California Setting Precedence by Declaring Mould Unlawful
Sterling, VA / U.S.A. – WEBWIRE – Sunday, March 13, 2016
California is the first state to explicitly declare that the presence of mold is an enforceable substandard housing condition. On Friday, Oct. 9, Gov. Jerry Brown approved SB 655 by Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles. Law in effect January 1, 2016. SB 655 adds mold as a substandard condition in Health and Safety Code 17920.3. State code declares that the visible presence of mold equals a substandard housing condition and is considered a misdemeanor. A Health Officer or a Code Enforcement Officer is required to establish the substandard condition which expedites the remediation, protecting both the tenant and the landlord. Cleaning and removal of mold is now required by law due to evidence which links mold to adverse health issues. Some of the diseases related to the presence of mold include allergies, asthma and a broad range of respiratory infections. Lack of sanitation, improper use of ventilation or inappropriate housekeeping could lead to charges. Bathrooms and kitchens are particularly vulnerable areas as moisture is likely to accumulate. Because the new specification expands the definition of substandard conditions to that of a crime, the bill imposes a state-mandated local program. This would require the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state which incentivizes the program.