In caring for over a thousand mold patients at Sanctuary, we face challenges like the one in the linked article on a regular basis. In the article, Legal Services of Alabama state that they have received numerous complaints from rental tenants about moldy conditions. A few individual stories sound like the stories of our patients. They either learn that mold hiding in their homes is causing health symptoms or discover a large growth of mold in their homes by accident. They then learn that getting out of a rental agreement or getting a landlord to fix an issue is easier said than done.
A challenge for the renters comes in that many states don’t have stronger renters rights and insurance companies generally do not insure for mold in homes. While a landlord cannot control all factors for tenant, there should be some expectation that the rental property is safe to inhabit. A difficulty arises in that for our patients, the level of mold tolerated is much lower than others may tolerate. Our sickest patients require a very, very low mold exposure in order to recover. The landlord may scoff at remediating their property to such a low level as this can be costly. The landlord may just claim it is safe for most people and therefore live with it.
On the other hand, decades ago insurance companies began excluding all but the most straightforward mold issues such as ones connected with acute water damage. Without an event of water like a roof leak or a burst pipe, most insurance companies write out this coverage. The owner and renter do not have any coverage and thus expenses come out of pockets. Even for the acute events, max amounts may be imposed that do not always cover enough of the mold cleanup.
So, what are the mold affected renters in Alabama or other states to do when mold is attacking? First look at your state’s rental rights. Some states are more helpful and supportive to renters than others. At the very least, landlords must provide a “safe” environment. The question arises as to what safe means, but still you have a foundation of rights in that principle. From there, the required notice and wait for response will vary between states. Follow your side of the rules so no judge can come back and nullify your grounds due to technicalities. Do your best to work with the landlord, especially if they seem willing to do “as much as they can”. Don’t get pushy unless absolutely necessary, which means avoiding lawyers at first. Just keep track of communications and discussions in case you later need to prove you followed your end of the rules.
Beyond that, remember that if you are living in mold, you won’t likely improve as much as you wish while stilling inhaling the mold toxins. A safe environment is key. Know that getting out of mold will almost always take time and effort. Be patient with yourself and with a cooperating landlord, but don’t be complacent or a push over. Keep the ball rolling as you take therapies to remove the toxins already in you. Having a trustworthy medical guide will also serve you very well. Having a medical note stating that you are experiencing adverse effects from the exposure carries weight. Having medical guidance in knowing ‘how clean is clean enough for remediation’ is critical.
Restoring a healthier more abundant life often requires diligence and support to get out of mold and to get mold out of you.
News 19. Alabama renters face mold issues with no solution in sight. By Archie Snowden. Posted January 10, 2023. Accessed January 25, 2023. https://whnt.com/news/alabama-renters-face-mold-issues-with-no-solution-in-sight/
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.