Mold and Moisture in Commercial Buildings Carries Risk of Lawsuits
Commercial landlords have a lot of responsibilities. They have to make sure their buildings have no plumbing or electrical issues, that they are properly winterized, and an array of other responsibilities ranging from the loud and serious to the small and subtle. However, if a landlord does not pay attention to the air quality of the building, there is a serious lawsuit risk due to mold and moisture problems.
The Threat of a Lawsuit
When it comes to fixing problems, landlords tend to focus on the big, loud ones first. If there’s a busted window, a hole in the roof, or a faulty circuit tripping the power, those items will get the most attention because they’re easy to see. Moisture control is a subtler problem; landlords don’t necessarily think to check on the air quality of their buildings, and when people start sneezing, mold usually isn’t the first cause that comes to mind. As a result, property owners may not realize they have a mold problem until it has reached serious levels of danger.
That’s why property owners must install effective moisture control and get their properties professionally inspected at regular intervals.
Better Safe Than Sorry
It’s important to think of an inspection as an investment rather than an expense. It’s preventative maintenance, much like changing the oil in a car every few thousand miles. If you don’t change the oil, you increase the risk of finding out that you should have changed it when your car breaks down. Maybe every mold check in your building will show that there isn’t a problem with the air flow, but it’s much better to catch a mold problem in its early stages. It’s not just about mitigating liability, though; if you open up a wall and find it full of black mold, the cost to remove will be much higher than if you had found it earlier.
The Legality of Safety
Landlords are responsible for not subjecting tenants to hazardous conditions. Mold is no less hazardous than natural gas or radon leaks. Through accident or negligence, if a landlord exposes his tenants to mold and mildew, he must make amends. A little moisture problem, left unchecked, can spiral into healthcare suits, lost business costs, pain and suffering, reckless endangerment, and dozens of other things.
Don’t Overlook Moisture Barriers
It’s possible, though financially impractical, to add moisture control to a finished building. However, your buildings should be updated if necessary to comply with standards. For new buildings, moisture control should always be a part of the initial design. Incorporating the right membrane system into your building will save repair costs and help you avoid lawsuits.
Dörken is a leading manufacturer of air and moisture membranes for commercial and residential construction sold under the DELTA® brand name. Dörken is known for delivering innovative premium quality products to the construction market. We back up our high performance DELTA® products with educational programs and full technical support. To learn more about our air and moisture barriers, visit our website.