Is Renting Bad for Your Health? How Renters Can Ensure Safe and Secure Housing
How Tenants Can Protect Themselves
- Dry: Roofing, drainage and plumbing systems should not allow water to enter the home.
- Clean: Dust and contaminants should be kept under control using air filters with ventilation systems to reduce pollen and particulate matter, and dust should be removed often with a damp cloth or mop.
- Safe from hazards: Poisons should be stored out of children’s reach; rugs should be secure; toys or other items should not create tripping dangers; smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be working and fire extinguishers should be accessible.
- Well-ventilated: The whole house should receive a supply of fresh air, using windows and outdoor vents to reduce a concentration of contaminants. Bathrooms and kitchens should be ventilated with fans and windows.
- Pest-free: Make sure cracks and openings around the home are sealed and food is stored in closed containers. Use the least-toxic pesticides such as boric acid powder.
- Contaminant-free: In pre-1978 homes, check and remove any deteriorating paint that may cause lead-related hazards. Keep floors and window areas clean, and test your home for radon. Install a radon removal system if levels are detected above the EPA action-level.
- Well-maintained: Inspect your home and take care of minor repairs and problems before they become large repairs and problems.
- Thermally controlled: Residents need to be safe from exposure to extreme cold and heat, so the home should maintain adequate temperatures.
Know Your Lease and Your Rights
Identify Dangers in Your Home
Turn to Advocacy
What to Do If Your Home Is Making You Sick
- Learn the tenants’ rights in your state.
- Contact the landlord to discuss your problem.
- Contact local housing agencies and renters’ rights groups.
- Maintain all records of communication with the landlord about problems as well as proof of rent and deposits paid.
- Look into proactive rental enforcement and rental code enforcement.