No matter what time of the year it is, there’s always the possibility of mold. Unfortunately, mold doesn’t usually only grow in one place. As long as there is moisture in your community, you’ll always have to be on the lookout. While you’ve probably seen all kinds of mold as a property manager, it’s important to know how to diagnose and prevent it before it gets out of hand.
Diagnosing the Contaminated Areas
When you discover mold on the property, you’re going to want to:
- Ascertain how the mold developed
While in some cases mold will appear because of humid weather, others are developed in different ways. Make sure there are no leaks in the plumbing, that heating and air conditioning units are unobstructed, and that any in-unit dryers’ vents are positioned properly. If you discover mold in a unit’s bathroom, you might want to make sure the bathroom vent is working properly.
- Determine if the contamination is widespread within your community.
Talk to the neighboring residents near the contaminated unit to see if they’ve noticed any visible mold. Ask them if they’ve smelt mold or if they’ve had any health problems recently (a sign that the damage might extend to foundations and walls).
Removing the Mold
After you’ve concluded how the mold developed and if it’s widespread within your community, you’re going to want to hire a mold remediation service. Don’t try to clean the mold yourself. If you do, you pose several health risks not only to you, but your residents as well as mold spores can easily spread. When searching for a mold remediation service, make sure their company and employees are certified in mold removal and that they perform employment screening, to protect your residents when they’re onsite. You should also be aware of what chemicals they will be using during the process. Be aware that if your community is in the state of California, visible mold in a dwelling is considered a substandard housing condition and a citation can be issued against the property owner if they do not address the problem (SB 251).
Preventing Future Mold Outbreaks
Once the mold is long gone, you’re going to want to create a follow-up plan, checking up on the places that had mold (or needed repairs). This allows you to make sure that the same issues don’t happen again, saving you a potential expense down the line. In addition to following-up, consider getting your maintenance staffed trained on mold warning signs. Since they’re the ones that spend the most time inside your community’s units, they can help stop widespread contamination in their tracks.
As disgusting as mold is, as a property manager, it’s one of the few things you’re going to have to deal with on a yearly basis. Rather than avoiding it, take mold head on by diagnosing the contaminated area, removing the mold safely and professionally, and by taking measures to prevent mold breakouts in the future. While it’s impossible to remove mold from your community forever, you can make the odds in your favor.
How does your community policy handle mold outbreaks? Are there particular areas on the property that are more prone to mold than others?
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