Mold in My Apartment: What Should I Do?

By: ROS Team

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There are certain issues that you might encounter when living in an apartment. For example, dealing with noisy neighbors can make home life unpleasant, or the building’s broken elevator can make accessing your apartment inconvenient. But if there is one thing no renter wants to deal with: mold. In this article, we will talk about mold in the apartment and how long it should take for a landlord to fix a mold problem.

Mold in NYC Apartments

You may have seen mold growing on a piece of bread that looked like a bright or dark green furry spot that was easy to identify. But structural mold looks different–you will be able to identify it quickly because it’s usually black, not green. If you spot the clusters of black dots in places underneath your sink or along with your ceilings or walls, you likely have mold in your apartment.

Bear in mind that you cannot always detect mold. So, if you suddenly start smelling funky stale air, or you begin to experience new health problems like sudden onset chronic nasal congestion or persistent breathing problems, it should raise concerns with you.

What Causes Mold Growth in Apartments?

The primary source of mold growth is excessive moisture in your apartment. This may be due to an undetected or unaddressed leak in your apartment, be it from a broken or leaking pipe in the wall or a faulty roof. Left untreated, you can expect a mold outbreak in your apartment.

Inadequate ventilation can also lead to excess moisture buildup from simple things like taking a bath. An out-of-date or poorly operating HVAC system can also cause mold growth, especially when condensation from that system contributes to the moisture issue.

Remember that mold spores can move from one corner to another through the ventilation system and may create health hazards. This means you may fall sick even if the original mold problem did not originate in your house.

Why is Mold in an Apartment Dangerous?

Mold can make you sick, and those with weakened immune systems are especially susceptible to more severe physical reactions due to the presence of mold. What’s worse is that you may become sick due to someone else’s negligence since mold spores can travel through the air. Mold can cause bad colds, burning eyes, breathing problems, wheezing, and a stuffy nose.

The effect could be hazardous if you have a pre-existing condition like lung disease or asthma. Therefore, monitor and control the amount of humidity in your apartment, and keep an eye out for possible mold in your apartment; the sooner you recognize the signs of mold growth and fix the problem the better.

How Long Does a Landlord Have to Fix a Mold Problem?

As soon as you notice mold in the apartment, you should notify your landlord. Use certified mail or another method that you can track and provide as proof of notification should you need it. In addition, provide frequent and regular reminders with the landlord by way of phone calls, text messages, or face-to-face conversations to help move the repairs along more quickly.

The length of time it takes for a landlord to address your mold problem can vary based on the unique circumstances. However, most courts have deemed seven days as a reasonable amount of time to begin resolving mold issues.

I Live in NYC and Have Mold in My Apartment: What Should I Do?

As of now, we know that mold is dangerous for health and ugly to look at. It is awful for children and adults or people with certain health problems like asthma. When living in an apartment that has mold, your landlord is legally obligated to promptly fix the issue. Take the following steps when you identify mold in your NYC apartment:

1. Notify your Landlord

Your landlord is responsible for keeping your apartment free of mold.  The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) also considers it the right of a tenant to live in a mold-free apt.

The first thing that you need to do after you identify mold is to notify your landlord. Send a formal complaint letter and/or send notice via another traceable method (i.e. text message, email, etc.) and keep a copy of that document for future reference or if the landlord neglects to get started on the issue right away.

2. Document the Problem

Next, document the mold by taking photos of it. Also, write down the dates and times when you contacted the landlord about the issue. Creating a record of multiple attempts to get the issue resolved will prove helpful should you need to file an insurance claim, or if you decide to file a lawsuit for damages.

3. Clean Small Patches of Mold

While you are waiting for the landlord to respond or begin removing the mold from your apartment, you should clean all visible mold with a solution of bleach and water. If you are allergic to mold, ask someone to do it for you. Discard anything on which the mold was growing, including curtains or rugs. And keep the receipts for anything you purchased as a replacement for your damaged items–you might be able to claim them as a loss on your insurance or get reimbursed by your landlord.

Remember that mold grows in warm and moist places–your cleaning efforts will be futile if you don’t address the moisture issue.

4. Seek Reimbursement from the Landlord

You can seek reimbursement from the landlord for any expenses you bore as the result of mold issues. If a landlord is unwilling to reimburse you for your expenses, you can sue them for damages in small claims court. If you live in rent-regulated housing, apply for reimbursement through the New York State Office of Homes and Community Renewal (HCR).


Finding mold in an apartment is not something that you should take lightly. Mold can cause serious health problems, especially for those who have pre-existing health issues like asthma. Work with your landlord to resolve the issue or, if necessary, pursue the case in court if the landlord is uncooperative.

Related Article:

Black Mold In Your Apartment: Know Your Legal Rights