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Help - tenant wants to sue over mold!? - Landlord Forum thread 137815

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Help - tenant wants to sue over mold!? by Anonymous on March 4, 2007 @14:16

Okay, so I have this problem tenant who claims that her daughter is sick because of mold in the house. I have not been allowed to do an inspection and refuse to pay someone $300 to do one when I'm not there especially when I've read reports that so many people are scamming homeowners nowadays on this. So, she says she's gonna sue me and take the house from me because the mold is making he daughter so sick and I won't do anything about it. I will repair what I can but don't have much money for replacing rafters and large items (if there is infact mold) at this time and if she's convinced it's mold I'll let her out of her lease without penalty. This woman smokes in my property also, which is very upsetting to me - uh, don't you think her child could be sick because of that. Anyone every hear of this, do I call her bluff and evict her for late payment and violation of her lease (she has two dogs which are not allowed) or just wait till the 15th and hope she doesn't tie me up in court over this?! I'm in Ohio.
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Re: Help - tenant wants to sue over mold!? by OHlandlord on March 4, 2007 @16:17 [ Reply ]
I hear this monthly. "I have to move from my current apt, because my kids are sick from the black mold in my unit!" (If I had a dollar for every time I hear this story from an applicant...) Let me guess, she's late on her rent and probably owes you for back rent; you just asked her for the money, am I right?
Not all mold is dangerous, only toxic black mold. (If all mold was dangerous we wouldn't have penicillin or blue cheese.) Call the health dept. and ask them to check. If it is black mold, they will tell the tenant she cannot re-enter the dwelling. They will instruct you to have the premises fixed. If not, the TENANT (not you) should clean it up with a bleach and water solution. There was no mold before she moved in, right? (There's no need to replace rafters! At worst, you may have to cut out a piece of drywall.) I believe you can also get a mold test kit from a big box store like Lowe's (but I don't know how accurate they are, and it doesn't have the authority of a report from the health dept.)
Did she say where the mold was? If it is in a bath it usually means the tenant has poor cleaning habits and is not using the vent fan when bathing. If so, it is her fault. Insist she clean it up. OH law says: " 5321.05. Obligations of tenant.
(A) A tenant who is a party to a rental agreement shall do all of the following:
(1) Keep that part of the premises that he occupies and uses safe and sanitary; ...
(3) Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by him as clean as their condition permits;"

If it is elsewhere, it can be caused by too much humidity in the unit. Did you put in a new gas furnace? Does it or the tenant have a humidifier running? Is the place especialy air tight? Are all the storm windows down tightly? Is there no air circulation around where she says the mold is? (Too many boxes piled up?) Is there (and is she using) a vent fan in the kitchen?
The tenant is bluffing. If she was really concerned about black mold she would allow you in to check and repair. Give her a 24 hour notice to enter form (you can leave it on her front door). Then go back the next day and go in and check out the situation. If she refuses you entry, document it (and let her know that you are documenting her refusal to enter). Then try it again with a time that she agrees to (or another time if she won't give you one). Document again if she won't let you in. That way, if it does turn out to be something dangerous, you can prove that you attempted to detect & correct the situation, but she wouldn't let you. It will be hard to collect anything from a lawsuit against you, if you can prove that she wouldn't let you correct the problem.
If you have no proof of dangerous mold, proceed with the eviction. Since I hear this story every month from applicants, I always call the health dept. and ask if the story is true. Only once in 15 yrs., has the applicant actually had to leave their last place for black mold. Although Ohio can be very damp, black mold is not common.

Re: Help - tenant wants to sue over mold!? by Anonymous on March 5, 2007 @18:51 [ Reply ]
I am a tenant and before moving in my landlord said there is some mold in the home. He told us that he had painted over it and that should be fine. At that time I asked he if he could make sure that is had been taken care of. My son has some health toubles and I was just making sure it would not effect him. So far we have not had any troubles with this until latly. I myself have come down with what they think might be caused being around black mold. I an not after my landlord he is a realy nice person and we have not had any troubles with him. I just dont know what to do about this. Any one avice would be helpfull.

