Tag Archives: spring cleaning

Mold in Your Rental Property

rop  Mold is one of the newest environmental hazards causing concern among renters. Across the country, tenants have won multimillion-dollar cases against landlords for significant health problems — such as rashes, chronic fatigue, nausea, cognitive losses, hemorrhaging, and asthma — allegedly caused by exposure to “toxic molds” in their building.

If you suspect there is mold in your Chico rental unit/property, learn what to look for. Even better, take steps to prevent mold before it becomes a problem.

Where Mold Is Found

  Mold comes in various colors and shapes. The villains — with names like stachybotrys, penicillium, aspergilus, paecilomyces, and fusarium — are black, white, green, or gray. Some are powdery, others shiny. Some molds look and smell disgusting; others are barely seen — hidden between walls, under floors and ceilings, or in less accessible spots, such as basements and attics.

Mold often grows on water-soaked materials, such as wall paneling, paint, fabric, ceiling tiles, newspapers, or cardboard boxes. Humidity sets up prime growing conditions for mold. Buildings in naturally humid climates of Texas, California, and the Southern U.S. have experienced more mold problems than residences in drier climates. But whatever the climate, mold can grow as long as moisture is present.

Mold and Your Health

  Mold is also among the most controversial of environmental hazards. There is considerable debate within the scientific and medical communities about which molds, and what situations, pose serious health risks to people in their homes. There is no debate, however, among tenants who have suffered the consequences of living amidst (and inhaling) mold spores.

Keep in mind that most mold is not harmful to your health –for example, the mold that grows on shower tiles is not dangerous. It takes an expert to know whether a particular mold is harmful or just annoying. And it’s very tricky to find out whether a person who has been exposed to mold has actually inhaled or ingested it. New tests that measure the presence of a particular mold’s DNA in a blood sample are the only way to know for sure whether the mold is present in the body.

Landlord Legal Responsibilities for Tenant Exposure to Mold

With a few exceptions, landlord responsibilities regarding mold have not been clearly spelled out in building codes, ordinances, statutes, or regulations.

State Laws on Mold

  Only a few states have taken steps toward establishing permissible mold standards. California, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, and Texas are among the few that have passed laws aimed at developing guidelines and regulations for mold in indoor air.

For example, California’s “Toxic Mold Protection Act of 2001″ authorizes the state’s Department of Health Services (now called the Department of Health Care Services) to set permissible levels of indoor mold exposure for sensitive populations (like children, or people with compromised immune systems or respiratory problems). The California law also allows the DHCS to develop identification and remediation standards for contractors, owners, and landlords and requires landlords to disclose to current and prospective tenants the presence of any known or suspected mold. For a preliminary report on the implementation of the Act, see the DHS 2005 Report to the California Legislature, Implementation of the Toxic Mold Protection Act of 2001.

Local Laws on Mold

A few cities have enacted ordinances related to mold. For example:

  In San Francisco, mold is considered a legal nuisance, putting it into the same category as trash accumulation or an infestation of vermin. Tenants (and local health inspectors) can sue landlords under private and public nuisance laws if they fail to clean up serious problems. For details, check the San Francisco Department of Public Health website.

Mold Caused by Tenant Behavior

  The liability picture changes when mold grows as the result of your own behavior, such as keeping the apartment tightly shut, creating high humidity, or failing to maintain necessary cleanliness. When a tenant’s own negligence is the sole cause of injury, the landlord is not liable.

Mold Clauses in Leases

  Some landlords include clauses in the lease that purport to relieve them from any liability resulting from mold growth. A smart landlord will try to prevent the conditions that lead to the growth of mold — and tenants should be the landlord’s partner in this effort. This approach requires maintaining the structural integrity of the property i.e. the roof, plumbing, and windows. You can help by preventing mold problems in your home in the first place and promptly reporting problems that need the landlord’s attention.

How to Get Rid of Ants in Your Chico Property

Ants-II-iStock_As a property owner, you are always looking for ways to reduce your expenses to get rid of ants.  Some landlords are way too quick to just call for help when they could very easily do it themselves or find an alternative solution.

Here’s some helpful advice when it comes to dealing with ants:

Ants Don’t Like the Heat

Ants tend to make their way indoors during times of excessive heat, so there’s not always a whole lot you can do at this point.  Spraying for ants might not work since nature will continue to drive them inside.Normally, you get ants because they are looking for a food source or water.  But if the heat is what’s driving them inside, they’re going to keep coming and there’s not a lot you can do to get rid of ants.

