Mold problem

7 Replies

Hey I am new here so I hope this is the right place for this. Anyways I am a student who is renting a house with 4 other roommates on individual leases. We soon noticed that mold would grow along the windows, didn't think much of it and just cleaned it. We all started to get sick, with coughs, nose bleeds, headaches, sinus and ear infections. This went on for several months while we attributed it to our stress from school/late nights/etc. after I started to have trouble breathing, I started to do research. We pulled out our furniture and found a significant amount of mold growing on the walls/trim along the floor, and on the floor several inches out from each wall. This is along the walls with windows. Personal belongings we stored under our beds were covered with mold. The mold is black with a green tint to it. It grows in several circles/spots. It looks moist and smells bad.

We contacted our land lord and were told that it could possibly be our fault from letting the house get too humid?? He cleaned mold out of our bathroom fans and gave us cleaning supplies. The next day we were itchy after showering and felt sick, like wanted to vomit. So we left the house and are staying with friends.

I'm positive we have a mold problem, I just don't know where to go from here. We are taking summer classes and need a safe place to stay, but being students, we don't have money to move/fees for changing cabel/utilities/etc.

what should we do? Should we pay rent/ just move out/etc. Thanks!

Wow! You didn't say what state you live in, but in Michigan that would be a big problem. That being said....no landlord wants to hear about mold. A lot of bad tenants use mold as an excuse to not pay rent (without there actually being mold). In your case, there is obviously mold.

Unless the problem is confined to the bathroom, then I'm not sure what would be causing a problem like this. You need to determine if it's something that you are doing that is causing this, or if it is the landlords problem. Unless its a leak in the wall or under the floor, there won't be much he can do to immediately solve the problem.

Use bleach and clean every surface in the house. Make sure that the bath fan is vented to the exterior, and if you have a bathroom window, open it every time the shower is used (and for a few hours afterward). Eliminate moisture where ever you can. You can get a dehumidifier yourself, or ask your landlord to provide one. The good ones are several hundred dollars, but can pull gallons of water out of the air every hour.

Hope you get the problem resolved!

The apartment that I lived in while in college had much more mold than that. And I never experienced any of the sicknesses that you speak of.

Good Morning,

There are several different types of mold and disturbing any will release their spores into the air, possibly causing upper respiratory problems. Clearly based on your picture this problem did not happen over night. With that said, what does your lease state in terms of keeping the property clean and tidy and/or sanitary? If the source of the water is coming from the exterior or the tenants on the floor above then the landlord needs to get a contractor to the property to inspect and fix the cause.

The bottom line, nobody should live in a property with mold-especially in the quantity you showed. The tenants should respect the property and maintain it to prevent this from happening just as the landlord should act promptly to eliminate this issue if the source is outside the control of the tenants. Best of luck.

Bjorn

Contact landlord, landlord doesn't address problem, contact court system. See doctor and document problems. Move out temporarily, whether permanent is dependent on landlord work. If you don't trust landlord, hire contractor to determine cause of mold and document

Do you think the landlord got a hold of the tenant and closed his BP account? I hope we don't hear about this on the news.

You should work this out with your landlord. You have a contract to fulfill and so does he.

The landlord could absolutely be right that you and your roommates caused the problem or contributed to the problem by your actions (putting too much moisture in the air, not using exhaust fans properly, blocking air flow) or non-actions (not cleaning). The landlord needs to look into this further to find the root cause and address it.

Take care of your health needs too. That should be top priority. Don't be disturbing mold without protecting yourself. When cleaning mold, use proper PPE (personal protection equipment) such as a face mask and gloves rated for such. Extensive mold problems are best remedied by a contractor who specializes in mold remediation.

The photo shows what could be dirt or mold on a tile floor and does not appear to extend onto the baseboards or the walls. Tile is non-porous and can be easily cleaned with an mixture of bleach and water. Same goes for window tracks. Use white vinegar for cleaning porous surfaces such as woodwork, as it will kill down to the roots of some molds. White vinegar is great for cleaning windows too and many other surfaces.

In the winter time. It is important to heat the interior of the home, especially under windows. Windows should be cleaned regularly. If there is a moisture buildup on the windows address it right away. If there are baseboard heaters under windows, use them and don't block the airflow. Single pane windows are more prone to moisture build up; the differing temperatures of outside air and inside air is a factor. Mold thrives in dark and damp places, so let the sunshine in.

We once had a tenant who told us there was a mold problem in a bedroom closet. I investigated, determined it was most likely caused by something moist being left on the finished wood floor in that spot. The tenant vehemently denied it and claimed it was caused by moisture coming through the walls from the adjacent bathroom. I could find nothing to support that claim. I cleaned up the mold and we watched the spot. No problem prior or since. After the tenants moved out, his roommate told me that place in the closet was where the guy had always thrown his sweaty clothes after working out in the gym. :-)

Marcia Maynard, Fischer Properties | Podcast Guest on Show #83

Thanks for the responses! I was trying to change my privacy settings and accidentally deactivated my account.

We like our landlords so far and have a good relationship with them. We do not have any motivation to stop paying our rent because it is all paid by our parents. We are worried because they are acting like it is no big deal and not a cause of our sickness. The mold is in every bedroom (5). And in my bedroom was actually on the wall and trim, and much worse (you could see it inside the gap between the trim and the wall. I cleaned mine before we realized how much of a problem (so no pictures although I should have taken some) it was and it is already starting to come back 4 days later. I cleaned it with 1 cup bleach in a gallon of water solution, wiped it all up after soaking it with the solution, sprayed the spots with with bathroom bleach spray and wiped up again... and its coming back. Our landlords brought over brushes, gloves, and mold stain remover that does not contain bleach, told us to clean it. Around the windows it is not only in the track but inside the wood windowsills. There is a significant amount around our water heater. We just brought over a friends parent who has relevant experience and he said we should have it inspected immediately and said there was a problem. Our landlord disagrees and does not want to get it tested.

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