Thank you all, from Alabama.

Re: Help - tenant wants to sue over mold!? by Anonymous on March 6, 2007 @20:42 [ Reply ]
Thank you so much for your comments! I called the health department and he said unfortunately since there are no federal guidelines, the health dept does not test or inspect for mold. He is sending me some information/contractor names. The person I spoke with was in the environmental division and he said that since there are no guidelines, everyone just does their own thing - so I'm gonna think the tenant cannot sue for this. Also, he did mention that not all black mold is toxic and that only a lab test can determine the difference (my tenant claims that the mold is toxic, that she has proof because she has pictures, but without lab testing...). The EPA and CDC both recommend that mold is cleaned and that humidity levels are maintained. I'm calling her bluff and posting a 3-day eviction notice tomorrow.

Thanks again!

Re: Help - tenant wants to sue over mold!? by OHlandlord on March 6, 2007 @21:39 [ Reply ]
I guess it just depends on your local health department. Ours does this type of testing all the time (maybe its just because this area is so damp and they get so many calls about it.) A photo can only show that mold or mildew is present, not what type it is. If this is the "proof" she is relying on, it wouldn't stand up in court. I'd hit her with the bit about being in violation of her tenant duties according to OH law. She hasn't kept the place clean, sanitary, or the plumbing in clean condition. Serve her, and tell her she needs to clean it up before she leaves!
Re: Help - tenant wants to sue over mold!? by Anonymous on March 7, 2007 @01:16 [ Reply ]
This is easy

Make sure your tenants aren't living with mold.

I know this is a landlord site, but I don't support landlords allowing tenants to live with mold.

Re: Help - tenant wants to sue over mold!? by Anonymous CA (California) on April 5, 2015 @23:23 [ Reply ]
Glad to hear that I'm not alone with these problems. I have tenants who have had problems paying rent for the entire time they've been in the property. The house is in an arid climate. A few months ago, my tenant said the drywall was being damaged in a room by water. The only thing I could think of was the sprinkler system. I immediately called the gardener and within a day it was what I thought, the sprinkler was spraying on a window per the gardener. I told the tenant I needed to come and check / work on the drywall and he said no, it was drying up and didn't need to be addressed. Then, starting in January, the tenant became later and later on his rent every month. Never made any complaints, but when picking up a VERY late rent payment, the renter said they weren't paying the late fee because there were repairs needed. I told them no, I make the repairs (I am VERY vigilant about repairing things). Without the right tools I stopped what I was doing to begin some non-critical repairs. It was shortly there after I learned they had a large dog, which isn't allowed on the lease, and this may have been why they were building up problems and not telling me about them. Anyway, again the rent was overdue and I came back to work on the house. I learned that the tenant was going to try and set up a lawsuit after finding a hole in the wall and another place because they are using some slimy "renter advocate" to try and get a false positive. I'm concerned because companies like these make money from lawsuits. I'm betting they seed the samples and maybe the house with toxic mold.
Re: Help - tenant wants to sue over mold!? by Sued previous landlord on June 2, 2015 @19:09 [ Reply ]
if you can't afford maintenance then why would you rent the place out in the first place. yet you're calling your tenant a problem tenant lol. landlords should require a license to rent out property to prevent hacks like you from becoming a landlord.00
Re: Help - tenant wants to sue over mold!? by Single Mom (Florida (FL)) on April 12, 2016 @08:12 [ Reply ]
I would be ok with my Landlord making the repairs. I told him about the mold in my house and he has done nothing. The maintenance man came out and told me the mold has always been there. He said he warned the Landlord about it 5 years ago and the Landlord did nothing then and is doing nothing now. I went to the doctor with my three children yesterday and we are all sick from it. I cant afford to move. I am a single Mom and I just got out of a horrible marriage. I have a restraining order against my ex husband. I put a lot of money into my divorce and now that my savings is bone dry trying to move or I was told get a hotel room and withold rent thats not something I can afford. I also just had to spend 150 for our copays yesterday. I need help. I have been here for about a year. My Landlord lives in another state and I am a month ahead on my rent. I just deposit the rent into his bamk account every month. I also have told him about the stove that only one burner works now and he said for me to buy a new one and he would reimburse me. Then my faucet busted and I bought a new one myself from lowes all together came to 87.09 and installed it myself. I am tired of making repairs on my own. It says in my lease he will do the repairs and pay for them. I could understand if the stove was mine but it was here in the first place. I am starting to hate my slum lord. I called him 6 months ago and told him I would be 2 days late on rent. It was because my bank account was hacked by some jerk in CA so he started yelling like a child. I told him to stop because I divorced my ex husband because of treatment similar to this and I hung up. Paid my rent only one day late and never heard from him since. Im just done with men acting like they rule the world. What should I do about my slum lord.
Re: Help - tenant wants to sue over mold!? by Jennifer Rodas Alegre (Colorado) on April 26, 2016 @09:36 [ Reply ]

