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Navigating Mold Damage in Rentals: Your Essential Guide to Taking Action

Amidst the beauty of San Diego, an unseen adversary often infiltrates our homes – mold. Nurtured by water intrusion and poor maintenance, this persistent foe can seem daunting. But whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, we’re here to arm you with essential knowledge and action plans. By understanding your rights, knowing how to respond swiftly, and with our guidance, you can turn the tide against mold, ensuring your home remains a safe and healthy sanctuary.

From Spore to War: How San Diego Residents Can Beat Back the Mold Infestation


Living in the beautiful city of San Diego, with its near-perfect weather and stunning beaches, unfortunately also means dealing with a commonplace enemy – mold. Mold is a pervasive issue in our homes, especially when we face water intrusion from leaks or poor maintenance, a situation that is quite prevalent in San Diego’s older buildings.

Over the past few years, our dedicated team has assisted hundreds of clients with a myriad of mold-related situations. It’s our mission to help residents maintain healthy, mold-free living environments, but we often find ourselves hamstrung when it comes to helping tenants. Existing laws prevent us from taking action without direct permission from the landlord, property manager, or owner. As much as we’d like to, we can’t directly intervene in such cases. However, we can – and do – help educate tenants about best practices and the options available to them. In line with our commitment to public education, we’ve decided to make this information more accessible here.

Whether you’re a tenant or a landlord wrestling with a mold problem, we urge you to familiarize yourself with the information we provide. Understanding your situation and knowing how to take appropriate action can make a significant difference.

In California, tenants have protections against mold under Senate Bill (SB) 655. This legislation has been in place since 2016 and is taken very seriously. You can find more information about this by clicking the link or conducting a quick Google search.

If you suspect that mold is present at your property, it’s crucial to take proper action quickly. Here are the steps we recommend:

1. Alert the property owner or manager: The first step should always be to inform the relevant authority about the situation. The responsibility for addressing the issue primarily rests with them.

2. Limit exposure: Mold can spread rapidly and cause health issues. Close off the affected area to foot traffic to prevent the spread of mold.

3. Follow up: Make sure the issue is addressed in a timely manner. Guidelines stipulate that mold problems should be handled within ten business days.

4. Choose the right professionals: When it comes to mold mitigation, not all companies are created equal. Make sure the company you choose uses Xactimate for estimating costs. This software is the same one used by insurance companies and is considered a fair pricing system for this type of work. Also, ensure the company is certified. The personnel conducting the work or supervising should be AMRT certified by the IICRC.

5. Understand the remediation process: If your property management tries to paint over the mold or spray “mold killer” on it, know that this is not an acceptable solution according to the S520 standard for mold removal. All porous and semi-porous surfaces must be removed, including drywall, carpet, most flooring, and fabrics like furniture. Some furniture and wood can be cleaned or restored with proper equipment, but it’s not a common service due to cost-effectiveness.

6. Know your rights: If the property management does not address the problem within ten business days, it’s time to take further action. We understand that it might lead to an uncomfortable situation, but your health and safety are paramount. You should consider calling the Building Department in your area. For San Diego residents, they can be reached at 619.446.5000.

Mold exposure can lead to a series of health issues, some of which can be quite serious. It’s vitally important to inform your medical team if you suspect you’ve been exposed to mold, especially if you’re experiencing health issues that aren’t resolving as expected. Mold-related health issues require specific tests and treatments, so informing your healthcare provider is crucial.

If you require more information or guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly at 858.737.5254. If your landlord or property manager is willing and grants us permission, we’d be more than glad to assist. We can respond to all mold situations within 24 hours. The average mold mitigation project takes us between 7-10 business days to fully resolve, during which you typically won’t need to move out of your home. Our team sets up containment areas to minimize exposure, and at the end of the project, we provide a Mold Clearance test to verify that all mold has been removed from the surfaces and the air.

Here’s a typical timeline for a mold mitigation project:

* Day 0: We receive a call about a mold problem, send an emergency work authorization via email for signature, dispatch a technician to assess the situation, and give a rough estimate of cost. We start the project by setting up containment to limit the spread of mold and installing equipment to dry out any moisture and set negative air fans to clean the air from active mold spores.

* Day 1: We start demolition, which may start on day 0 if time permits and could extend into day 2. We thoroughly clean the containment area, and continue the drying process. The technician will also start the process for mold testing. Testing should occur 24 hours after the mold has been removed. Doing it sooner could result in a failed test because the negative air fans have not had enough time to properly clean the air.

* Day 2: We check on the drying progress and schedule repairs. We also make a list of items that need new materials and require the owner to select these for us.

* Day 2-3: We receive the material selections, provide the repair schedule, conduct the final mold clearance testing, and remove our equipment if the area is dry and clearance passes.

* Day 3 to 5: We begin repairs. This could include installing new drywall, painting, and restoring any other areas that were damaged during the mold mitigation process.

* Day 7 to 10: We complete the repairs and provide a Mold Clearance certificate to confirm that all mold has been removed from surfaces and from the air.

We understand that dealing with mold can be a stressful and unnerving experience. We strive to make the process as smooth and efficient as possible, prioritizing your health and peace of mind. At the end of the day, our goal is to ensure that you can live comfortably and safely in your home.

No matter what Fiasco has struck your home, EMS Restoration is here to help and offer free advice and estimates.

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