Moldy Smell in apartment

Dear George,
We are renting an apartment that has a moldy smell. How do we find out if there are dangerous levels of mold in the apartment? The landlord has only suggested cleaning the carpet. Is that enough?

signed,
Moldy

The carpet may well be one source of mold. If it IS the carpet, it would also be the padding, and possibly the floor covering beneath it, especially if it is wood. But mold could be in other places, anywhere that water might have leaked in the past–under or around pipes; roof or window leaks; plumbing or drainage leaks; environmental intrusion from flooding…Mold could be inside the walls or in eaves amd crawl spaces you can not see. Ask the neighbors about water leaks and whether or not they have a mold problem.

It’s likely if the neighbors have experienced the problem, the apartment you are considering may have had mold as well. Ideally you could have the apartment tested for mold. If you are seriously concerned (or really want the apartment) you might consider having a mold inspection and consequences written into your apartment contract. On the other hand, if you pay independently for a mold assessor to test the apartment and it proves to have unhealthy levels, you save yourself from being tied contractually to living in a moldy apartment. It may well be worth the expense.

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