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Old 08-16-2008, 05:58 PM
Location: Whittier
1 posts, read 3,320 times
Reputation: 10


I just became a member, I hope this is the correct place.

I am married, have two children, and a medical school student and have a significant problem.

I live in a 120 unit apartment building in Whittier.

I have asbestos in my return air duct.
It was not disclosed in our environmental addendum.
The owners inspector tore the paper without containment and placed the remnant back into the return air duct.
The owner took samples for testing along with mold samples.
Her inspector did not take mold samples from the only known place mold was identified by my lab results proving toxic mold. Counts are low, but present and needs to be abated (according to my inspector).
A week after samples were taken landlord says, Good news we are "all clear".

Naturally, I asked for results defining "all clear".

They gave me another tenants toxic mold results results showing mold at a different location. I found the discrepancy about a week later and asked for my results, and for them to furnish the results of asbestos.

I received results for my house showing Aspergillus/Penicillium over Eight times greater than the control sample taken from outside the apartment. The toxic mold is in my daughters wall cavity. Her inspectors own recommendations state if there mold concentrations greater than the control, she should hire a Certified Industrial Hygienist to do more extensive testing. She refuses to do any further testing.

With regards to the asbestos, I asked her, "Did you test the paper? Y or N

She stated, "No we didn't test the paper as it was tested during the due diligence when we purchased the building."

I said, You realize you just told me you knew the paper was in my return air duct because you have the results. Can I have them?

She would not furnish them. I had it tested and the results were positive for 3% crystallite asbestos. My air concentration was. 0096 at 0.01 OSHA says it is dangerous. The AQMD inspector (asbestos regulators) could not violate because he did not witness the act. And it is 0.04 below the danger line.
He could not declare it a danger and because it was not at the 0.01 level. Another test may have sampled a bit higher or lower.

There are two reasons the asbestos concentration may have been high.
1. The owners inspector ripping the paper without any containment.
2. The owner performed a nearly million dollar renovation to the buildings in this complex without permits from Building and Safety, OSHA, & the AQMD.

It seems like they got away with a significant amount of trouble because the construction was virtually over when they got caught.

They will not furnish any of the permits even though I have requested them.

They got caught because the came into my apartment to fix a structural problem to my closet ceiling. The defect will not allow the closet doors to stay on the tract. The ceiling has a significant sag to it.

The owner served me with a three day notice to vacate for construction in a harassing/threatening manner.

I called B & Safety to see if they had permits. They only pulled them for the replacement of the stairs.

The building inspector showed up at my door hand in hand with the building Architect/ Renovation coordinator (whose name cannot be found in the CA database as being a licensed Architect) along with a rep of the owner. And were denied the right to perform the construction due to lack of permits.

I believe a stop work order was placed on them, then within a week were busted trying to clean up the worst problems because they knew the gig was up and I believe they were trying to mitigate the damage.

I have paid my rent in protest for months now and finally am now withholding rent.

They gave me a three day to pay or quit. I told them Id rather go to court and fight them for relocation fee.

I cant move because I don't know if my belongings are contaminated and don't want to move contaminated belongings into a new place.

I want to determine my family's exposure and determine if there are any damages other than the fact I dropped out of Medical school due to this problem. I lost about 13,000 for that term

Yet I want to move because I am too close to the OSHA safety line.

I am torn and don't know what to do

I have run into so many gray areas of the law I am sick.

I have termite damage to a beam that appears to be hollow as it enters into my closet where. Verified by a certified inspector.

I have a fire hazard outside of my door. Verified by Code enforcement. But highly unlikely anything will happen now that the exposed wires are at least covered by electrical tape.

I do not believe the owner is not willing to fix the problem, I believe they cannot fix the problems as long as we are occupying the building.

Yet, they give me excuse after excuse why the problems are fixed.

I believe they are waiting until November when my lease is up, then furnish me with eviction orders for some trivial reason. Who wants to take the chance of an eviction on their record?

I have already received the verbal threat of an eviction on my record for ever. But I did not budge or pay my rent. Now, they want to negotiate with one months rent waived, $200 for incidentals and have a nice life.

I think I deserve more. Many will say take it and run. But we were likely exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos. My daughters...

It is unfathomable to think of the consequences. What if ten, twenty years down the line they are diagnosed with complications due to asbestos exposure? Try and litigate that one then.

Our test was performed a month or more after the two incidents. It has only gone down since then. So I feel that with the assurance of the AQMD it may be safe. Next round of tests are $275 a sample for vacuum samples.
To determine our properties exposure. I cannot afford that. Ive spent about one thousand on testing already

So I don't know what to do, Stay and fight or flee like a coward and let them get away with all of these things and possibly harm my family and all of the other tenants, which may threaten many other tenants and their children. I feel like I have a responsibility to protect those who do not have this knowledge. It may be the mark of an idiot asking for trouble. I don't know. I care about people and because we are renters should have to endure these type's of action by landlords who are most interested in profits not their tenants? I don't think so, Id love any advice anyone has or at a minimum, Pray for us. We need it!

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Old 08-17-2008, 07:00 AM
Location: Hot Springs, AR
5,612 posts, read 13,243,711 times
Reputation: 3740
Why are you putting your children's health in danger? If you care about them, MOVE! Then fight. Your landlord has an obligation to provide a habitable living space and s/he has obviously failed to provide it. But YOU, not your landlord is risking your children's health because YOU are the one leaving them to sleep with the asbestos and toxic mold, not your landlord. Is your children's health and well-being worth it to force a landlord who is not willing to, to do the right thing?
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Old 08-17-2008, 07:11 AM
Location: RSM
5,113 posts, read 17,036,531 times
Reputation: 1884
honestly it sounds like you're being unduly anal given the fact that you are renting. if you want total control of the situation you need to own your own property. fighting the landlord does you no good and it would be best if you just come to a mutual understanding with the landlord to either break your lease or move out when your lease is up. sure, you could fight with all the authorities about safety, but ultimately at the pace things work here it's not going to benefit you any time soon. thats just reality.
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Old 08-17-2008, 07:26 AM
Location: Beautiful Rhode Island
6,303 posts, read 10,473,063 times
Reputation: 6082
If I were you, I'd take their offer and move immediately. Being California, you can probably find new construction to live in.

It does sound as if you are making yourself sick with worry. Remember that these toxic mold, asbestos, radon, lead pipe situations have been heavily hyped. Many older homes have these situations and people have lived with them for decades with no ill effects. You may have had a brief exposure that may well come to naught. Here in New England our old houses have all these things ( I personally have wrapped asbestos in the basement) and I am approaching the "old age" category myself in good health. People around here routinely live to old ages, so, please put all this in perspective and quit worrying so much- especially about levels that you say weren't even that high! You don't want to get medical student hypochrondia.
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Old 08-17-2008, 10:19 AM
Location: Earth
3,514 posts, read 2,530,377 times
Reputation: 2564
go to the press
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