Keep Your Food Sealed

This might seem like an obvious one but if you’re experiencing trouble with ants, make sure that you put all your food in plastic containers or ziploc bags around the kitchen area.  Ants especially love sugary substances so make sure that you wipe down and clean up any juice spills or dirty dishes.

Dry Them Out

If ants can’t eat or drink, they will tend to die off or move on.  One tip that really works well to get rid of ants is to make sure your sink area is completely dry once you’re done cooking or cleaning dishes.  That way, the ants won’t have anything to drink and they’ll have to find water somewhere else, hopefully outside of your house.

Ant Traps and Spray

Ants are pretty dumb but apparently not quite dumb enough to walk right into an ant trap.  Bug spray works pretty well but you have to be careful spraying that stuff around your kitchen area. Try and avoid spraying on surfaces that you will be eating off of.  Spraying in cracks or corners where you won’t ever place food is always best.  Find the entry and exit points and try to spray there too.

Hopefully, all these efforts will combine to help you get rid of ants in your Chico rental property!

house-cleaning

It’s Spring Cleaning Time!!

house-cleaningDespite the chill that still lingers in the air, spring is here! The infamous “Spring Cleaning” time is upon us!

Spring cleaning is no small task, though. In fact, it can often turn into a huge beast of a project that some of us may give up on. To make your spring cleaning adventure a little less painful, here a few tips to help you tackle that dusty house or apartment.

Make a List of What Needs to be cleaned in Each Room

Making lists will help you stay organized – especially if there’s a huge project, like spring cleaning, on your plate. Before get started, walk through each room and write down what needs to get done. Writing a list out also helps make sure you have all the cleaning materials you need before getting started, saving tons of time later. It’s a pain in the butt when you have to stop everything to run out and buy more carpet cleaning solution, this way you have all the tools you need to start and finish your spring cleaning!

Make Your Playlist

Having a cleaning playlist that includes all your favorite music will get you pumped and bring a little fun into your cleaning! Listening to music while cleaning just seems to make things go by faster. Of course, you don’t have to make a playlist; you could always just turn the radio on to your favorite station. Get your groove on!

Get a Trash and Donate Box/Bag

As you go through each room, make sure to de-clutter. Throw away old magazines and papers from the previous year. Put items you no longer use or need, like that book you bought 10 years ago but never read, in the donate box. Once you’re done cleaning your whole house, itemize your donate pile because you may be able to deduct those donations on your taxes. You can also make a trip to Walmart to Target and pick up a few cheap organizing boxes to store those annoying loose papers or random things around your house. Having organizer boxes:

  1. Is a super fun way to bring in your creativity and personal touch to your place
  2. Will help you find what you are looking for faster
  3. Will help you de-clutter in a fashionable and classy way
  4. Will make you feel better when everything is in its place!

Work on One Room at a Time

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you want to clean your entire home all at once. Try writing down all the rooms in your home on a piece of paper and checking each one off as you go. If you can work on at least two or three rooms each weekend, you’ll get a lot more done and still have free time on the side.

Set an Amount of Time to Work on Each Room.

It’s easy to get distracted: you might find yourself looking at items that have been forgotten or old photographs, and before you know it you’ve spent the entire day cleaning just one single room. Set a timer so you don’t fall into this trap. You can also use the timer to give yourself a little break here and there. Much like a list, it can help keep you on track.

Recruit People to Help You

What’s makes cleaning more fun? When you don’t have to do it alone! Recruit your kids, significant other or roommates to help you out. Recruiting people to help clean takes about half the amount of time than doing it yourself; plus then you get to have a dance partner!

Start From the Top and Work Your Way Down

This is just the law of gravity – clean from the top of the ceiling to the floor. Knock all the dusty cobwebs from the corner, wash the curtains, clean the windows, dust the furniture, vacuum the furniture and finally vacuum the floor.

Use Natural Cleaners

Many chemical-based cleaners emit hazardous fumes. Some cleaners when mixed together can even emit toxic fumes that can seriously hurt you. Vinegar is a great substitute to use in your bathroom or kitchen and as a general household cleaning solution.

Be Patient

It’s the golden rule to work smarter, not harder. Take your time and let grimy surfaces, like the ones in your bathroom and kitchen, soak in your cleaning solution. Work on something else on your list while your cleaner does the hard work.

Reward Yourself at The End

Having something to look forward to at the end of a long day of cleaning sure makes things go a lot faster. Plus, you worked hard and deserve it. Treat yourself!

OK, so these ideas won’t make all the dirt magically disappear, but the tips above can make the process a little less agonizing. Just remember to pace yourself. You don’t have to do everything in one day.