landlord refuses to address heavy moisture causing mold

By LaKeisha H.

After moving into my rental house after 2 months there was mold that started to appear on items in my son’s closet, including his clothes. I noticed at that same time the washing machine had a small leak. I informed the Landlord of the leak from the washing machine and the mold on my sons clothes and things in his closet. He had the washing machine leak fixed after about a week. After which in October of 2010 the same year there were 3 leaks from the roof in the master bedroom of the rental property. We also saw that after rain showers there is a section in the back of the house directly outside my sons room that is filled with dirt and no grass grows there was always flooding up to the levels of the HVAC system outside. The water would sit outside the back of the house for weeks before it would began to dry and we believe it never dries, beacuse of the shading from two large trees in the backyard stopping the sun from shining through. 

I contacted the landlord by phone and email about the leak and standing water. He stated that he would have a guy come out to assess the leak and patch the roof. The roog guy came out about a week later. After that the roof began to leak again 3 weeks later, now not only in the orignal master bedroom but in the thrid bedroom that is on the total opposite side of the house from the first leak. The new roof leak in the third bedroom was even bigger. There were over seven different holes water was coming from. The landlord was notified by email and phone. After 4 months from notification the landlord suggested to place a tarp over the roof to stop any more leaks.

After having the tarp on for 4 more months I go into my son’s closet to put some washed clothes away and I noticed that his basketballs,  skateboard tennis racket case, belts clothes, and shoes has mold all over them just like in June 2010 when I thought the moisture was coming from the washing machine leak. I then go throughout his entire room to inspect and I noticed mold all over the entire back of his book shelf and books, all around his dresser top, and inside the closets of the master bedroom, clothes and shoes, luggage bags and blanks stored in the closets, many items thorughout the closets. There was mold all on the wood floors in the closets, mold all over the bathroom window seals and the bathroom walls and ceiling. This explains the issues my son was experiencing while in school the past few months. He has had headaches that stopped him from attending school due to his constant head pain.  He has had a loss of appetite for some time now, maybe about 6 months or so. At dinner time he does not want to eat and my son has a very healthy appetite for a very active 10 year old in multiple sports thorughout the entire year. He has complained about breathing a dn has a serious wet cough with a lot of mucus build-up. My son has no doctor records of ever being sick. We my roommate, my son and myself are Vegan and for 10 years he has never had any illnesses including colds. HIe cough and mucus and loss of appetite continues. I purchased a dehumidifier just recently, but it does not seem to help with aiding my son’s breathing and constant headache complaints or has not subsided his mucus and wet coughing.

Soon after notifying the landlord through emails and pictures of molded items. He hires a roofing company within a few days to repair the roof leaks. When the repair company began working on the roof we were told it was ok if we continued to stay in the property during the repair. On the first day of repair I arrived home from work with my son and roommate and we noticed all this black dirt and wood chippings on all of our furniture througout the house. It was a mess. The entire roof had been ripped off and nothing was inside to catch all the debris and dirt and wood and what ever else that was created from damaging our furniture, clothing in our closets, our beds, equipment, dishes in our kitchen, all the appliances we owned our couter tops and the 2nd bathroom there was wood planks that fell from removing the roof entirely. The toilet was covers with broken wood, sut, and years of dust and grim. The floors throughout the house was covered with grim, dirt, wood planks and chippings and lots of bugs that came from living under the wooding. My roommate and I were ferious. The landlord was there at the time we arrived and we called him into the house to see the magnitude of the damage these roofing guys had caused.

We informed the landlord that we had no idea the entire roof would be taken off prior. We were under the impression that the roofing Co. would only be formally patching the leaking areas not taking all the wood off the roof and replacing it. The roof replacing went on for 3 days.  We could not even stay in the house due to our beding and furniture being so destroyed that we could sleep, not to mention the awful dust residue that was in the air causing it hard to breathe. We asked the landlord if we could have a place paid for, so that we could stay until the roof was entirely replaced. After 3 days we came back into a house with all our belongings destroyed. We negotiated with the Landlord to have a cleaning service help us to clean our house back to its orignal state before the roof replacing took place.

After 2 days we finally cleaned the house. Now that we are back into the house the mold issue still has not been addressed. There has been no visits from the landlord or any company to assess the mold concern. He wants us to continue to pay the full rent amount after notifiying him through email and phone that we would like to negotiate an adjustment in the rent amount due to the health concerns I am having to come out of pocket to treat my son for, and the money we have had to spend on putting the clothes that were not damaged completely into the cleaners, having to trash over 13 pair of shoes that were damaged both my sons, mine and my roommates. We had to completely get rid of our beautiful 8 foot area rug in the living room area where there was mildew and mold all over the bottom that touched the flooring from the moisture from the standing water right behind the living room and my son’s room. We have had to have our sectional coverings dry cleaned, the bathroom beautiful cloth curtain had to be trashed. My roommates pillows that were handmade by her mother were stored in her closet that had mold growing over every single thing that was inside. Some of my sons clothings had to be trashed due to heavy mold, and many other items I could list that we no longer could keep due to the mold damage or wood, sut and grim damage from the roof. What should we do to be compensated for our losses other than negotiate the difference in the rent for this month and the remaining months if necessary. At this time my roommate wants to speak about getting out of the 2 year least. We have met the first years obligations and we are going into the 4 month of the second year. We have paid the rent $1000.00 in full every month since we have been here and never late. The landlord refuses to negotiate a rental adjustment due to our damages and losses. What do we have the right to do. At this time the rent is 10 days past due.

