There are household nightmares, and then there’s mold. Getting rid of mold can be expensive and disruptive. Even worse, according to the World Health Organization, mold can trigger allergic reactions, aggravate asthma and release the mycotoxins that can cause acute poisoning. Mold is also linked to serious diseases like cancer and disorders like immune deficiency.
A recent study by RentHop may help New York City renters avoid neighborhoods where mold runs rampant. By dividing the average yearly number of mold complaints logged by the 311 system from the beginning of 2017 to July 6, 2023, by the total number of rental units in each neighborhood, the study ranked them from most to least moldy.
Overall, mold complaints from New York renters rose to 27,164 in 2022, up from 23,056 in 2017. So far, 2023 is on track to surpass 2022. During the exodus of renters from the city in 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, the number of complaints dropped. But as renters returned in 2021, so did mold complaints. In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, September 2021 had the most mold complaints of all the months counted.
According to Renthop, New York City’s humidity and warmer temperatures in past years contributed to the growth of mold. Tenants, many now paying higher rents, also have demanded more of their landlords, potentially increasing complaints.
The Bronx, which has a long history of mold problems in housing projects, had the unfortunate distinction of being the borough with the most mold complaints every year studied. In 2023 thus far, it’s had about 112 complaints per 10,000 renter-occupied units, followed by Staten Island, with about 73; Brooklyn, with about 55; Manhattan, with about 44; and Queens, with about 35.
On the neighborhood level, Fordham Heights in the Bronx had the most complaints from 2017 to 2022, an average of 656 a year. Nine out of 10 of the most moldy neighborhoods were in the Bronx. At the bottom of the list was Peter Cooper Village in Manhattan, with a six-year average of about 11 complaints a year.
This week’s chart shows the 20 New York neighborhoods with the most mold complaints, according to the study.