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  1. #1
    Jessica2010 is offline Junior Member
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    Angry Landlord won't repair rental/ instead tells me to find a new place to live

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Maine

    There are repairs that need to be made to the home I rent. I have asked the landlord (LL) to repair these items verbally over the past 3 years and even tho the LL stated they would they never did.

    Fast forward to Oct. of 2010 I found the home had over 10 square feet of mold in 3 separate rooms. This is due to a flood in the home, caused by the LL shutting off the heat in the winter of 2007 and not draining the pipes, before I moved in. The first time I looked at the home they were supposedly fixing it.

    When I moved in, they had replaced the floors and water tank. Recently I went to put up a shelf in the bedroom closet and discovered the wall felt "squishy". Upon further investigation I noticed the wall was no longer one piece (a 4x8 piece of drywall) but in fact several hundred pieces. Due to the water damage and time (I'd been here 3 years), the wall molded and rotted and fell apart. On the inside of the wall, the insulation is molded as well as the 2' x 4' studs and inside of the wall. It is pure black inside the walls in some areas and where there is insulation, there is mold covering that as well, growing right up the walls (as high as 5 feet in some areas). In order to find this I had to look behind the pieces of the drywall wall. I didn't tear the wall apart, it fell apart due to the wall being so wet. Once I took a tiny piece of wall paper off that was it. It spans the entire closet in the master bedroom (12 feet) and 7 feet in another room as well as at least a foot in the bathroom. There could be a lot more, but since it's hidden and in the walls, one would need to take the walls apart to find it. (I am about to do this).

    Mold is only one issue. The storm door in the entry way has a hole at the bottom of it on both sides that allows air to leak thru. I'm talking HUGE gapes. Also none of the windows will open except the bedroom window. The electrical wires on the water heater are not enclosed. All of these things I mentioned are code violations. I had a home inspector look at the place.

    I sent a letter to the LL via certified mail with return receipt, stating the mold was a health hazard, I had to go to the ER because I was having allergic reactions to it and now taking medicine. Furthermore I have to see an allergist. My diagnosis "allergic sinusitis" in the ER, caused by mold. Of course an allergist would know exactly 100% if it was due to the mold.

    Upon reading the letter, the LL called me up and stated he would NOT repair anything and for me to leave within 2 weeks. Of course I know my rights and I don't have to leave without a court order.

    A code enforcement officer would find the place unfit to live in and my state has an implied warranty of habitability.

    It's not that easy to just "leave". I asked the landlord for my security deposit when he spoke to me and he said he'd make it right (and I walk on water and cows fly too). I told the LL that by law I was to be given a 30 day notice and furthermore the LL needed to pay for the doctor's bills as well as give me my deposit back asap. If/when the home is condemned, what purpose would it serve?

    The LL stated he was going to and I quote "move the mobile home of the property and condemn it". I'd like to know how one can condemn their own mobile home? I asked if that meant a code enforcer was being called by the LL and was told no.

    My rent was paid in full when the letter was sent. I realize the law in Maine states that I am to pay rent for any time I live here, even if it's later condemned (a judge would award partial or no previous rent back depending on if the home is condemned/ considered not fit for habitability etc.)

    My question is, how do I sue the LL for my dr bills, make him pay for the visit to the allergist as well as the medicine I am to take? It is well known that he knew and caused the flood in the home and did not fix it properly. Isn't that negligence, when a wet wall is covered up by wall paper and mold is allowed to form and the tenant isn't told? How do I bring the LL to court without having to pay thousands of dollars to a civil lawyer? I have called some lawyers that deal with accidents/injuries when I first found out about the mold and am waiting to see if they'll take my case on a contingency base (aka they'd get a percentage of whatever we won). I know the landlord can be sued as well as the insurance company.

    I bet anything the insurance company paid for the place to be fixed. I'd love to find out who the insurance company is as I'd report it wasn't fixed. I did call the manufacturer of the water tank and gave them the model #/ serial # on the tank so they'd know that it was improperly installed.

    Is there a way to find out who insures (name of company) the mobile home I've rented? Is there a way to find out if it was condemned or considered not fit for habitability before I moved in?

