Landlord and mold
Asked Mar 8, 2010, 11:30 AM
We are renting a home in Arkansas in which there has been chronic leaking and water issues since we moved in. We are a family of 5 and it is very hard to find affordable rental properties in the area that are not in the "scary" parts of town. (For background) the street is quiet, the neighbors are fairly nice, and we have been trying to improve our credit to move from a rental to our own home.
I have recently noticed a trend. We,meaning all in the home, have been having allergy issues. Mine are worse then the others as I have been working and going to school from home. (trying to get out of here) I have chronic sore throat, swollen itchy eyes, headaches,etc. I was diagnosed with Diabetes,given medicine and my sugars are now normal but the symptoms which I thought were part of the illness have not subsided.
Recently I found mold accumulation on the window seals of the front room, our bedroom, and our daughters room. These windows were sealed when the landlord painted prior to us moving it. We told them about them (no did not send a letter) but nothing was done. The kitchen and another bedroom has windows that open and whenever we want to air anything out we open them and the doors. (The house is only about 950 sq ft but is zoned as a 3 BR).He was asked to repair an ongoing leak in the kitchen ceiling (which extends to the light fixture)and told about the mold growth, he said for us to clean it up, and if we think it was a health issue to move. (yes he did a quick patch job on the ceiling)The landlord does not seem to like us and has been idling us to "move" with every issue we have, I believe so he can raise the rent for someone else. Anyway, I did a mold test to see if there may be mold in the ventilation (we are not allowed to go into the attic BTW) I taped the petri dish to the vent and left it there for an hour, removed it and let it sit for 3 days covered. Sure enough there is mold growth. I have prepared a letter asking for the landlord to see about the issue and the unseal the windows formally but I am honestly afraid he will just kick us out. I would LOVE to move and as I have stated earlier have looked for housing for our family size (very small town 16 thousand ) that is not the projects, or a run down neighborhood.This is the type of landlord that would show us all the houses for rent on the "black" streets but we would have to request to be shown others. Also, there was a 2 bedroom home that was for rent at the same time as this one (we saw this one and cringed but took it as a better alternative to our other, now crime infested apartment) but the landlord stated that we could not rent that home because we were a family of 5 and we required a 3 BR. (The house is 1 bath, 3 BR, and all are tiny! But the apartment was about 1500 Sq ft 2 bath 2 bedroom, and you could fit two of these bedrooms into one of the bedrooms there).
Rent is timely, home well kept, no damages from us that have not been repaired on our part or paid for. Month to month lease (standard 30 day notice enforced for moving) What to do? I have contacted an attorney on tenant issues and his lovely reply was to move. Thanks-no duh. LOL. I guess my question is really if there is no option to move, what can we do? Should I send the letter anyway? Remember I live in AR and yes, it does suck to be a tenant here.Oh by the way, contacted the "Health Department" and he was kind enough to tell me how "I" can clean the mold when asking him about mold growth. He stated he could not force the landlord to clean the mold. It may take new insulation, cleaning inside the ceiling etc, and as this is an old house I am pretty sure he would rather just kick us out as opposed to fixing anything. ;)