4 Reasons to Invest in a Mold Test Kit


April 9, 2019

Mold is a bane of landlords everywhere. The unpredictable nature and effects of mold spores can be costly in a number of ways. Many landlords understand the importance of testing for mold. But they aren’t thrilled by the idea of paying for professional inspection on each of their apartments or properties.

This article will briefly discuss the merits of investing in a mold test kit. It will also cite some of the convenience and cost advantages to purchasing a kit rather than hiring an inspector.

 

What is mold and why is it such an issue for landlords?

Mold is a fungus that tends to proliferate in any place that is moist and warm. Basements, bathrooms, certain garages, and kitchens are all ripe targets for mold growth. Many older buildings, in which wetness has seeped into the walls and the foundation, are also riddled with unseen mold.

Spores are the source of mold. These microscopic particles circulate through the air - sometimes brought into homes via HVAC units - until settling on a given surface. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to completely remove mold spores from a building or home without investing in some sort of industrial-level air filtration and purification system.

The good news is that mold spores can only turn into a mold in the presence of a moist, wet, or damp surface. Landlords who keep their buildings dry won’t have to deal with the inevitable consequences of mold growth.

Unfortunately, what landlords can’t control is what their tenants do. Tenants can (and do) spill drinks, drag water into their units, and set up all sorts of other conditions that are conducive to mold growth.

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While landlords have means for seeking restitution from tenants who damage the units, the process of collecting restitution is time-consuming. Even worse, one bad apple can spoil the bunch. A single tenant who fosters dangerous mold growth can make the building unliveable for other tenants.

Most tenants will want to do everything they can to ensure that their security deposit is returned, and some will even work with landlords to protect the unit’s integrity and value. But some tenants will be problems. They may create environments conducive to mold growth and larger problems for the entire building or complex.

Below are four reasons why a landlord should consider investing in a mold test kit:

 

1. Landlords are generally responsible for HVAC and roofing

Leaky HVAC and roofs are typically the landlord’s responsibility. Landlords are quick to catch roof leaks and problems with HVAC units. These are two issues that almost all tenants immediately report. Landlords who don’t constantly have eyes on a given property could have an unseen leak setting up the scene for mold proliferation.

For this reason, it’s smart for landlords to regularly test for mold growth. An at-home mold test kit is a cost-effective and time-saving alternative to bringing an inspector to a building, particularly after a landlord develops familiarity with a given kit.

 

2. Health of tenants

Landlords, of course, have certain contractual and ethical obligations and ensuring that dangerous mold does not affect tenants is one of them. Mold can have a broad, unpredictable number of effects on people, with milder afflictions causing irritations to the skin, throat, and eyes, nasal congestion, and coughing or wheezing.

In more severe cases, mold has been determined to cause serious infections in people with pre-existing lung conditions and those with more sensitive immune systems. A 2004 study from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) confirmed all of this, linking indoor mold exposure with a number of upper respiratory tract symptoms.

In addition to the health of tenants, landlords have to understand that they will be potentially actionable if a tenant contracts some kind of harsh infection due to mold. Rather than expose themselves to lawsuits, it makes much more sense for landlords to ensure that their units are free from mold and that their tenants aren’t at risk. A mold test kit is a simple way to ensure tenant safety.

 

3. Protecting a remediation investment

If a landlord has paid for a building or property to undergo full mold remediation - meaning that the building had significant mold growth in the past - a good way to ensure that the mold is really gone is to perform annual or biannual mold testing. A mold test kit is again an easy, quick, low-cost way to ensure that the remediation company did their job and removed all of the mold from a building or apartment.

 

4. Cost versus hiring an inspector

While the cost of inspecting a single small apartment isn’t prohibitive, the average cost to have a professional mold inspector (known as a certified industrial hygienist)do a mold check runs between $600-$700 for a medium-sized house. This figure will obviously go up or down with the size of the apartment, home, or building in question, but bringing an inspector to a site is going to run several hundred dollars at the bare minimum.

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Meanwhile, the average cost for a mold test kit can run from about $25-$40. While in some cases it may be necessary to bite the bullet and pay for the services of a certified industrial hygienist. In other cases, when doing a post-remediation check, for example, using an at-home kit makes much more sense.

 

What to look for in an ideal mold test kit

There are a dozen mold test kits available for purchase from different companies and distributors. An ideal mold test kit would have all of the following features:

  • Able to test for the mold spores most known to cause allergies, breathing and airway problems, and other complications to health.
  • Able to test for and distinguish between different types of molds that could be taking root in a home, apartment, or workplace.
  • Makes the process as simple as possible, often including all of the necessary testing materials, a detailed instruction manual, and perhaps a return envelope or package for hassle-free returns.
  • Analysis from a certified lab.

Landlords in major metropolitan areas who don’t want to deal with the complications of mold testing should consider partnering with Blueground. In many ways, Blueground is the perfect tenant. We ensure maximum yield, steady cash flow via on-time rental payments, and raise the value of your real estate investment. In short, it’s the perfect solution for most property owners looking to rent out apartments.


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