Apartment mold problem - please advise

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Mark Hayenga, Jun 23, 2003.

  1. Mark Hayenga

    Mark Hayenga Supporting Actor

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    Hey guys,

    I need some advice regarding a problem I'm having with my current apartment. My lease is up on June 30th. I was going to renew my lease for another year, but on June 17th I discovered some severe mold growth behind some stored boxes in my closet. Apparently the AC has been malfunctioning making the carpet and walls wet, and the mold now covers several square feet of the carpet & walls in the bedroom closet. The AC had the same problem last summer with the moisture (but no severe mold), and the maintanence guys must have come out 5 or 6 times to try and fix it. This summer it's happening again and now it's causing all that mold. I should mention I have been having extreme fatigue problems for the last six months which were finally diagnosed as a cedar allergy, but which never explained why I always felt worse after being in my apartment for several hours. I provided pictures & a letter to the landlord documenting the problem on the same day.

    The landlord offered to transfer me to another apartment in the complex, as she said they'd have to cut out the drywall in the old apartment and pull up the carpet/pad in the affected area.. I viewed the new apartment (same day) and agreed (verbally) to the transfer, with all my deposits transfering over to the new place. That was last Tuesday; since then they've been dragging their heels saying that 'they're not sure how to transfer the deposits over' and I'm still in the old apartment (despite the fact that another complex employee told me the apartment was physically ready and just sitting their waiting). I've called or talked to them in person every day since last Tuesday regarding the deposit, every time they 'have to check' and never call me back. I called them again this morning and am expecting a similar result.

    My question is, do I just get the hell out of this apartment? Keeping me in a moldy apartment for a week when the new one is just sitting there ready over a $150 deposit transfer is ridiculous. My lease is up June 30th, but I wouldn't be giving 30 days notice as required in normal circumstances if I vacated. I have provided them 1 written letter & photos documenting it which they read in my presence on June 17th (Texas law requires 2 letters to be sure they received them, or 1 letter by certified mail. Not sure where that puts me given that I saw them read the letter).

    What should I do?
     
  2. Mark Hayenga

    Mark Hayenga Supporting Actor

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    I should also mention that pulling up the boxes (through which the mold had grown) created an awful smell since the mold was no longer covered up, and during the past week my dog has exhibited breathing problems in her sleep twice and threw up while I was playing fetch with her at the park. She likes to sleep by the closet since that's where I used to keep her crate....
     
  3. David-S

    David-S Second Unit

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    Who are you talking to?

    Talk to the property manager, (in person if possible).

    if you have given them written notice about a problem, and they cannot resolve it, you often have a way to get out of the lease...


    Have you had an ok experience in the past? I got out of an apt complex after they refused to help me with a furnace problem, as i figured that would be a indicator of future problems...
     
  4. Evelio Figueroa

    Evelio Figueroa Second Unit

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    If I were you, I'd get out of that apartment as soon as possible!! Black mold is deadly and its common in Texas. It can lead to serious health problems.

    Look for this episode on Forensic Files. (CourtTV) Its a story about a family who lost everything due to black mold.
     
  5. Mark Hayenga

    Mark Hayenga Supporting Actor

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    I have spoken with the apartment manager in person twice about the problem and over the phone once. She's new; they just hired her a few weeks ago and I have no experience with her. I've been calling them once every day (except for Sunday) and they always say they'll 'have to check' about the deposit thing and never get back to me. I actually had a good experience with the old management (I've lived here two years now and was going to make it a third) but I'm very unhappy with how she has handled this situation so far. I mean, they don't know how to transfer a $150 deposit? Subtract from Column A, add to Column B....

    But it looks like I've made my decision. I was really getting wary of living there for another year given this situation. I called my father (who is also my attorney and out of the country at the moment) and after explaining the situation to him he told me to move everything back home (I'm a college student) and to tell the complex management to expect a letter from my attorney [​IMG] My father's a tax/probate attorney who also teaches CPA seminars and was extremely critical of their claim of not being able to transfer the deposit...

    Thanks guys,
     
  6. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Yep, I'm with splitting too. Since you told them about the problem and they haven't responded to it then they are in some deep doo doo.

    Since they haven't transferred you to the new place you can only assume that it's a 'no go', and thus any new lease is not valid, making the old lease 'valid' - so you have to be out by the end of the month.

