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TexLaw, Attorney
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Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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I have another Rental agreement question relating to tenants

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I have another Rental agreement question relating to tenants rights. Please do not just tell me whether it is legal or not for a landlord to make these terms in a lease. I am asking about tenants rights. In this case it has to do with holding a tenant liable for damage due to mold or mildew as well as for health problems. The policy addendum to the lease states that residents must keep the unit clean of mold and mildew (despite also stating that molds cannot be eliminated entirely) and also states that leaks and any visual evidence of mold or mildew need to be reported and that humidifiers and boiling food or water can cause condensation on windows that can cause mold and mildew on frames or walls around windows and to "be aware" of that. Then it finishes with a statement that if you fail to comply with the addendum, you can be held responsible for property damage to the dwelling and any health problems that may result. How is someone who is not a mold mildew expert, who despite taking efforts to keep moisture out (wording used in other leases I have seen) but like normal people occasionally boiling water or food, supposed to keep mold or mildew out when it sounds entirely impossible? How can tenants be held responsible for mildew effects on health if they cant see the mold or if the mold is due to leaks or damage that is structural and can't be seen?
You are only liable under a rental agreement to damages which are above average wear and tear. If mold develops because you don't do anything about standing water or a busted pipe, then if it was caused by you, or you simply don't do anything about it, you could be held responsible. However, you are not liable for unseen mold nor do you have to take any extraordinary actions. Further, if the property does not have proper circulation and your regular and ordinary use of the property causes mold to develop, then the landlord has a duty to fix the condition if you tell them about it. If the mold is caused by this condition and the landlord tries to hold you liable for it after the lease terminates, you would defend by saying that any mold came about because of the condition of the property which was not caused by the you the tenant

These clauses are simply trying to make the tenant liable for mold damage. They are never successfully enforced unless the landlord can show that you did something negligent.
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