Reprinted with permission of the author, Gregory J. Carlson. Executive Director of the Federation of New York Housing Cooperatives and Condominiums
In the Federation’s newsletter of Au¬gust 2001, we informed you about a new and growing environmental hazard, mold. In the past year, I have attended a number of mold workshops and seminars. While there are no Federal, State, or City regulations, experts in the field tell us that within two years we should expect such regulations. As previously reported by the Federation, when looking for information most are referring to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s publication, Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, (http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds ) For New York City information, a 1993 NYC Health Department report called “Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments” is the resource of choice. For a copy of the report visit their web site at: www.ci.nyc.us/html/epi/moldrpt1.html
At the various sessions, a common theme emerged, especially from the attorneys. Don’t ignore a leak. Act on a leak and drying conditions within 48 hours. Act on resident complaints of smell or odor. Have an operations and maintenance plan for mold and moisture control.
Throughout the country courts have been issuing large awards for those property owners who have not acted in “a reasonable matter.” The media has been showcasing the problems in television news shows, newspaper, and magazine articles, and public awareness is on the rise. Buildings must be proactive. In addition, residents must be aware of their responsibilities as well. Below is a list for your residents to start the educational program.
Open windows. Proper ventilation is essential. If it is not possible to open windows, run the fan on the apartment air-handling unit to circulate fresh air throughout your apartment.
In damp or rainy weather conditions, keep windows and doors closed.
If possible, maintain a temperature of between 50 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit within your apartment at all times.
Clean and dust your apartment on a regular basis as required by your lease. Regular vacuuming, mopping, and use of environmentally safe household cleaners are important to remove household dirt and debris that contribute to mold growth.
Periodically clean and dry the walls and floors around the sink, bathtub, shower, toilets, windows and patio doors using a common household disinfecting cleaner
On a regular basis, wipe down and dry areas where moisture sometimes accumulates, like countertops, windows and windowsills.
Use the pre-installed bathroom fan or alternative ventilation when bathing or showering and allow the fan to run until all excess moisture has vented from the bathroom.
Use the exhaust fans in your kitchen when cooking or while the dishwasher is running and allow the fan to run until all excess moisture has vented from the kitchen.
Use care when watering houseplants If spills occur, dry up excess water immediately.
Ensure that your clothes dryer is operating properly, and clean the lint screen after every use.
When washing clothes in warm or hot water, watch to make sure condensation does not build up within the washer and dryer closet; if condensation does accumulate, dry with a fan or towel.
Thoroughly dry any spills or pet urine on carpeting.
Do not overfill closets or storage areas. Ventilation is important in these spaces.
Do not allow damp or moist stacks of clothes or other cloth materials to lie in piles for an extended period of time.
Immediately report to the management office any evidence of a water leak or excessive moisture in your apartment, storage room., garage, or any common area.
Immediately report to the management office any inoperable windows or doors.
Immediately report to the management office any musty odors that you notice in your apartment.
Volume 1 Issue 2