    What do I do? I don't have thousands of dollars for first, last and a security deposit to move out. I am on unemployment (lost my job in this fine economy) so who seriously is going to rent to me?

    Do I call the code enforcer and have them come in? They will force the LL to fix the violations or fine the LL if they are not done. I don't think they will condemn it. This will prevent the LL from slapping another piece of wallboard or just wall paper up over the wall and cover the mold and renting it out to another unsuspecting tenant. But, I will be forced to leave. I know I should leave as it's making me sick but I have no where to go. There is no "help" for renters in this situation. I've called the red cross but it's not a disaster. If the place burned they'd help but if the place is filled with mold... nope they won't.

    Could someone tell me plz how long after it's considered unfit for habitability will I have to move out? Also if you know of an organization that will help in an emergency situation like this please advise. I've called everywhere from Red Cross to the Masons to the United Way and can't get any help.

    I'm not trying to be a free loader. I've paid my bills on time. I got laid off and am having a hard time finding a job like millions of Americans are.

    Do I just stay here and get so sick that I almost die in order for someone to help? What do I do?? I've contacted every legal agency, housing authority, health inspector (state and local) as well as the Governor of my state. Do I contact the newspapers, local news next? Have them come in and video tape the mold and show it on tv? How do I get attention brought to my case and the help I need.

    In my state it seems landlords have all the rights and tenants have none.
    Last edited by Jessica2010; 11-04-2010 at 02:47 AM. Reason: Correcting spelling/ details
  2. #2
    Gail in Georgia is offline Senior Member
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    You're in a bit of a pickle because you don't want or feel you have the ability to leave; you want the landlord to fix the issues you've notified them about.

    They are not willing to do this. It is quite likely if you call Code Inspection again the rental unit will be considered uninhabitable and condemned and then you will be forced to move.

    You contend that the landlord caused the leak and knew about this. How do you come up with this idea? You've lived there for three years and only recently found out about the wet area yourself. Sounds like a slow leak in a water pipe; slow enough that you didn't hear any water dripping and found the damage by accident. If you contend in court that the mold was a result of a flood that took place before you moved it will be pointed out that your allergic sinusitis was not diagnosed until you've live in the unit for three years...and only after you found the moist areas. You will lose your case requesting that your landlord pay your physician bills and medicine.

    Please keep in mind that the "mold issue" causing health problems for tenants is a boat that sailed quite a long time ago. It has (unfortunately) been quite overused by tenants assuming that any mold/mildew they see must be deadly black mold. Until you have actual testing done by a qualified mold expert (and this does not include purchasing a mold testing kit from your local Lowes) you have absolutely no proof to present to a court that this is one of the two kinds of strains of black mold that can (in some folks) trigger an allergic reaction.

    If your health is a concern (although no one dies from allergic sinusitis) then your best bet is to consider finding another place to move to. Request that your landlord consider providing you with your security deposit now so that you will have the funds for a security deposit on another rental unit.

    Gail
  3. #3
    Jessica2010 is offline Junior Member
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    The reason being, regarding the mold, is that it was hidden. If you do any research on mold and locating it, you will see LOTS of times it is hidden in the walls.

    Before the er visit, I had gone to the doctors for major headaches. Had what I thought was a severe case of the flu. As a matter of fact I talked to an inspector about the air quality before discovering the mold. I told him that I felt tired all the time in the house but felt fine outside of it.

    Once I went to put in the shelf, on the lower bottom of the closet, that is when I discovered the mold.

    It could be a slow leak. But if it were, then other areas of the house wouldn't have the same squishy walls with a lot of mold, it would be confined to one area.

    Furthermore you can see the old wall paper on the opposite side in the bathroom. You can tell they took the drywall out, turned it around and nailed it back in.
    Last edited by Jessica2010; 11-04-2010 at 12:05 PM.
  4. #4
    Jessica2010 is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gail in Georgia View Post
    Please keep in mind that the "mold issue" causing health problems for tenants is a boat that sailed quite a long time ago. It has (unfortunately) been quite overused by tenants assuming that any mold/mildew they see must be deadly black mold. Until you have actual testing done by a qualified mold expert (and this does not include purchasing a mold testing kit from your local Lowes) you have absolutely no proof to present to a court that this is one of the two kinds of strains of black mold that can (in some folks) trigger an allergic reaction.

