Black Mold and Renting

Updated on April 26, 2010
S.B. asks from Gainesville, FL
12 answers

Hey moms. I am in a horrible situation. I am living in an apartment complex and upon recently cleaning my closet out, I noticed mold growing in on the corners of the carpets, and all over the back corner of my wall which ruined three of my shirts...I have had a minor issue with it in the bathroom, but nothing out of the ordinary, I just thought it was mildew due to poor ventilation and would clean it off no problem with bathroom cleaners. Then I started to notice the support beams in my walls showing dark lines in the wall. First I though it was just the low caliber of paint they use in apartments and then put two and two together and realized that there just has to be mold behind the walls...Here's the thing. I am due for my first child in lease doesn't end till the end of July. I am terrified to have my baby here now, all I get is horror stories of babies with respiratory problems due to the mold, etc etc etc. I have spoken with management, they want to send the maintenance guy out to look, but after speaking to neighbors, they have told me they are always sick because of mold too and they are all looking for a place to live. It's stressing me out so bad because with the baby coming we had no money saved because we had not planned to have to move. I have no extra money right now to put down in deposits and fee's of a brand new place, and apartments here are SO expensive...Ive looked into private renters and all people are renting is trash...they want at least 900 for a run down house here that needs all sort of stuff fixed...I am just at wits end and extremely stressed. By the way, all the management here has done to correct the mold is to spray on a cleaner, which does absolutely nothing if its all growing within the walls...I am going to tell them I want a health inspector to come out and look at it but I know that they will not...I feel like I am going to be forced to move out, and if thats the case I still cant leave till almost august...I'll be here with a brand new newborn girl in a moldy house... and feel horrible and guilty every second. ... What should I do ? Like I said, I have no extra money saved as I did not plan on moving....I guess I know what my answer is ..I need to move for the health of my baby... Has anyone gone through problems like this?

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answers from St. Cloud on

Call the city and get the name of the building inspector for the area. Then CALL THE INSPECTOR DIRECTLY. If you are in an inspection area he will HAVE to come out to investigate.

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answers from Tampa on

I have been in your shoes, call the health department and code enforcement for your area and ask them to send someone out to inspect the unit but before you do that TAKE PICTURES!!! DOCUMENT EVERYTHING!!! Contact your property manager and let them know about it and make sure that you keep it all in writting (send it certified/return receipt) and also speak to your OB about seeing if they will contact the health department on your behalf also

Check with the landloard/tenant laws in your area/state and findout what they have to do legally. Worst case - contact an attorney or legal aid

Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

They are obligated to provide you with a safe living environment. Mold is not safe to be around. Based on your description it isn't something that can be fixed from the outside, there is a water leak in the wall that is causing the damage to both rooms and if you only have 1 bath you wouldn't be able to live their during the repairs. As others have said contact your local housing authority, they can help you with this situation. Document every contact with management and take pictures of the mold and any damage to your belongings. If they can't/refuse to take care of the problem you can legally break your lease. You should be able to get your deposit back from them which will help you get into your next place.

If all of this takes to long you could also try and band together with your neighbors, there is more strength in numbers. To shine a bad spotlight on them and force the issue immediately you could also contact your local news stations. In CA they take these kinds of stories all the time and expose the slumlords and you get immediate relief/correction because now the whole world is looking at the problem.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Gainesville on

Look up some information on landlord liability on the internet. Here are a few helpful links:
Basically if you have a structural problem because there are leaks that have not been fixed, the landlord is responsible. It sounds like they are doing the right thing, and that you have decent management. Let them in to take a look at it, and if they want to hire a contractor to remove it, let them. You will not be able to live there while they are removing the mold, but after it is done you shouldn't have to worry anymore. And it's a day or so maybe that you will be out, not much longer than that I wouldn't think, but that depends on the extent of the work necessary. There was a good suggestion about switching to another apartment in the same complex. However, your responsibilities are to keep the place well ventilated, clean the spots you can see, and to DOCUMENT EVERYTHING. READ the information in the links I sent you. It will tell you what you need to know. As far as your baby's health is concerned, if the mold is not in her room and you can keep her in well ventilated areas, you should be fine. For the mold spores to affect her respiratory system, they have to be in the air and they have to be the irritant kind of mold. Growing in the walls is bad, but if you can keep her away from that part of the apartment until the landlord has fixed it up I don't believe you will have health issues. If you have mold in the bathroom, wash her in the kitchen sink. I bathed my babies in the kitchen sink until they were about 4 or 5 months old and too big for it and grabbing everything on the counter. It saved my back. So you can avoid keeping your baby near the mold, and that will do a lot. Keep her room well ventilated, repaint with a VOC-free paint (available at Home Depot), and let your landlord remove the mold on their dime.



