I am currently living in an apartment with 3 other people, and we have been having a consistent mold problem. We have cleaned it multiple times and yet it returns in both bedrooms and the bathroom.

The issue comes from the fact that the apartment has literally NO VENTILATION besides the single window in each bedroom, and the small window in the bathroom. Around this time of year the cold weather causes a lot of condensation on the windows, where the droplets accumulate and cause mold.

My girlfriend and I are also experiencing symptoms such as nasal and sinus congestion, and hacking coughs which have been persisting for over a couple weeks which I believe I can attribute to the mold.

Now we cannot just leave the windows open at night because the weather is uncomfortably cold, but if we leave the windows closed the mold accumulates. It also seems like a ridiculous notion to be expected to wipe down the whole bathroom after each person takes a shower.

Given that my landlord is quite sleazy (I've had to call the city to get him to fix things before), I've been skeptical of notifying him as he will likely just blame me and tell me there is nothing he can do besides send people to clean it when it returns. So I figured that the best move would be to call the city and have them force him to do something to resolve this issue.

But in order to call them about the mold, it needs to result from a "structural deficiency," of which I cannot find a strict definition of anywhere.

So under these circumstances can poor ventilation be considered a structural issue so that I may contact the city?

Edit: This is occuring in Berkeley, CA

  • Where this is happening will matter
    – Dale M
    Jan 24, 2016 at 4:58
  • It is happening in Berkeley, CA Jan 24, 2016 at 5:08

1 Answer 1


According to this website

Civil Code 1942 gives you the option of moving out... or fixing the things yourself, and deducting the cost from your next rent.

This website states

A landlord can be held liable for damages resulting from a mold-related illness if a violation of the building code of the source of the problem. Examples may be:

  • deficient bathroom or kitchen ventilation

You mention each room has a window so at least it's done to code, but maybe you can see if the bathroom window is smaller than an allowable limit. Usually rental unit matters are determined at state level. Good luck!

  • 1
    In my experience (possibly irrelevant as it is second-hand information about New York City code), a bathroom need not have additional ventilation if it has a window.
    – phoog
    Jan 27, 2016 at 17:11
  • @phoog oh yes this is true, a window counts as ventilation.
    – Guy McG
    Feb 2, 2016 at 7:59
  • Well, assuming the window can be opened. :)
    – Scott
    Feb 2, 2016 at 9:34
  • @SOIA Thanks to the smiley face, I can't tell if that's a joke or if it's actually true. I mean, it makes sense if it were true, but do you know whether it actually is?
    – phoog
    Feb 3, 2016 at 16:13
  • @phoog it was an attempt at humor. I have no clue about any actual dwelling referred to in the question.
    – Scott
    Feb 3, 2016 at 17:11

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