Who is responsible for toxic mold in a Maine rental unit?
Mold is a difficult condition for a tenant or landlord to address. Most other problems in our home or apartment are visible and have obvious solutions. If the roof leaks, we put out a bucket and call a roofer. If the water pipes burst, we turn off the water and call a plumber. But mold may not be visible for a very long time.
Leaking pipes, holes in foundations and high humidity all create perfect breeding grounds for mold. Once mold has begun to form, it can grow quickly, feeding off wallboard and other porous materials. Left untended, mold can also become toxic and can cause symptoms of health issues in your family. As with any other rental property issue, in the state of Maine or elsewhere, you should notify your landlord immediately if you have any leaky pipes or any condition that creates dampness. Contact Maine personal injury lawyers for mold cases or a lawyer for mold in apartment if you don’t get serious attention right away.
When Landlords Fail to Act
Should your landlord refuse to perform the proper maintenance to prevent mold build-up, your next step should be to file a complaint with the proper health boards. However, if you have a family member who is suffering from an unexplained respiratory issue, you may also wish to have that person examined by your family physician. Some of the common health issues that can occur as a result of long-term black mold poisoning symptoms or exposure to mold spores include:
- Mild allergy symptoms – For some, mold exposure will result in mild symptoms that are similar to hay fever. This includes having a runny nose, watery eyes and, sometimes, mild skin rashes. Everyone reacts differently to mold exposure.
- Respiratory distress – Mold exposure is particularly challenging for someone who already has a respiratory illness such as bronchitis or asthma. Mold exposure can exacerbate symptoms and even cause asthma attacks.
- Additional worries – In rare cases, the toxic elements of mold, known as mycotoxins, can cause some people to develop mold in their respiratory tracts, including in their lungs, or they may develop pneumonia.
The Mold Delay
Sometimes people think they have no recourse because the mold was hidden from view for so long. People may feel, psychologically, that a problem discovered so long after they’ve lived in a home or apartment can’t reasonably be attributed to the builder or the previous renter or the landlord. If you’ve lived in the home or apartment for years without discovering the problem, how can it be the previous renter’s or the landlord’s fault?
The fact is that it might be. What if the previous renter or the landlord was aware of water problems and chose not to disclose the problems to you? Specific knowledge of mold is not necessary. Mold needs the right environment to grow, and if they knew about a slow roof leak that was never repaired and has resulted in mold, they can be held responsible.
The Difficulty Addressing Mold
Of course, proving that a previous renter or a landlord was aware of problems can be difficult. If you lived in the home or apartment for some time without noticing the problem, it is possible that they also did not know about the problem.
However, that doesn’t mean you simply shrug your shoulders and move on. If your family has been sickened by mold, your family deserves to know whether there is possible legal recourse against a responsible party.
Why Would I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
When you or a family member has been exposed to toxic or non-toxic mold, the potential for long-term respiratory issues tends to be higher than for those people who have not been exposed to toxic or non-toxic mold. This can often result in multiple visits to doctors, including allergy specialists and others. For people who are very sensitive to mold, the long-term respiratory issues may need ongoing treatment. When a landlord refuses to address the condition that caused the mold in the first place, that landlord can be held responsible for medical bills and, in some cases, moving expenses, if the move occurred because of mold toxicity.
When your landlord has neglected your plumbing or heating system and the end result is that you and your family are living with toxic mold, contact Fales & Fales, P.A., for help. We do not get paid unless we are successful in securing compensation for your illnesses and other costs associated with toxic mold.