I didn't realize how serious was it. For three years, I have been ignoring my health problem and black molds have been around in my Apt, Two bedrooms unit.
I have been getting migraines often, and flu-like symptoms. I assumed it was temporary and it could go away but I always get sick a lot.
Till last Friday, I was cleaning out in the under the kitchen sink. I have a friend saw it and told me it is dangerous to health and I could get cancer. It scares me.
I am going to see my doctor and will take my small dog to Vet, to get tested.
I am going to make a report to board of Health or Housing Authority and see what they can help us.
If I am told that my health problems may be found, then sue the landlord can be considerated.
Or better yet, to get legal help to break my lease, we will be able to move out soon.
I am learning so much more about Health safety and How bad is the Apt. unit we live in. It isn't worth paying the rent to get sick all the time anymore.
Thanks for sharing here!
Deaf wife and husband in Colorado.
Re: Help - tenant wants to sue over mold!? by Anonymous on December 12, 2016 @04:15 [ Reply ]
Dear Sir, owner , landlord, property management, WHY ON EARTH WOULD SOMEONE FAKE THIS?? Are you that blind or greedy insensitive?
My boyfriend and I lived in a condo for 7 years, we both were hard working professionals , he was vp for a computer manufacture and I worked at a hospital.
That was until black mold stopped our life's as we knew it in our tracks . He has been in icu 2xs needed blood transfusions and now has been dx with lymphoma , he is 58 yrs old . I am 51 and have a horrible fungual infection , middle ear infection for 3 years, losing my hair , sick every other day , green finger nails , blind in one eye.... Skin leasions and the list goes on .... We had to walk away from everything we owned and lost everything ! Starting over at this age and getting sicker and sicker is sometimes not worth the fight . All because the land lord and everyone else who thought it was no big deal couldn't address this problem. I suggest you talk to a lawyer but more importantly document everything and insist on getting it tested. If she is lying ( and I don't see anyone ever being able to fake this ) then she is out and you can tack on the $300.00 in small claims court. But if there is in fact black mold , your life along with hers and her daughters , is over as you know it . How could you sleep with yourself knowing maybe there is a toxic deadly poison that might be killing people and not take it seriously ? I am currently in lidigation and I'm suing the crap out of everyone , I never wanted to do this . In fact I really liked my landlord. But those choices were not mine and I promise you .... I would close your Door's and anyone else involved. The law is the law and thruth will always prevail. If I am awarded 30 million dollars .... It wouldn't be worth what this has done and I wouldn't wish it upon anyone .
Signed usetobe tenent.
Re: Help - tenant wants to sue over mold!? by Shelda Brown (Florida) on February 25, 2018 @07:43 [ Reply ]
It dosent matter do your job and help fix the problem for your own self and peace of mind; prove it. breathing toxic mold kills.

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