Sneezing; throat, nose, and mouth irritation; nasal congestion; and red or watery eyes —these are the most common allergic responses among people who are sensitive to mold; but not everyone is allergic. One reason that it is difficult to pin down mold as the culprit without antibody testing is that there are other triggers like pollen that cause the same response. To complicate it even more, the pollen-like response is on the allergic side. But some molds actually do produce poisons called mycotoxins, and these poisons are actually poisons, such as the aflatoxin produced by Aspergillus (a carcinogen), or ochratoxin produced by Penicillium and Aspergillus.
However, even if the legal jury is out on mold, it is possible that that mold living in your cupboard or basement could make you or a family member ill; and in that case, it is important to isolate it so it does not freely get into the air; eliminate the water leakage that is supporting it; remove it; and clean the area. Otherwise, the problem, if there is one, will perpetuate. It is not going away on its own.
That’s not the end of the story, however. Just because it’s difficult to pin some health problems on mold doesn’t mean you should not take your tenants’ report seriously. For good tenant relations alone, listen to them and consider underwriting a night or two at a local motel while your workers deal with the leak and remove the moldy building materials.
This will not only demonstrate your good will, it’s also good business sense. Tenants who feel they have a good-faith problem that the landlord is ignoring are the ones who march off to find lawyers.
If you’re in California, you might want to give us a call and see about getting an assessment from Byebyemold.