The California Department of Public Health Statement (CDPH) has acknowledged that the presence of water damage, dampness, logo_CDPH_v.1_colorvisible mold, or mold odor in schools, workplaces, residences, and other indoor environments is unhealthy.

The CDPH said its position is based on the current consensus among scientists and medical experts that visible water damage, damp materials, visible mold, and mold odor indicate an increased risk of respiratory disease. Human health studies have led to a consensus among scientists and medical experts that the presence in buildings of (a) visible water damage, (b) damp materials, (c) visible mold, or (d) mold odor indicates an increased risk of respiratory disease for occupants.

According to the CDPH, known health risks include: the development of asthma, allergies, and respiratory infections; the triggering of asthma attacks; and increased wheeze, cough, difficulty breathing, and other symptoms. Available information suggests that children are more sensitive to dampness and mold than adults. In addition, evidence is accumulating, although not yet conclusive, that the more extensive, widespread, or severe the water damage, dampness, visible mold, or mold odor, the greater the health risks.

As of January 1, 2016, the CDPH also had stated that renters with water damaged, moldy or damp dwellings has long been listed as a condition making a home substandard to a code inspector. The owner of a rental property cited as by a local (city or county) code inspector substandard is required to repair the substandard condition.

This is a very important announcement for renters who have been affected by mold in the properties they are renting. A call to your local city inspector may be a good idea to place the landlord on alert in case they have been unresponsive to your requests to have the mold properly cleaned and remidiated.

The California Department of Affairs provides advice for tenants on mold issues in “California Tenants – A Guide to Residential Tenants’ And Landlords’ Rights And Responsibilities”:

“… the presence of mold conditions in the rental unit that affect the livability of the unit or the health and safety of tenants” may be a way in which the implied habitability of a unit is violated and that a tenant may be able to claim a breach of the implied warranty on the basis of documented contamination.


  1. California Department of Health
  2. Read the full PDF document at this link.