    If your health is a concern (although no one dies from allergic sinusitis) then your best bet is to consider finding another place to move to. Request that your landlord consider providing you with your security deposit now so that you will have the funds for a security deposit on another rental unit.

    Gail
    I am aware of the testing and cost. It is usually done during the discovery phase. Also there are labs that test for mold that I can pay for.

    I demanded my security deposit back, but I was told "it would be taken care of". I don't believe anything the landlord says. Second of all, if I leave, who's to say the place won't be covered over in walll paper and re rented out? I want the place condemned BEFORE I move.

    I am going to start a complaint process in the court system, regarding the property not being fixed up and made habitable. I am also contacting a code enforcement officer right before I go to court, to condemn the place. Until the court hearing, I'm not going to allow this LL to rent out the property to anyone else.
    Last edited by Jessica2010; 11-04-2010 at 12:04 PM. Reason: spelling
  5. #5
    FarmerJ is offline Senior Member
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    Jessica Gail is correct yes its a tough spot to be in , You wrote > Second of all, if I leave, who's to say the place won't be covered over in walll paper and re rented out? I want the place condemned BEFORE I move. < well then its up to you to decide the risk of calling in building inspections , meaning if the condemn then you still will have to move , its just a matter of how fast. Inspections could grant you as little as one day or several more to get out, Be warned Inspections might not condemn right away , they may decide to write work orders first so the LL has a chance to comply , they might not condemn until LL has violated work orders and even at that it might be a while before they came back. Do your self a favor , take pics of the units condition now , store your valuable docs ,pics records at a friends or family members or a bank box. If the place becomes condemned get a copy of the order for your records ( you may have to offer it to other LLs with your application since your not likely to get a referance from current LL or just find a way to tough it out and be the one to plan for moving out with proper notice.
  6. #6
    Gail in Georgia is offline Senior Member
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    Keeping in mind that lawsuits are about money, at this point in time you have no case.

    The security deposit is to be returned within a certain time period (in Maine, 30 days with a written lease, 21 days with an oral lease) AFTER the tenant has vacated the rental unit:

    [url=http://www.ptla.org/ptlasite/cliented/tenants4.htm]Rights of Tenants in Maine: Security Deposits[/url]

    Since you haven't moved out, your landlord is under no obligation to return your security deposit at this time. IF you leave and you do not receive either the deposit or information regarding the status of such within the required time period you can then file a lawsuit and (depending upon the number of rental units the landlord owns) have a judgement for up to double your security deposit.

    Gail
  7. #7
    Jessica2010 is offline Junior Member
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    I spoke with a code enforcement officer. If the place is considered not fit for hability, you have to leave but you can get your stuff. Basically you can't spend the night, but you can go in it to get the stuff out.

    I went back in to the closet to take a closer look. What I'm seeing is that the mold is all along the floor and grows upwards. It doesn't start at the ceiling and grow down towards the floor. The whole entire bottom of the closet is mold... and not wet. Furthermore you can see where pieces of flooring were put over the mold and then a carpet on top of that. Where the carpet meets the wall, the carpet is moldy. Where the "new" floor was put down, underneath it is mold.

    I guess my point is, why would they put down a whole new floor in the closet, bathroom and laundry room? They do it because the floor has been damaged usually by water. Why would the floor that came with the mobile home originally be moldy? My guess is when the place was flooded, it wasn't cleaned up properly and they just nailed boards over the molded floors.

    The code enforcement officer said they would find the cause of the mold. So if it had to do with the flooding by the landlord I'll know. My guess is that's what it is.
  8. #8
    applecruncher is offline Senior Member
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    It's pointless to waste time guessing and speculating as to "why?" the landlord/owner would do this and that regarding the floors.

    The biger question is: Why do you want to continue to live there and why aren't you looking for another place to live?
  9. #9
    FarmerJ is offline Senior Member
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    So now inspections has told you , yes its logical that if its not fit to live in and they condemn then you cannot stay overnight in it and can only come in to get your things out. so again it comes back to what you want to do about it. BTW it doesnt matter how the mold happened the best way to get rid of it is for the LL to gut the affected areas , rip out flooring , open up more walls etc , now since you claim to have medical problems from it you probably dont want to stay there even if LL started repairs. so make sure to get copies of the condemn order. best wishes.
  10. #10
    Jessica2010 is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by applecruncher View Post
    It's pointless to waste time guessing and speculating as to "why?" the landlord/owner would do this and that regarding the floors.

