What to do about moldy walls and a bad landlord.
December 15, 2007 8:29 PM   Subscribe

What to do about moldy walls and a bad landlord.

The walls of my apartment in Vancouver BC are growing mold, and it's driving me and my partner crazy.

This started when we noticed a whole wall at the back of the bedroom growing black mold a month ago. We washed the walls with bleach, isolated the affected areas with plastic, and sprayed mold deterrent, and the place is always well ventilated, but the mold just comes back a few weeks later. We can't use our bedroom closet anymore as our clothing will be damaged, and my nose is always stuffy.

We've talked to the landlord several times about this and she is being very unhelpful. The building would require serious work to fix this problem, and she is unwilling to invest the money into repairing it.

We know we have to move out - and are in fact planning to move East in the spring around May, but what can be done in the meantime, and what are our rights?
posted by radiocontrolled to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A report to the board of health and/or local building inspector should do it.
posted by jerseygirl at 9:01 PM on December 15, 2007

I don't know about the legalities, but other than bleaching the walls as you've done... getting a dehumidifier can go a long way in preventing further mould.

Are you paying for heating or is it included in the rent? Cracking a window (to reduce humidity and increase air circulation) can help limit mould growth.
posted by porpoise at 9:22 PM on December 15, 2007

There is a product called Kilz, that might be useful to you. I know it's available in the States, but not sure about Canada. It's a pretty heavy duty sealer for use on stained walls prior to painting them. It wouldn't provide a long term solution to the moldy walls, your landlord would have to repair the source of moisture, but it might help keep your apartment livable until you can move. Other than that, dehumidify and ventilate. Be mindful of your health, mold can provoke a lot of upper respiratory problems and aggravate asthma and allergies.
posted by pluckysparrow at 9:51 PM on December 15, 2007

Best answer: I looked around on the internet for you and found some links.

Scroll down to where it says "mold" and it gives a little blurb about it there and then gives another link to information about mold and how to handle it:


This link is to a question about mold with a pretty good answer. There might be some other questions about mold there:


Seems to me your best method of action would be to start documenting everything and then make a call to your local health department.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 1:56 AM on December 16, 2007

if the mold keeps on coming back after bleaching that suggests there is some underlying (perhaps even inside the wall i.e. leaking pipe) moisture problem in that area. there's probably little you can do as renters to fix the mold problem... but it shouldn't be your job.
posted by geos at 8:14 AM on December 16, 2007

radiocontrolled probably knows this but his mould problem is undoubtly being caused from water infiltration from the exterior rather than excess humidity internally. It's going to cost his landlord (and every owner in his building) tens of thousands dollars per unit to remediate the problem.

Realistically the only thing you can do is move. You might be able to get a return of a partial months rent if you go to arbitration but the arbitration process is a huge pain and may not be complete before you head East. Be aware that the existence of mold may not be enough to allow you to break your lease.

The CMHC has instructions on mold control but they will be of limited use as the source of the moisture isn't something you can control.
posted by Mitheral at 8:18 AM on December 16, 2007

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