Dangerous Mold? Give Landlord 5 Days to Act

Question: Last September we signed a one-year lease for a home in Goodyear. The landlord lives in California and has a local property manager. There was a big storm two months ago and our roof leaked, mainly in the third bedroom that was apparently part of a major remodeling project by the California owner three years ago. There is now mold throughout the home. Three weeks ago, the property manager did an inspection, and she said that she would have contractors out to inspect the roof, and that she would then get bids to repair the roof and the mold damage. Although we have called and emailed the property manager several times, she is not responding to us. We hired a mold inspector who came to our house yesterday, and he said that there were high levels of mold, including black mold, throughout our home. He said that he would send us his written report. We have three small children, and can’t live in this home. Can we move out?

Answer: Probably. Your rental home is probably not habitable. Therefore, under A.R.S. § 33-1361 regarding material non-compliance by the landlord of the mold problem that is affecting your family’s health and safety, you should immediately notify the property manager by an email, or even a hand-delivered letter, of this major mold problem. If the major mold problem is not rectified and the home made habitable in five days, you are entitled to terminate the lease.

Note: Be sure to reference your lease for specific formal notice requirements outlined by the Landlord.

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