    The biger question is: Why do you want to continue to live there and why aren't you looking for another place to live?
    I don't want to continue living here. And it's important about the mold because if he knew about it and did not say anything to me, it's negligence on his part and I can & will sue him.

    It irks me that as a home owner, if you have mold, you can call your insurance company to get it fixed. If you rent, you are at the mercy of the land lord. If they don't/won't fix it, tough, move, you are out of luck and screwed.
  11. #11
    applecruncher is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jessica2010 View Post
    I don't want to continue living here. And it's important about the mold because if he knew about it and did not say anything to me, it's negligence on his part and I can & will sue him.

    It irks me that as a home owner, if you have mold, you can call your insurance company to get it fixed. If you rent, you are at the mercy of the land lord. If they don't/won't fix it, tough, move, you are out of luck and screwed.
    This:
    There are repairs that need to be made to the home I rent. I have asked the landlord (LL) to repair these items verbally over the past 3 years and even tho the LL stated they would they never did.

    Fast forward to Oct. of 2010 I found the home had over 10 square feet of mold in 3 separate rooms.
    And this:

    Mold is only one issue. The storm door in the entry way has a hole at the bottom of it on both sides that allows air to leak thru. I'm talking HUGE gapes. Also none of the windows will open except the bedroom window. The electrical wires on the water heater are not enclosed.
    You said yourself that there are various repairs that you've been asking landlord to remedy for three (3) years. So obviously it's not just about the mold (which you only discovered a month ago). For 3 years you've been battling with him to make repairs, spinning your wheels. Yet you continued to stay instead of finding a better place to live. Sure, you can call code enforcement, continue to get inspections, and (if you find an attorney to take your case) sue and continue with the crusade - wasting time and money. Well, good luck with all that.
    Last edited by applecruncher; 11-05-2010 at 10:00 AM.
  12. #12
    xylene is offline Senior Member
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    Do you have a lease?

    If no, the landlord can give you notice to move (30 days)

    If yes, the landlord can give you notice to move (end of lease)
  13. #13
    Searchertwin is offline Senior Member
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    Have you noticed that tenants always seem to get allergic reactions when they discover mold?
    First, a doctor cannot confirm that your "allergic sinusitis" in the ER, was caused by mold. Sorry, no money here.
    Secondly, no LL in their right mind or a homeowner, would turn off the heat in winter months and not drain the pipes. Sorry, no flood here

    Third, if you decide to tear the walls off without approval from LL, he can sue you for damages. Sorry, LL will get money

    Fourthly, if you have known the walls were so bad over the period of three years and never notify the LL in writing, you will lose again and LL will win. Your neglect in not tell LL so he can remedy it before it got to point it is now.

    Sending a certified letter to LL letting him know that mold is a health hazard and you going to ER was his fault. WRONG. You did not inform LL about the walls or the build up of mold in writing. Again you lose.
    LL has no obligations to pay for your ER visit. You chose to live like that for three years and not inform him in writing about the conditions.
    That is reason why LL called you and stated he would not repair the anything and to get rid of you. Yes, it takes a court order. Go for it. This way you will have a case listed and NO ONE will rent to you in the future. Which you deserve.
    How can one condemn their own property? Easy.
    They just wave their wand and say, "Property condemn".

    Will you get your dep back? I doubt it. He will need it to replace the walls that you fail to report in writing, before it got really bad.

    You stated, "I know the landlord can be sued as well as the insurance company." All you are seeking here is money for a lost cause, mold. You are trying your best to get money. Did you know that mold is everywhere? Did you take antibotics for your allergies? That has MOLD! Did you step outside today? You just breath mold!

    You stated, " I've contacted every legal agency, housing authority, health inspector (state and local) as well as the Governor of my state. Do I contact the newspapers, local news next? Have them come in and video tape the mold and show it on tv? How do I get attention brought to my case and the help I need." Haven't you learn by now that you are fighting a losing battle?
    No one will address someone who is crying mold. It just cannot be proven it caused your allergy. Why would they want to look like a fool?
  14. #14
    Jessica2010 is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by searchertwin View Post
    Have you noticed that tenants always seem to get allergic reactions when they discover mold?
    NO I haven't noticed this. I notice that you are rude tho!