answers from Norfolk on

GET OUT OF THERE! It could be Stachybotrys, dangerous for you and baby, and also a valid legal reason to break your lease. I don't mean dangerous like stuffy noses and sore throats - I mean dangerous like neurological damage. Get out. Start by calling whatever environmental and consumer agencies you have in your area and express your concern. Ask for an inspection, then tell the landlord you have done so. Whole buildings are condemned if that stuff is present. Seriously, Google stachybotrys. And be careful not to take it with you when you go. There's plenty of good information online. Good luck.

BTW, bleeding in the lungs of infants is one potential side effect of stachybotrys per the CDC.


answers from Los Angeles on

mold is reason enough to break lease with out it being against you. We had mold in our last apt. I had a 2 week old son. He was HORRIBLY sick his first year. We didn't know we had mold in the walls until he was 1 1/2 years old. We broke our lease right away and moved out. Sometimes you have to do it and deal with the loss of money to keep your family healthy. It's either money spent on hospital and dr bills or a little bit extra on rent. I would rather pay a little extra on rent and keep my family healthy. Mold is not something to mess around with. I hope you can get out of there very quickly!



answers from Cleveland on

You can look on-line for your state regulations on repair issues & landlord vs. teneant rights - in Ohio... you are to notify by phone, if not fixed w/in 7 days - notify by cert mail w/ a comply date (usually 30 days), if it is still not fixed you have the right to got to the local courts & pay them your rent... the courts will then get invaulved & the landlord will not get his $ till your place is fixed to the courts standards. If you choose to, you can hire your own inspection, but you will have to pay for it. Or you can call your health dept & ask them to inspect the property - if this happens & they find to much of an issue... the place may recieve a "no live order" & you maybe give only 7 days to get out.

If you are wanting to leave - after you follow the phone & written notification, you do have the right to break the lease w/ proper notice (30 days usually), but make sure you watch that your landlord doesn't take you to court for breach of contract. If they do, go to the court date & show the proof that you notified them of the issue with the house & that you gave them notice of leaving due to unrepaired health issues. That way the landlord can't get a judgement agent you and charge you for the reapir of the mold issue & lost rent due to breaching your lease.

Your landlord doesn't have the right to kick you out for asking or demanding repairs, only for not paying. So, if you do want to stay make sure you make your payments to the courts if it's not fixed correctly. Other wise it will go on your credit & you many have a harder time getting approved for future rentals.

Good luck! And congratz on the baby!!



answers from Oklahoma City on

You may also contact WIC in your area, they may have some resources to help you. Also some employer's have assistance for emergency things like this, i would contact your HR as well. Some one will help, and you have to get out of there. Good Luck!



answers from Chicago on

I have not gone through it, but perhaps you could contact the health department yourself and report the mold, and that from what you have heard from other tenants the landlord is not taking proper measures to eliminate the problems.

Might this be a case of your landlord being in breach of contract? Check the wording of your lease, as I believe that the landlord has the responsibility to provide you with a safe abode. Do some research on your rights as a tenant before you speak with your landlord again. Demand that they fully remedy the problem. Mold cannot just be killed with Tilex spray, the walls will need to be replaced, as it is probably even in the studs at this point.

**Here is one search result I found, but it is not specific to FL **



answers from Minneapolis on

In addition to what others have posted below, I would contact your county's health and human services and request emergency assistance to help you move out of there. Most counties have programs and many of them are for helping pregnant women and newborns. You can also check with local churches and the Salvation Army for help with a deposit for a new place.

Good luck.



answers from Gainesville on

Is it possible to move to another unit within the same complex? Sounds like they are going to have to do major repairs to your unit and you wouldn't be able to stay there thru that. If you can change units you wouldn't need to come up with new deposits and such. If they won't work with you or there isn't another unit, do what the others suggested and contact the county or are you(or whoever you are living with) a student at UF? If you are a student you can contact student legal services and they'll help you for free!


answers from Milwaukee on

The people renting HAVE to do something about it, as in completely take care of it not just mask or hide it... after they come and check on it and if they do not properly take care of it then call your health and human service. Health & human service will make them take care of it.

The mold is coming from somewhere, so it is either a slow leaking pipe, leaking roof, or some sort of water issue. Management HAS to take care of this and get rid of the mold. Do not let go of it and keep on them till it is taken care of.

Next question: Buying a House, Inspector Found "Mold"......

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