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Dealing with mold problems: tenants' rights under the warranty of habitability

Mold can be a problem in any property where water leaks occur, whether from piping or from the elements. Mold damage not only can negatively impact the integrity of a property, but it can also cause health problems for residents, causing allergic reactions, mycotoxin poisoning, and fungal infections. There are certain steps residents can take to address mold problems, but when mold problems are extensive and deep, it may not be possible to address the problems on their own.

Tenants of property with mold damage should know that they do have rights in this area, and that they may be able to compel their landlord to take action with regard to mold problems under North Carolina law. One are of law where renters may be able to address mold problems is under North Carolina's warranty of habitability statute.

Under the warranty of habitability, landlords are required to maintain their properties in a habitable condition. This means that property conditions which render a property unsafe must be addressed by the landlord. In the case of mold problems, tenants have the right to compel the landlord to clean up the mold problem, provided it was not caused by the tenant's own negligence.

If the landlord fails to address mold problems, or if there is a dispute as to whether the mold is due to the tenant's own negligence, the tenant has the right to seek enforcement of the warranty of habitability in court. If a tenant is found to be in the right, he or she may be entitled to damages.

In our next post, we'll continue looking at this topic and how an experienced attorney can help. 

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