Mold remover formula

Tenant rights when you find mold in your rental unit – CBS Sacramento

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — They thought it was COVID, but a local family now thinks they got sick from mold growing in their rental home — and they’re not alone.

There are no state or federal mold exposure limits, so it’s hard to prove when mold is a health threat. However, state law is clear on one thing: Landlords must provide safe and healthy housing. So what are your rights if your life is turned upside down by mould? CBS13 is investigating.

Camping with the family may sound like fun, but the Crenshaws say it was anything but fun when they were forced to camp in their yard.

Their saga began over the holidays when Carl and his wife thought they had COVID, then they discovered mold.

“We thought we had COVID,” Carl said.

“Do you now think it was mold symptoms?” Julie Watts asked.

“We know it’s now,” Carl said.

They say their symptoms got so bad they moved their family of seven to a tent in the backyard while they waited for their landlord to fix the mould. They have five children, ages 2 to 16.

But when the contractors finally arrived, Carl filmed the contractors who he says simply scraped and painted over the mold without removing the Crenshaws’ belongings to avoid contamination or removing the contaminated drywall to address the source of the mold.

“It’s really typical for us to find negligence in mold cases because doing it right is expensive,” said real estate attorney Joe Tobener.

Tobener does not represent the Crenshaws, but says that when a tenant notifies a landlord of mold in writing, they must properly remove the mold. While California law doesn’t require a specific protocol, Tobenor says owners must:

  • Exit tenants and their belongings
  • Have contaminated items cleaned off-site
  • Treat the source of water intrusion
  • Remove contaminated drywall
  • Treat the inside of the walls where mold has grown
  • Retest for mold

“Anything outside of this protocol will incur liability,” Tobener said.

He says that in some cases, a lawyer may be your only option. They can sue your landlord to cover monetary damages, emotional distress, and even the cost of a rent increase if you have to move.

But he says health claims can be tricky.

“You need the allergy test showing you’re allergic to the very mold that was found in the unit,” Tobener said.

The California Health and Safety Code requires landlords to provide safe and healthy rental housing. If a homeowner fails to address mold issues, the local code enforcement agency may require the homeowner to correct the problem.

Carl called Sacramento County code enforcement in January, but the homeowner still hadn’t completed the work when CBS13 visited in March.

Code enforcement tells CBS13 that they closed the case in April after additional work was done, saying Arbors at Antelope property management:

“sent the agent two invoices to show the work he did on the unit. The first is an invoice for cleaning the air ducts dated January 20, 2022, and the second is a mold remediation invoice which indicates that the unit has been treated by placing a dehumidifier, a fan, a fan at negative air and applying an antimicrobial agent. on the surface”.

According to the documents cited, there is no evidence that any drywall was removed to inspect or address potential mold growing inside the affected walls.

The agency cited the Health and Safety Code, which they say only requires them to inspect for “visible mold growth” and probable causes, such as a water leak. They say code enforcement is not required to conduct further independent testing to determine the extent of hidden mold growth, noting that “any mold testing or abatement is the responsibility of the homeowner.”

The Crenshaws have paid for several mold reports that seem to indicate lingering mold spores in the home.

The Arbors of Antelope Property Management did not tell CBS13 if they had the unit independently tested for mold, but said in a statement:

“We take these issues seriously and have hired a licensed contractor to address them. They worked diligently to resolve each issue as quickly as possible after we became aware of it. Additionally, we inspected every apartment in the community and took action to resolve any issues found. We ask all residents with outstanding concerns to contact us as soon as possible so that we can take appropriate next steps. »

We have spoken with some Crenshaw neighbors who tell similar stories of mold. An attorney representing 86 tenants with mold complaints at this complex tells us that many have young children.

“The research is really clear that children who live in uninhabitable conditions will have long-term health effects,” Tobener said.

So why not just move?

Many tenants say they can’t afford the high rents right now or don’t have money for deposits, application fees or movers. Others say their applications are being denied as more homeowners demand high credit scores and income.

Meanwhile, the Crenshaws say most of their possessions have now been contaminated. A dumpster outside their home was filled with furniture, toys and mattresses. They are now staying in temporary accommodations as they struggle to find new permanent accommodation they can afford.

“I would like to (see) legislation to include mold damage (for tenants),” Carl said. “That’s my overall goal, to make sure no one ever gets hurt like that again.”

CBS13 sent several detailed question lists to Antelope Property Management’s Arbors. In response, they sent this additional statement:

“We take these issues seriously and have hired a licensed contractor to address them. They worked diligently to resolve each issue as quickly as possible after we became aware of it. Additionally, we inspected every apartment in the community and took action to resolve any issues found. We ask all residents with outstanding concerns to contact us as soon as possible so that we can take appropriate next steps. »