What can we do? We no longer want to have to stay here in this home under these conditions.

Can someone please point us in the right direction?

Edited on: Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 8:04 am

One Response to “landlord refuses to address heavy moisture causing mold”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


June 17th, 2011 8:13 am

As a fellow renter in Georgia that has undergone a similar situation, I van definitely relate to your horror story and give you advice on both how to break the lease and deduct from the current rent you are paying for repairs your landlord neglects to address or fix in a timely manner (although from the sound of your situation, I’d forget about repairs and break the lease ASAP!).

Here are some great links and references that helped me:
1. A great reference for you is the Georgia Landlord Tenant Handbook (
2. Georgia renter legal advice (
3. The Rental Protection Agency: for $35 you can file a complaint against your landlord which will go on his public record and be assigned your own RPA agent to negotiate between you and your landlord… I used this when dealing with my mold issues, and with the “rush” service, an agreement was tragedy in 3 days, my lease broken, and certified documents of the process included to being to court for reimbursement of damaged property (
4. Finally a very simple step-by-step guide on the information needed and how to break your lease due to mold: (

Your two main goals should be determining the type of mold you have (Black Mold is the big one for getting you out of your lease, since it is very hazardous to your health), and demonstrating Landlord negligence in repairs… a four month delay is DEFINITELY negligence (this will allow you to be reimbursed for all your damaged property and belongings).

For mold testing, contact your local health department, and they will send out an expert. Make sure the type(s) of mold are documented (especially Black Mold!!) and the ratio of mold parts per air. Have this documented, and make sure you have a copy for yourself, your landlord, and an attorney/the court (and/or to put up on Rental Protection Agency to further document your case and increase your evidence when it is compiled for court). Also take as many pictures of the mold as you can (try to show every surface affected by the mold from several angles); if possible, also include a rough estimate of the size of the moldy area on each surface as well along with your own written description of the appearance of the mold, circumstances that it developed under, and the date you first noticed it. Document any and all adverse health effects you and your family are experiencing; remember if it is Black Mold, a doctor appointment is a must. Make copies of the doctor’s prognosis/diagnosis for yourself, landlord, attorney, etc. as well.

Result: If Black Mold is present, your residence will be deemed uninhabitable and your lease will be broken.

For negligence, it’s all about keeping records and keeping more records. Try to date (if you don’t know the exact date, approximate) each time you made a complaint to your landlord, the date he responded to the complaint, the date repairs were made to fix the complaint, the date repairs were completed (both initial repairs and the repair that actually WORKED). This is all about developing a timeline to prove your landlord was not responding to your problems in a timely fashion, therefore demonstrating neglect in his duties as a landlord. Also chronicle (in writing), the results of the repairs and any resulting damage from it. Make sure to mention if you were told any and all necessary information for the repairs prior to their beginning (for you, this would be not being notified that your home would be uninhabitable during the roof repairs). Last, approximate the value of your personal property damaged (if you can do it by individual item or provide any receipts or credit card statements from the time of purchasing your now ruined item, include this). Also include bills for any dry-cleaning, laundromat or repair services used to fix or clean any of your damaged goods (this includes any and all articles of clothing, etc. that were moldy or exposed to the mold even if it is not visible).
NOTE: you can keep these cleaning receipts for the overall packet you will take to court for reimbursement OR you can deduct the cost from the amount you pay in next month’s (or the month after that if the total is high enough) rent. Just make sure to notify your landlord that you are proceeding this way (it is your right as a renter, don’t let him stop you), and make sure this correspondence is in WRITING (ie. An actual letter, not telephone or email).
THIS IS IMPORTANT! Try to make all correspondences between yourself and your landlord in writing through the mail. Ask him to do the same. This proves that he received your message. Make sure to keep copies of all correspondences. Even if there is an emergency and a phone call is necessary, write a letter pertaining to the issue immediately after.

Result: Negligence is definitely evident in your situation, just make sure you document it as thoroughly and accurately as possible so that it doesn’t come down to a “your word vs. their (landlord) word” situation. If landlord is deemed negligent, you should receive 100% reimbursement on all your damaged personal belongings.

Hope this helps!

PS. Even if you decide not to use the $35 service from Rental Protection Agency, you should still file a report against your landlord on the site to go on their public record (this service is free)… Hopefully then other people won’t wind up experiencing what you have gone through… Not to mention it is fairly discrediting your landlord’s reputation.


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