    Quote Originally Posted by searchertwin View Post
    First, a doctor cannot confirm that your "allergic sinusitis" in the ER, was caused by mold. Sorry, no money here.
    An allergist can.

    Quote Originally Posted by searchertwin View Post
    Secondly, no LL in their right mind or a homeowner, would turn off the heat in winter months and not drain the pipes. Sorry, no flood here
    I know for a fact that is what happened. Not only did HE as i n the LL tell me but so did his plumber. So get your facts straight!

    Quote Originally Posted by searchertwin View Post
    Third, if you decide to tear the walls off without approval from LL, he can sue you for damages. Sorry, LL will get money
    Let him sue me! Bring it ON! I'd love to meet him in court! Damages for what? He already had to replace the walls. He hasn't even been here to look at anything!

    Since my last posting I found out how they added a 5/8 board over the moldy floors and then stapled carpet to it. I found mold climbing up the door in the hallway. I've been inspecting and looking at EVERYTHING! And taking pictures as well as video of this disaster!

    I can't help it if you the wall was so squishy I put my finger thru it in the closet and THAT is HOW I DISCOVERED the mold AND HE WAS NOTIFIED RIGHT AWAY BUT CHOSE TO DO NOTHING. THIS ALL HAPPENED IN LATE OCTOBER OF 2010!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by searchertwin View Post

    Fourthly, if you have known the walls were so bad over the period of three years and never notify the LL in writing, you will lose again and LL will win. Your neglect in not tell LL so he can remedy it before it got to point it is now.

    WHAT PART OF I JUST FOUND OUT THERE WAS MOLD DID YOU NOT READ IN MY INITIAL COMPLAINT? This site is a joke, a bunch of non lawyers on here, acting like they know something when they don't!

    Quote Originally Posted by searchertwin View Post
    Sending a certified letter to LL letting him know that mold is a health hazard and you going to ER was his fault. WRONG. You did not inform LL about the walls or the build up of mold in writing. Again you lose.
    LL has no obligations to pay for your ER visit. You chose to live like that for three years and not inform him in writing about the conditions.
    That is reason why LL called you and stated he would not repair the anything and to get rid of you. Yes, it takes a court order. Go for it. This way you will have a case listed and NO ONE will rent to you in the future. Which you deserve.
    How can one condemn their own property? Easy.

    WHAT PART OF I JUST FOUND OUT THERE WAS MOLD DID YOU NOT READ IN MY INITIAL COMPLAINT?



    Quote Originally Posted by searchertwin View Post
    They just wave their wand and say, "Property condemn".
    Per the code enforcement's dept. if a home has problems it can be considered UNFIT FOR HABABILITY. And if that happens YOU STILL HAVE TO MOVE IMMEDIATELY, IF NOT SOONER!

    Quote Originally Posted by searchertwin View Post
    Will you get your dep back? I doubt it. He will need it to replace the walls that you fail to report in writing, before it got really bad.

    You stated, "I know the landlord can be sued as well as the insurance company." All you are seeking here is money for a lost cause, mold. You are trying your best to get money. Did you know that mold is everywhere? Did you take antibotics for your allergies? That has MOLD! Did you step outside today? You just breath mold!

    You stated, " I've contacted every legal agency, housing authority, health inspector (state and local) as well as the Governor of my state. Do I contact the newspapers, local news next? Have them come in and video tape the mold and show it on tv? How do I get attention brought to my case and the help I need." Haven't you learn by now that you are fighting a losing battle?
    No one will address someone who is crying mold. It just cannot be proven it caused your allergy. Why would they want to look like a fool?
    I have nothing else to say to you except once again you are rude and this site is full of wannabe lawyers. I'll be back to post once I sue the scumlord. In the mean time take your wasted time you use to insult others on this board and use it to get a REAL law degree!
  15. #15
    Isis1 is offline Senior Member
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    Great!! I'll log back on in 6 or 7 years for the results of your case!
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