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I signed a year lease beginning Nov 1. While cleaning, I…

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I signed a year lease...
I signed a year lease beginning Nov 1. While cleaning, I discovered mold in the wall under the kitchen sink that extends behind the cabinets -- it is not a light growth and it is likely more than 10 sq ft. Landlord got a free inspection with written findings from a mold remediation expert, but is opting to use a handyman to do remediation... They want him to pull out the cabinets, clean them, and put them back, with no sanitation protocol or oversight. I would have no assurance of protection of my health or belongings, or that the situation is remedied. Would like to break lease.
Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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12/4/2017
Lawyer: LandlordTenantAnswer, Attorney replied 7 months ago
LandlordTenantAnswer
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Lawyer: LandlordTenantAnswer, Attorney replied 7 months ago

Once the work is done, have you spoken to the landlord about having someone come out and test again, to see if this was cured?

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Actually, they are relying on the handyman to YouTube mold remediation. No oversight, protocol, or testing is planned. Unclear as to how law defines remediation at minimum.
Lawyer: LandlordTenantAnswer, Attorney replied 7 months ago

Thank you for the reply. If the rental is not habitable, you would have a basis to break the lease and vacate, if the landlord is unable or unwilling to remedy and cure the problem. If there are mold issues and it affects your health and well being, the landlord needs to PROPERLY cure this. If his handyman cannot do this and there are issues that still remain thereafter, you could demand they fix it again or vacate. It is very odd that are relying on youtube for this but if they do, have it tested after and if there are still signs, advise them of the same and vacate if they will not fix it since your health is at risk.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Unfortunately, there needs to be a clear definition of habitability. I am having difficulty finding where this is codified so that legal pressure can be brought to bear. Are there legal structures around who can perform the work, or are there even any around what is considered an acceptable result? How are my belongings protected during the process if NO protocol is followed?I work in Regulatory for the pharmacy industry, so am aware of the need for clear protocols and quality control.
Lawyer: LandlordTenantAnswer, Attorney replied 7 months ago

What state is the property located in?

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
California, San Mateo County (unincorporated).
Lawyer: LandlordTenantAnswer, Attorney replied 7 months ago

Thank you. A rental unit must be fit to live in; that is, it must be habitable. In legal terms, "habitable" means that the rental unit is fit for occupation by human beings and that it substantially complies with state and local building and health codes that materially affect tenants' health and safety. While the unit is being rented, the landlord must repair problems that make the rental unit unfit to live in, or uninhabitable. The landlord has this duty to repair because of a California Supreme Court case, called Green v. Superior Court,130 which held that all residential leases and rental agreements contain an implied warranty of habitability. Under the "implied warranty of habitability," the landlord is legally responsible for repairing conditions that seriously affect the rental unit's habitability. That is, the landlord must repair substantial defects in the rental unit and substantial failures to comply with state and local building and health codes. However, the landlord is not responsible under the implied warranty of habitability for repairing damages that were caused by the tenant or the tenant's family, guests, or pets.

Moreover, while any work is being done, they would have to make sure your property is not damaged.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
thank you, ***** ***** this online too, earlier. Since there is no definition given if habitability or what constitutes acceptable repair, in other words, something that would require a landlord to hire a qualified individual for mold remediation that has measurable results, this passage is merely an overview or introduction. I have contacted the county Environmental Protection dept., who are familiar with starr codes, to inspect. There may be septic issues as well. Perhaps he can inform me of the legal details related.
Lawyer: LandlordTenantAnswer, Attorney replied 7 months ago

If this was toxic and needed to be handled by a professional, the landlord could not use the handyman. If there is mold from water and the cabinets can be removed and drywall replaced, a handyman should able to do it. Of course, if the require requires a permit or anything, someone licensed, would need to likely be used as well.

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Lawyer: LandlordTenantAnswer, Attorney replied 7 months ago

Habitability is defined above. It states that " the rental unit is fit for occupation by human beings and that it substantially complies with state and local building and health codes that materially affect tenants' health and safety". As such, you would want to show it is not safe to live in and the mold poses a risk of threat and harm to your health and well being.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I would have to get sick before I had recourse. Makes no sense.In the past, I did get sick from mold exposure. Took a year to recover. I cannot afford for that to happen again. I may need to find other ways for the landlord to let me out of the lease.
Lawyer: LandlordTenantAnswer, Attorney replied 7 months ago

No. This would and could be tested and they would be able to determine, the effect of it and severity. If you have a concern about the mold now, hire a third party to test it, so you know how serious this is and then you can proceed accordingly.

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Lawyer: LandlordTenantAnswer, Attorney replied 7 months ago

I just wanted to follow up and see if you had any other questions or needed me to clarify something. I am here to help, so please let me know. Thanks!

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