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Common Causes of Investment Property Mold

We'll Deal with Your Mold Problem Quickly

When it's time to prepare your investment property for your next round of tenants, you want to get the work done as efficiently as possible. It's likely that you anticipated having to clean and repaint, maybe you even planned to replace the carpeting and make a few minor repairs.

Once you get access to the building to begin preparations, you may find that your investment property is in worse shape than you had expected. While your property was mold-free at the signing of the previous lease, you discover mold, and maybe a few other unpleasant surprises, as you prepare your property for the next tenants.

When Mold Interrupts Plans to List Your Property

Discovering mold between tenants is a frequent complaint of landlords and investment property owners. Mold growth is typically the result of water damage, undiscovered or unreported leaks, or a highly humid environment. When you know what to watch for, when you understand how problems develop, you will be better equipped to detect potential problems, reduce the risk of mold infestation, and protect your investment.

Roof Damage

Many people consider a leaky roof to be an inconvenient structural problem. But the truth is that the water intrusion from a slow roof leak will likely lead to a significant amount of mold growth. Even a small leak allows moisture to steadily work its way from the roof, to the attic, and all the way down to the foundation of the building.

It can take weeks or months before mold growth from a leaking roof will be visible on interior surfaces. Even if you don't have an apparent leak now, it's a good idea to have your roof inspected periodically for signs of damage. Some of the common indications of a leaking roof include:

  • Curling or Cupping Shingles

  • Cracked or Bubbled Plaster

  • Crumbling Drywall

  • Water Seepage During Heavy Rain

  • A Musty Odor in the Attic

  • Wood Decay in the Attic or Around Dormer Windows

  • Discolored Spots on Ceilings

  • Peeling Paint Around Windows or Skylights

Leaking Windows and Condensation

Moisture on or around windows is an invitation for mold growth. The mold growing around your window may be confined to the parameters of the window itself and possibly the window sill, or mold could also be growing behind your wall, away from view. If the mold has been around long enough, you may also notice structural damage.

Driving winds and open windows are typically the cause of window mold in the warmer months. Condensation is generally to blame in the winter. Leaking windows are typically caused by:

  • Damaged caulking

  • Damaged seals between glass panes

  • Loose gaskets

  • Warped wood

  • Lack of a paint seal

  • A shifting foundation

To help prevent future mold growth, you may want to inspect the structural integrity of your windows. Check to verify that all windows open and close properly and remind tenants to close windows when they leave the building, in case of rain.

An Overflowing Toilet

An overflowing toilet is one of the top causes of water damage, meaning it's also a likely cause of mold growth. If the overflow was not reported to you, or dealt with effectively by your tenants, you would likely find the potential for significant damage. When a toilet on the upper level of a home or apartment overflows, the water can drip down to lower levels.

Many people are quite oblivious to the significant amount of damage an overflowing toilet can inflict on a home. Some tenants mistakenly believe they can simply mop up the water. Too often, the overflow will collect in areas not accessible with a mop and bucket. Just a few of the risks involved in toilet overflow include:

  • Water from a toilet traveling down an exterior wall

  • The potential to soak the insulation materials

  • Moisture entrapment under bathroom fixtures and tile

  • Water dripping through the subfloor allowing mold to infect the area between floors

Mold can start to grow within two days of finding a source of food and water. While the consequences of a toilet overflow seem relatively insignificant at the time, toilet overflow is a common cause of mold infestation.

Flooding or Water Damage from an Adjacent Unit

When you own a condo or apartment, water damage and flooding from an adjacent unit or common area can cause mold and water damage to your property. Water from a leaking overhead toilet, burst pipes, and undetected leaks can cause mold growth in your unit. Liability can be a tricky subject when dealing with water damage from an adjacent neighbor; you may not have been aware of a neighbors flooding problem until finding evidence of mold growth. Consider some of the following causes of mold that could originate from surrounding units:

  • Leaks in water lines to refrigerators, ice makers, and water purification systems

  • Burst pipes that could damage multiple units

  • An overflowing washing machine

  • A leaking dishwasher unit

  • Sprinkler systems

A Burst Pipe or Leaking Plumbing

Minor leaks and bursts pipes are a frequent cause of mold growth. It is not unusual for the mold caused by water leaks to thrive unnoticed until you detect discoloration on your walls, ceiling tiles, or inside your cabinets. If your previous tenant did not pay attention to the condition of the plumbing, you would likely find the results of their negligence when you finally get into the building. You may be able to prevent or detect mold growth by knowing some of the common causes of plumbing issues:

  • Corroded fixtures due to age

  • Chemical reactions and water quality

  • Plumbing connections that degrade over time

  • Leaking joints that cause a drop in water pressure

  • Unnecessarily high water pressure

  • Freezing temperatures

  • Pipe movement when water is turned off or on (water hammer)

A Failed Air Conditioning Unit

While many people understand that leaking pipes and condensation create the perfect environment for mold to thrive, far fewer understand that mold also thrives in areas of high humidity. If you discover that your property's air conditioning unit has failed, or if tenants resist using the air conditioner, mold can result. Providing your tenants with an air conditioner deters mold growth by:

  • Cooling the air temperature

  • Removing moisture from the air

  • Circulating and filtering air

During the hot, humid months of summer, a home that is left sitting with closed windows, no circulation and little sunlight may be destined for mold growth. Property owners are typically advised to keep air conditioners running even if the residence is vacant to reduce humidity and minimize the risk of mold.

Tenant Negligence

Tenant negligence is, unfortunately, a common source of mold growth. If a tenant fails to report even seemingly minor issues you could be in for an unpleasant surprise when it comes time to prepare your property for the next occupant. A tenant who fails to check under sinks for leaks or report a toilet overflow can leave you dealing with a potentially serious mold issue. Some of the more common types of tenant negligence that can cause mold include:

  • Not cleaning up water spills immediately

  • Oversaturating carpet during cleaning

  • Failure to report water leaks landlords

  • Not using provided air conditioners or failing to address a breakdown

  • Creating a highly humid environment by overusing humidifiers

  • Not using provided exhaust fans after steaming showers

  • Leaving windows ajar in inclement weather

  • Not informing their landlord about sounds indicating pipe movement

  • Not notifying the landlord of mold contamination and allowing the infestation to spread

Mold Removal Should Be Left to Remediation Professionals

When you discover mold in your investment property, you may be tempted to clear the mold yourself, or leave the task to your maintenance team. You need to know that mold removal is best left to a mold remediations specialist. If handled improperly, mold will return. When your investment property is infected, your tenants are at risk of some potentially serious health complications.

Of course, you want to eliminate the mold quickly, so you can get back to preparing your investment for your next tenants. The time your property sit's empty hurts your bottom line. That's why it's essential to enlist the services of a mold remediation specialist who is respectful of your unique needs.

Call ATP Environmental Solutions at (561) 337-0805 or send us an email. We understand that you need to get your investment back on the market as quickly as possible. That's why we work fast, work directly with your insurance company on your behalf, and are available 24/7 until the work is completed. With ATP Environmental Solutions Specialists, you benefit from our more than 30 years of homeowner satisfaction and our exclusive non-toxic formula.

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