How to Keep Mold & Moisture Out of Your Home.
Mold Management and Prevention Tips for Landlords and Renters.
It’s a problem humans have battled since the dawn of time—controlling mold. It lurks in the corners and can cause major damage and nasty health issues. Mold can be a landlord’s and tenant’s nightmare. As long as moisture and oxygen are present, mold can grow indoors or out on virtually any organic substance, including wood, paper, carpet, insulation and food. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, especially if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed.
It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled by keeping moisture in check. Moisture control is key—mold cannot grow without it.
Left untreated, mold gradually destroys the material on which it is growing. Because molds produce allergens, irritants and toxins, they have the potential to cause a variety of health problems and can exacerbate existing conditions, such as asthma. Other responses to mold infestations are: sore eyes, coughing, sneezing, congestion, itchy skin, and sore throat. These symptoms are akin to multiple illnesses. However, if you notice your symptoms worsening in the evenings or on weekends, when you’re spending more time at home, that could be a sign that of a reaction to a mold problem.
If mold is a problem in your home, clean up the mold and get rid of the excess water or moisture. If an area becomes water damaged, it is important to dry that space and any damaged items within 24–48 hours to prevent mold growth. Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water to prevent recurrence. Wash mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water and dry completely. Absorbent materials (such as ceiling tiles and carpet) that become moldy may have to be replaced.
It may also be a wise idea to review your homeowner or renter’s insurance policy to see if mold is covered in case there is an emergency. Many policies have exclusions for claims against mold invasion and damage. Other policies can provide funds for lodging and damages if your home is subject to mold contamination.
For more information on how to clean up residential mold problems and how to prevent mold growth, download the Environmental Protection Agency’s free publication, A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home at www.epa.gov/mold/pdfs/moldguide.pdf
Renting in a Community Association
If you are an owner who leases your unit, we’d like to make the leasing experience successful and positive for everyone by informing you of your responsibilities. This will help preserve your property value specifically and maintain the association’s property value in general.
Your tenants may not be familiar with common-interest community living. Please take a few minutes to explain to them that living in a community association is very different from living in a rental apartment community. Specifically, your tenants, like all residents, are subject to the rules and regulations of the association, and it’s up to you to educate them and see that they comply. The association will assist you in this area, but the responsibility lies with you. We recommend you provide your tenants with written copies of all policies and rules and advise them on the proper use of the association’s facilities. You can obtain copies of these and other useful documents from the manager.
We strongly recommend that you have a written lease agreement with your tenant. As a lessor (landlord) of a home in a community association, the lease you use must require tenants to comply with the association’s governing documents. In the event your tenant fails to comply with these documents, including the bylaws, or its rules and regulations, a representative of the association will first contact your tenants in an attempt to remedy the problem. The association will send you a copy of any notice sent to your tenant.
If the tenant does not correct the violation, the association will contact you and expect you to remedy the violation using the recourse available to you through your lease agreement. If you are unable to correct the violation, the association may pursue appropriate legal action against the tenant, and possibly against you.
Follow these simple steps and you, the tenants and the association will all have a positive community association living experience:
- Provide your tenants with copies of association rules.
- Educate tenants about the need to follow association rules, and see that they comply.
- Advise tenants on the proper use of association facilities.
- Use a written lease agreement.
- Make sure your lease requires tenants to comply with all association governing documents.
- Provide the association with contact information for your tenants.
Renters: If you don’t have a copy of the association rules or you’d like more information about the association, please contact a board member or the property manager.
If you have questions about your home or are having problems with a tenant complying with your Association’s governing documents, call us today and see what we can manage for you.
Insurance is important.
And vital in times of disasters.
Do you know exactly what’s covered under your homeowners or renters insurance policy?
If you think hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes and floods won’t happen to you or that your standard insurance policy covers against these disasters, you’re among the nearly half of U.S. homeowners and renters who lack the insurance coverage to deal with potential losses, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
In a recent NAIC national survey, about 48 percent of homeowners and renters said they did not have an inventory of their possessions. Of those who reported having a checklist, 32 percent had not taken any pictures and 58 percent had no receipts validating the cost of their possessions. In addition, 44 percent of respondents acknowledged that they had not stored their inventory in a separate location.
Here are some tips from the NAIC to help you prepare for disasters:
- Take an inventory of your valuables and belongings. This should include taking photographs or a video of each room. This documentation will provide your insurance company with proof of your belongings and help to process claims more quickly in the event of disaster.
- To enable filing claims more quickly, keep sales receipts and canceled checks. Also note the model and serial numbers of the items in your home inventory.