    You could call up the Dept. of Public Health, and they'd probably condem the place. You could check with your adjoing neighbors too, and see if they have it.

    Oh, and most important of all, see a doctor and a vet. They should be paying for both of those bills.

    Glenn
     
  7. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    Get the hell out of there!

    You and your pet's health is so much more important than waiting around for these clowns to get their act together. If there was a foot of standing water in your apartment, or the place was on fire, would you stay? Mold isn't any less serious. If on apt has mold you can bet that others do too. And definitely DO tell them your attorney will be contacting them. You can't let them off the hook this easily since they need to pay for your medical and vet bills.
     
  8. Mark Hayenga

    Mark Hayenga Supporting Actor

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    Hey guys,

    Sure enough the management office never returned this morning's phone call regarding the transfer. I dropped off my 'Notice of Intent to Vacate' letter in their mail slot after hours tonight, and I'm now 2/3 moved out of the apartment. I'll be traveling back tomorrow to get the rest of my stuff. All I can say is it feels GREAT to have that decision made and to be out of there. I was really getting worried and worked up about it, what with red boogers (TMI, I know) and the dog throwing up...

    Regarding the legal stuff/medical cost issues, I'm sure Daddy will handle all of that. My 'Intent' letter said to direct all future correspondence to my lawyer, and that he would be contacting them regarding any and all monies that I may be owed. Under Texas law I believe they are at least required to return all deposits and prorated rent in the case that they don't maintain a habitable dwelling (ie they don't uphold their end of the lease). Dad gets back from France on the 5th. I'll probably run Cali by the vet to have her checked out when I'm back in town tomorrow (and will save the receipt as well). I'm also seriously considering that Dept of Health idea, as I'm sure the mold runs all the way up the walls (you can see water damage at the junction of the ceiling/walls in the closet, likely where my upstairs neighbors' AC has been leaking water).

    Thanks again guys,
     
  9. Mark Hayenga

    Mark Hayenga Supporting Actor

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    BTW here's a picture of the affected area in the closet. Note the outline of the boxes that were hiding this and how the walls are totally soaked through with moisture.

    www.hayenga.com/mark/mold.jpg
     
  10. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    Mark I'm so glad you're getting out of there. And the worst part is that what you see is only the tip of the iceberg. When there's mold, it generally stays hidden in the walls and you don't actually see it until it's gotten really bad. It must be really nice that your father will take care of this for you, it really helps in these situations! Take care of yourself and and your dog, I really hope you guys start feeling better soon!
     
  11. Robert_Z

    Robert_Z Screenwriter

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  12. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    Mark and Robert, get out while you still can! Mould is almost impossible to eliminate once it has moved inside the walls. I used to live in such a place and I almost experienced severe health problems because of it.
     
  13. James T

    James T Screenwriter

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    Our high school made the papers because of mold. It's as deadly as everyone in this thread states. For some of the portables, it was an easy fix and they just installed a super-exhaust fan. But for the remaining 20 portables, they had to tear it down.
     
  14. Evelio Figueroa

    Evelio Figueroa Second Unit

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    Robert_Z

    Black mold is deadly. If you keep exposing youself to it, you will get extremly sick!!

    Click on the "episode" link in my post above. Keep an eye out for "Breaking the mold" on Forensic Files. (CourtTV) You'll be shocked on what black mold can do!! I know I was.
     
  15. Robert_Z

    Robert_Z Screenwriter

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    But how can I as a non-scientist find out if I have mold or just dirt and crud? I don't want to hastily move out if there is no health hazard.
     
  16. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    mark - way to stick it to the man! [​IMG]
     
  17. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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  18. Karl_Luph

    Karl_Luph Supporting Actor

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    Mark, you wouldn't believe how many mold claims there were in Houston after Allison. I want to say Farmer's Insurance had so many claims it put a dent in the business for about a year. Did you catch wind of the story up in Austin? Definitely can't take mold lightly.
     
  19. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Usually the Department of Public Health is very nice about these problems. They may have to come out but might have an easy way for you to find out if it is or not.

    With apartments, they may even have the place on record, because others have called about it too. This works well if you don't know your neighbors!

    Glenn
     
  20. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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