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Are tenants responsible for mold/mildew growing in the bathroom ceiling and should we have to clean/pay someone to come fix it?

San Francisco, CA |

Our landlord said that we didn't notify her before so now expects us to fix it ourselves. Can she hold the lease against us?

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Attorney answers 2


I recently had a case where after T moved out LL discovered mold. LL claimed that T failed to notify LL about it thus LL was claiming T's entire security deposit + more. At trial the Judge ordered LL to return most of the security deposit to the T. Does lease say anything about mold? When did you discover? When did you notify LL?



The lease does not specify anything about mold. I think it's been there for some time already maybe even before I moved it so I didn't think that it was a big deal. It's gotten worse over time due to limited ventilation in the bathroom though. She claimed that she has just noticed it when she was showing the place to another potential tenant but I don't think that is true because she has been around multiple of times and has fixed our bathroom before. There is no way she didn't notice it as it does not grow overnight.


Yes. Civil Code sections 1928 and 1929 require tenants to properly maintain the rental and to repair any problems they caused. Mold on the ceiling is generally caused by the bathroom door being left closed in a bathroom that has no windows. To avoid mold requires only that the bathroom door be left open and that a small $20 be placed to exhaust the humidity. As to cleaning the mold, that's your call. Personally (meaning this is not an opinion expressed as either an attorney or any other professional) I don't buy into the bad science (BS) about toxic mold and how it will take out your entire family including pets if you disturb it. The "certified mold remediation specialists" who advertise their services are people just like you who took a 40 hour course and passed an open book exam. I would rely more on tips from good housekeeping.

A proper response would require a thorough investigation into the history and background of this relationship. The information provided above is just that, information, to be used as you see fit.