I often receive calls from tenants regarding their concerns about mold within their homes or apartments, even though their landlord has assured them that “…there’s nothing to worry about.” The photo below depicts the siding that was removed from a a San Francisco town home after it was discovered that a plumbing supply line was leaking inside this wall.
The landlord sent out his “mold expert,” who took an air sample in the room affected by this plumbing leak (kitchen), and the expert assured the tenants that there was nothing to be concerned about (even though he hadn’t yet had the air sample analyzed by a lab!)
I started using my moisture meters in an effort to determine the extent of the water intrusion, and I found that the drywall on the inside of the wall depicted in the photo was saturated with water. When I tested the base cabinet, which was a “Lazy Susan” base, the back of the cabinet was also saturated, and I could smell mold within the cabinet. I then tested the wall cabinet, and it too was saturated. I took an air sample within the base cabinet, and the lab determined that the mold spore count was elevated (about four times the number of mold spores as the control sample).
The landlord had already told the tenants that his solution to this issue was going to be to run a dehumidifier within the kitchen, but I explained to the tenants that this mold problem had already moved beyond the stage where the problem could be addressed with a dehumidifier, and that both the cabinets and the drywall would need to be removed, and that a full mold remediation (by a certified professional) was needed for their home.
Many of the landlords and property management companies that I deal with are professional and responsible, and want to take whatever steps are necessary to deal with mold problems correctly. But many of the landlords that I deal with decide on a “…penny-wise and pound-foolish…” approach to these problems, and this is when tenants are wise to bring in their own independent mold inspection company.
I always explain to my clients that as an independent mold inspection and testing company, I have “…no dog in this race.” I do not perform any remediation work, so there is no reason for my reports to exaggerate the extent of any mold problem. When the tenants in this case presented their landlord with the report from Bay Area Mold Pros, he agreed to do the right thing and to proceed with a professional remediation.