Mold is always present in our environment but mold growth indoors can be a problem. Mold may cause allergic reactions, irritation, or trigger asthma in some people. Mold needs water or moisture to grow so it is important for building owners to maintain their buildings and fix leaks promptly. Residents can help prevent mold growth on bathroom or kitchen surfaces by using exhaust fans or opening windows and frequently cleaning surfaces.

Tenants should report leaks and signs of mold growth to their building owners. If repairs are not made, call 311.

Listen to our podcast on mold to learn when is it a hazard, how to identify the causes of moldy conditions, how to address those conditions, and landlord responsibilities. 

The Department of Health recommends the following steps to address small areas of mold:

  • Use soap or a detergent solution and water to clean small areas of mold (less than 10 square feet) on walls or other hard surfaces as soon as you see it.
  • Wear waterproof gloves.
  • Dry the cleaned area completely.
  • If the mold returns quickly or spreads, there may be an underlying problem such as a water leak. To stop mold, water problems must be fixed.

Underlying Conditions
The Underlying Conditions Program allows HPD to issue an administrative order to residential building owners to correct underlying conditions that have caused, or are causing, a violation of the Housing Maintenance Code.

The program focuses on leaks and mold conditions. HPD selects buildings for participation in the program each year based on the number of apartments affected by mold and leaks and the number and severity of the violations. Property owners are required to investigate the cause of leak or mold conditions affecting multiple apartments in a building and to address the conditions and related violations within four months. HPD may sue non-compliant owners in Housing Court. The civil penalty is $1,000 for each dwelling unit with a minimum of $5,000. If the owner fails to comply with the Order, HPD may hire a contractor to make the repairs at the owner’s expense. HPD is subject to laws that may make such work significantly more expensive than if the owner contracted directly for the work. Failure to pay the bill may result in a tax lien being placed against the property. The tax lien will bear interest and can be sold or foreclosed if not paid in a timely manner.