Spring is here, and for some, that means hay fever season is here, too. For others, allergies are a year-round problem. Dust, mold, smoke, pet dander, and a variety of chemicals cause different allergy symptoms—from the mildly annoying to the life-threatening—for different people. Whatever you’re allergic to, and however mild or severe your symptoms are, a well-chosen Houston apartment can reduce your suffering. Whether you’re moving to Houston or relocating within the area, the apartment hunt is a great time to reduce your exposure to allergens. Here’s how to conduct an allergy-friendly apartment hunt:
Discuss severe allergies with your manager or landlord before you sign your lease. If your allergies are severe, be sure to discuss them with your potential landlord. The presence or absence of your allergen can make all the difference in your happiness in your new Houston apartment, so it should make or break your decision to rent there. Read your lease and the apartment complex’s stated rules carefully, and ask questions if it’s not perfectly clear how those rules will affect your allergies. For example, if smoking is prohibited inside the building, is it allowed on the building’s grounds? Neighbors who smoke outside may be worse for someone who is very sensitive to smoke. If your allergies are very severe or even life-threatening, find out whether they can be considered a disability under the Federal Fair Housing Act. If so, your landlord may be required by law to make reasonable accommodations to help you avoid allergens. This post from the Fair Housing Institute explains how and when landlords must make accommodations for severe allergies.
Choose an apartment that’s easier to keep clean. Depending on your allergen, certain details can make your apartment much easier to live in. Most allergens, including pet dander, dust, and pollen, are much easier to clean from hardwood or tiled floors than from carpets. If pollen is a problem, effective air conditioning is a must to keep you comfortable while your windows stay closed. Look for an apartment with newer windows that won’t let in allergy-aggravating drafts. Whatever you’re allergic to, also look for an apartment with a dehumidifier in its HVAC system. If your apartment doesn’t have one, consider getting your own small dehumidifier. The ideal humidity level for controlling indoor allergies is 30 to 50 percent. The average relative humidity in Houston is 63 to 90 percent. A dehumidifier can make the difference in mold growth and the ability of other allergens to travel through your apartment’s indoor air.
Posted by Melanie Belasco Levy on 03/29/12