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Black Mold in Your Income Property?

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One of the worst pieces of news any income property landlord can receive is when they become aware of the presence of black mold in one or more of their properties.  Black mold is a serious problem that must be addressed immediately.  Not only can it create health problems for tenants, but it can also be a deal breaker when you are ready to sell property

If one of your tenants informs you of a mold problem, the first thing you should do is personally inspect the apartment.  If the occurrence of the mold is small, for example limited to one part of a wall in one room, then it makes sense to try and clean it up yourself.  For any larger mold problem, you would be well-served to call in a professional environmental remediation company.

If the problem is small and you want to tackle it yourself, the first thing you will want to do is to identify the root cause.  Black mold thrives in dark and damp conditions, and thus is usually caused by water penetration.  So check for leaky pipes, loose chimney flashing, poorly-fitted windows, broken gutters and similar issues.  Plug any leaks and run a dehumidifier to dry the place out. 

Once the root cause has been alleviated, step 2 is to actually clean up the existing mold.  You can clean mold on hard surfaces such as drywall or hardwood floors; other surfaces like carpet should be discarded and replaced.  Wear rubber gloves and mix a bleach-water solution consisting of ½ cup of bleach mixed with a gallon of water.  Bleach is recommended because this will effectively kill the mold.  Simply spray the bleach solution onto the contaminated area, wait 10 minutes, and scrub with a coarse sponge or rag. 

Importantly, do not use any other cleaning solution besides the bleach/water mixture, especially anything containing ammonia because mixing ammonia and bleach will create toxic fumes.  Once everything has been cleaned, throw out the rags, sponges and gloves as these will be permanently contaminated.

For any larger mold problem that is not isolated to a single wall or room, call in a professional.  This will likely cost you several hundred dollars, but at least this will provide some assurance that the mold is cleaned up properly and will not return.

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