Help! MOLD Problem in Apartment (Renting) (Sacramento, Yucaipa: rental, insurance, attorney)
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I have what seems to me a pretty bad mold problem in my bathroom. The mold began growing on the drywall and tiles in and around the shower, but has now moved to the ceiling and walls of the entire bathroom! The mold doesn't come off with regular cleaning sprays but comes off with bleach. But I don't think cleaning the surface is really alleviating the problem, as I think the mold is growing INSIDE the drywall. There is very little ventilation in the bathroom (no windows, weak fan--builders/owners fault), but we ALWAYS run the fan and even keep the door open when showering (which makes for a chilly shower!).
When we first moved in, the complex manager mentioned that we need to make sure we run the fan when we take showers so they won't have to charge us for mold damage when we move out. I am doing everything I can short of taking a cold shower every morning to try to control this, but the mold is growing anyway.
I want to move out as this problem is potentially hazardous to our health and certainly unsightly. How do we ensure that WE don't get charged (ie, part of our deposit withheld) for a mold problem that is not our fault?
I mentioned this problem to the manager who came in (when we weren't home) and said that we should clean it with bleach. A couple days later, I got a call from them saying that there is a serious leak in the apartment below us and they wanted to come check it out. It turned out that our shower spigot was leaking a little. Now I'm afraid there's MORE mold growing that I can't even see!
Please help, I don't want to have to pay for something that isn't even my fault!
Document it as much you can. I left an apartment due to a mold problem that came from a hotwater pipe exploding and flooding the apt and the landlord not replacing the carpet or padding. My wife has severe allergies to mold(and we went to an allergist to test) and we couldn't live in our apt anymore. Sent a letter to the landlord that we were intending to moveout and that due to the inadequate cleanup of the water we wanted our full deposit back(incase they planned on taking any for any type of repair or cleanup work). They returned my deposit and I was on my way. If they hadn't I would have went straight to the apartment/housing authority to file a grievance and to try and recoup my money through them or small claims.
This government agency might provide you with helpful information that you can use or connect you to other offices that can help you. If you type in the California Department of Consumer Affairs into your web browser and go to the website, they have a free online landlord/tenant housing guide.
Department of Consumer Affairs
1625 North Market Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95834
(916) 445-1254 TDD (916) 322-1700
(800) 952-5210 TDD (800) 326-2297
Home - California Department of Consumer Affairs
The fact that the manager warned you to always use the fan or you will be charged to clean up the mold, suggests to me that the manager knew that the unit has a continuing mold problem that pre-existed you moving in. Make sure you take pictures of everything and as others have suggested, document when the problem first took place, when you reported it, etc. If you or anyone in your family has had a health problem due to the mold, make sure you keep all medical reports, bills, as well.
You might want to call your local Department of Health and/or Housing Authority. They can come in and inspect the unit and verify that the mold is being caused by structural problems, ie. water leakage, not by failure to clean. They have the authority to force the landloard to fix the mold problem or stop renting the unit.
Best wishes on getting a mold-free apartment.
Also, you might want to let your manager know that unless there is an emergency, you would like 24 hours notice before any entry to your apartment is made.
I'm sure the apt. manager was aware of a pre-existing mold. He probably painted over it himself. What a bad position he put you in. Now you are constantly worried about not getting your deposit back etc.
How long have you lived there? I would ask them to purchase the paint that someone suggested above or for them to hire a mold specialist to take care of the problem the right way. I feel for you. No one wants to live with that.
,,,,The fact that the manager warned you to always use the fan or you will be charged to clean up the mold, suggests to me that the manager knew that the unit has a continuing mold problem that pre-existed you moving in. Make sure you take pictures of everything and as others have suggested, document when the problem first took place, when you reported it, etc. If you or anyone in your family has had a health problem due to the mold, make sure you keep all medical reports, bills, as well.
My thought as well.
If repairs were made in the past they should have been made with "green Board" a water resistant drywall board. If the mold is in the wall you will never get rid of it.
I work in property insurance and deal with this situation regularly. It is very likely that there is an ongoing leak somewhere in the complex, which is fostering an environment for the mold to grow. The fact that it grows back after you wipe it off with bleach is evidence of that. Considering the possible plumbing leak, you should not be held responsible for it. It is also very likely that the mold is within the framing members and is far worse than what is visible. The mold can potentially be in several rooms.
Mold requires a constant water source. It can't continue to grow without it. The advice that the property manager gave you about blowing a fan on the mold is TOTALLY WRONG!!! Do not do this. The only thing you will accomplish is to scatter mold spores which might exacerbate the problem.
Professional mold remediation companies use negative air machines and HEPA vacuums to effectively remediate the mold. They never use air fans on mold.
You need to put your apartment management company on written notice concerning the ongoing mold issue and your health concerns. Be sure to mail the letter to them via certified mail. In addition to noting your health concerns, you should note what you have done to try and mitigate the damage yourself.
The apartment manager must handle this matter appropriately. That does not mean calling a handy man to rip out some moldy drywall. It means calling an industrial hygienist to to provide a Mold Protocol. Once the Industrial Hygienist provides a Mold Protocol, they need to hire a IICRC certified mold remediation company to follow the Protocol and conduct their remediation. Upon completion of the remediation, the Industrial Hygienist needs to return and conduct an air clearance test to ensure that the mold levels in your apartment are within "normal expected range."
This is a very serious matter and you should not be bullied into believing this is your fault. This is the responsibility of your property manager. Good luck and I hope this works out for you.
yes by all means document your concerns about the mold first.....second find your self a new place to live because if he is aware that there was mold before you are right there is more that you cant see, not to scare you but there is a development of New homes in Yucaipa Ca. where there are 15 home owners that have sued the builder because after only 5 months after one women move in they noticed that some of the wood flooring was turning black from mold ( uncured concrete) shortly there after she developed lung problems and died. I would not wait. It is a good reason to move and get your deposit returned in full. give your mgr. your notice that you movingto a safer apt.
I agree with ajnsd, this is a liability on the landlord. There's no way he can enforce a clause about an existing mold problem. Don't let him bully you. I have rental property, and I'm the one that is liable for a mold probem, not the tenent.
The land lord can either fix the problem using a mold certified remediator and have an inspector have a lab clear the building and say that it is safe again to cover his bottom.
Put the tenant in another house or apartment with equal or better value. But who does this these days right?
Let the tenant out of the contract.
Unless of course the tenant caused the water damage or mold problem. Talk to an attorney for I do not have all the answers but I have been in the business for 23 years.
For a free consult you can email me at: [email]email@example.com[/email]
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