Tenant Health a Priority with Mold Issues

By Bethany Aldrich, Director of Residential Operations
Windermere Property Management, Bellingham, WA

Tenant health is extremely important to us.  Many of our staff are renters as well, and frankly, we all live in the northwest and know what it’s like to have mildew sneak into our living environment.  We live in a damp climate.  Washington is just that way.  But in addition, some properties don’t breathe very well.  People may assume it’s just the character-rich, classic apartments that attract us with their architecture, created with less strict building codes, but sometimes we see these problems in new buildings, sealed in tightly by modern methods.

We don’t often have to help tenants find a new residence.  Our years of experience has taught us that mold/mildew can be prevented and eradicated in most cases.  A lot of it may be lifestyle changes that can help discourage its growth.  Here are a few tips – for both property owners and tenants:

  • Keep it clean! Wipe down windowsills and keep the kitchen and the bathroom spotless.
  • If you have a bathroom fan, leave it on for 30 minutes after showering. If you don’t have a fan, considering getting one, or open a window a crack for fresh air.
  • Pick up a “Mold Remedy Kit” at our Windermere Property Management office. It’s free to our tenants experiencing a mildew problem.  Our “Mold Remedy Kit” has specific instructions and a spray bottle that you can refill yourself with ZEP.  Our staff will give you a mold information brochure when you rent with us.
  • Look into a “humidity sensor” that turns a fan on and off or reminds you to do it. Some have motion detectors that come on automatically when you enter the bathroom.
  • If your bedroom window sweats at night, leave it open a crack and turn a portable fan on to air it out.
  • College students are often “first time” renters and need instruction to prevent mold in their residence. As a property owner, who rents to students, be aware that prevention is key.
  • Mold and mildew are damaging not only to tenant health, but to the value of the property. Don’t let it get out of control if you are a landlord.
  • If the building is at fault, and the problem is severe, we will make every effort to remedy the situation, including letting the tenant out of their lease if necessary.
  • Clogged gutters will let rainwater drip down the sides of buildings, creating damp conditions that lead to mold. Our recommendations include regular maintenance of roof areas.
  • Be proactive. It will go a long way to preventing the health problems that come with mold.  Call us at Windermere if you have questions about the quality of air in your home.