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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 19125
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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Can a landlord be sued for black mold if he/she is not informed by the tenant

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I own a nice rental property in Ohio. Two years ago, the tenants reported they had found black mold in a corner of the basement. I called someone to inspect it, but the tenant called back to say it had been taken care of by spraying bleach and it was gone. I never heard another word about it. When they called to tell me they were moving ( with less than10 days notice) because the husband lost his job, they paid 1/2 month's rent. When I inspected the property, I saw mold in the basement and asked why they hadn't alerted me. They said it had just recently grown again. Today, I received a text message that they stopped payment on the check because of the black mold and if I protested it, they would sue me for "everything I have" for doctor bills for their 4 month old son - who has had several colds. If I didn't know about this, am I liable? They didn't contact me by phone or in writing regarding black mold. I fixed all other repairs within 24 hours and have receipts.

If I didn't know about this, am I liable? They didn't contact me by phone or in writing regarding black mold. I fixed all other repairs within 24 hours and have receipts.

Response 1: No. You may even file an action against the Tenants for seeing the mold on the property and not reporting it to you so that you can fix it thereby making the mold problem worse, which can damage your property. See Ohio Landlord and Tenant Law Sections 5321.07, 5321.04, and 5321.05

they removed over $1000 worth of professional landscaping because they said their subcontracted lawn spray company killed them. They also painted wall black cherry red and dark green without permission. They also gave less than 10 days notice before moving. They also stated they would be out on May 15, but they did not vacate or return keys until May 22.

Response 2: You can keep the security deposit based on what the Tenants have done here. However, you must itemize you deductions and send this list to the Tenants within 30 days after termination of the rental agreement. See Ohio Landlord and Tenant Law Sections 5321.16 and 5321.17. Section 5321.16 deals with security deposits and because the law concerning security deposits can be a bit complex, I have pasted the entire language of the law here for you to make sure that you follow the proper procedures for retaining the security deposit:

5321.16 Procedures for security deposits.

(A) Any security deposit in excess of fifty dollars or one month’s periodic rent, whichever is greater, shall bear interest on the excess at the rate of five per cent per annum if the tenant remains in possession of the premises for six months or more, and shall be computed and paid annually by the landlord to the tenant.

(B) Upon termination of the rental agreement any property or money held by the landlord as a security deposit may be applied to the payment of past due rent and to the payment of the amount of damages that the landlord has suffered by reason of the tenant’s noncompliance with section 5321.05 of the Revised Code or the rental agreement. Any deduction from the security deposit shall be itemized and identified by the landlord in a written notice delivered to the tenant together with the amount due, within thirty days after termination of the rental agreement and delivery of possession. The tenant shall provide the landlord in writing with a forwarding address or new address to which the written notice and amount due from the landlord may be sent. If the tenant fails to provide the landlord with the forwarding or new address as required, the tenant shall not be entitled to damages or attorneys fees under division (C) of this section.

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