Renting and the Law: Tenant wants out of house with moldy basement

  • by: KELLY KLEIN , Wire services
  • Updated: February 15, 2013 - 3:48 PM

Q: I rented a house several months ago and signed a one-year lease. The property manager mentioned some past water problems in the unfinished basement, but said the property had been regraded to correct the issue. Since I’ve moved in, the basement has been continually wet, ranging from condensation on the walls, to puddles, to actual standing water. When I pulled some shelving from the wall, I saw the entire area was covered in mold. I am allergic to mold spores. I sprayed mold remover, but the mold keeps returning. I’ve seen my doctor several times about my allergies and sinus infections caused by the mold, and my doctor says I need to move. I’ve notified the landlord of the mold issue, multiple times in writing. The landlord applies mold remover, but it doesn’t have any long-term effect, and the spray adds an irritating odor. What is the likelihood of this constituting a “habitability” issue in Minnesota? I would like to move, but I cannot afford to be sued for the remaining months’ rent. I do not think my landlord will release me without a fight, given the unlikelihood of a quick re-rent on this house.

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