- As you acquire more valuables such as jewelry or antiques, consider purchasing an additional floater or rider to your policy to cover these special items. These types of items typically are not covered by a basic homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy.
- Remember to include in your home inventory those items you rarely use such as holiday decorations, sports equipment and tools.
- Store copies of all your insurance policies in a safe location away from your home that is easily accessible in case of disaster. You may want to store your policies and inventory in a waterproof, fireproof box or in a safe location such as a bank safe deposit box.
- Consider leaving a copy of your inventory with relatives, friends or your insurance provider and store digital pictures in your e-mail or on a website for easy retrieval.
- Know what is and is not covered by your insurance policy. You might need additional protection depending on where you live. Make sure your policies are up to date. Contact your insurance provider annually to review and update your insurance policy.
- Keep a readily available list of 24-hour contact information for each of your insurance providers.
- Find out if your possessions are insured for the actual cash value or the replacement cost. Actual cash value is the amount it would take to repair or replace your home and possessions after depreciation, while replacement cost is the amount it would take to repair or replace your home or possessions without deducting for depreciation. Speak with your insurance provider to determine whether purchasing replacement coverage is worth the cost.
- Speak with your insurance provider to find out if your policy covers additional living expenses for a temporary residence if you are unable to live in your home due to damage from a disaster.
- Appraise your home periodically to make sure your insurance policy reflects home improvements or renovations. Contact your insurance provider to update your policy.
Here are some useful links:
Importance of Insurance Infographic – Click Here
Disaster Planning Worksheet from Community Association Law Group – Click Here
“Prepare! A Resource Guide” from the Red Cross – Click Here
©2017 Brick House Property Management. Brick House Property Management understands that each individual may have a unique living situation. The information provided on this website is general, and may not be applicable to you. If you have a specific legal issue, you should speak with an attorney.
A Must Read for Portland Landlords and Tenants.
Information on City of Portland Ordinance 188219,
On February 2, 2017, the Portland City Council passed Ordinance 188219. The ordinance is commonly referred to as the Relocation Assistance Ordinance or the Tenant Protection Ordinance. The new law mandates that Portland landlords provide relocation assistance to tenants if they issue a no-cause eviction or increase rent by 10% or more in a 12-month period. Ordinance 188219 only applies to rental units within the city of Portland. Depending on the size of the living space, landlords have to pay tenants between $2,900 to $4,500. Relocation Assistance must be paid to the tenant at least 45 days before the move out date given on the tenant’s termination notice. There are some exceptions depending on the type of lease the tenant has and the number of properties the landlord owns. For example, the ordinance does not apply to week-to-week tenancies, tenants who occupy the same dwelling unit as the landlord, and a landlord who rents only a single unit in the city of Portland
The definition of a no-cause eviction is the eviction of a tenant who has not broken the terms of the lease. Tenants evicted for for-cause (aka just-cause) evictions would not qualify for relocation benefits under the Relocation Assistance Ordinance. To view the factsheet that the City of Portland created about the new landlord/tenant law, click here. To view Ordinance 188219, click here.
If you have questions about the properties you own, call us at (503) 779-5884, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit us at our Portland office!
©2017 Brick House Property Management. Brick House Property Management understands that each landlord and tenant may have a unique living situation. The information provided on this website is general, and may not be applicable to you. If you have a specific legal issue, you should speak with an attorney.
Are You Ready for Cold Weather?
Winter preparation starts now if you haven’t already. Cold and wet conditions not only make you miserable, but they can damage your home. Some winterizing can wait, some can’t. Make a list of what needs to be done, and tackle the time-sensitive tasks first. Here’s a simple checklist to help you get a jump on winter.
- Examine doors and replace weather-stripping as needed.
- Examine window caulking and reseal where needed.
- Examine and repair vents where needed.
- Clean chimneys and flues.
- Remove items near heat vents.
- Place nonskid runners or door mats outside to help keep water, sand and salt out of the house.
- Cut back tree branches and shrubs that hide signs or block light.
- Examine outdoor handrails and tighten if needed.
- Turn off electrical breakers for outdoor equipment.
- Close hose bibs.
- Clean out gutters and downspouts.
- Clear yard drains.
- Spray outdoor locks and hinges with lubricant.
- Stake driveway and walkway edges that may be difficult to find under deep snow.
Assemble, stockpile or refresh winter supplies:
- Candles and matches
- Ice melt and deicer
- Snow shovels
- Generator fuel
For more tips, click here!