include using dehumidifiers and moisture-removal products found at home improvement stores.
Tenants should remove any visible accumulated moisture from all surfaces – floors, walls, ceilings, windows, furniture – as soon as possible, and always immediately clean up and dry water spills from any source.
If you do see small patches of mildew or mold, you should remove the fungus immediately by washing the area with soapy water or bleach diluted with water in an adequately ventilated area. If the cleanup is hazardous to your health, your personal items, or the property, get in touch with your landlord to evaluate the situation.
Finally, notify your property manager of any moisture, standing water or water intrusion of any kind – a sprinkler consistently soaking the side of the building or leaving pools of water where the ground meets the structure, for example. Give the landlord ample opportunity to evaluate the conditions and take appropriate actions, which will protect property owners and their valued tenants.