Serious mold issues - I called the health department, AZ

This is a discussion on Serious mold issues - I called the health department, AZ within the Landlord vs Tenant Issues forum, part of the REAL ESTATE & PROPERTY LAW category; I live in Arizona in a loft that I've rented for the past 2 years. In February, I noticed my ...

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Old May 31st, 2010, 01:33 AM   #1
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Angry Serious mold issues - I called the health department, AZ

I live in Arizona in a loft that I've rented for the past 2 years. In February, I noticed my bathtub was leaking (all over the bathroom and outside into the hall), so I called my landlord to have it fixed. When the guy came in March to fix it, there was mold growing in the carpet outside of the bathroom. He said he would have a carpet professional come deal with it. A couple days later the carpet guys called, but I missed the call, so I called back and left a message ASAP. The next week I called again. Still nothing. I put up a baby gate on the stairs so that my dogs couldn't get near the mold, and I resorted to sleeping on my couch so I wouldn't be near it either. By May, there was still no action taken, so I found a new place to move into (though I can't move in for another 2 months). I called the landlord to basically yell at them, and they said they had no record of me ever calling to have the mold dealt with. At that point I called the health department, but for some reason, they wouldn't file a complaint about the mold-though they filed a complaint about a broken ac/heater that broke around the same time and still wasn't fixed. I work out everyday, yet recently I seem to be out of breath walking to the kitchen or walking up a single flight of stairs. What legal options do I have? I assume this is from the mold I have been living in since March now...Thankfully my dogs aren't showing symptoms, but I'm still 2 weeks from moving, so I'm terrified for them.
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Old May 31st, 2010, 08:15 AM   #2
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Default Re: Serious mold issues - I called the health department, AZ

I wish to inform you that you must file a written complaint with the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and your landlord stating about the mold in your premises and the health hazard due to it. According to ADHS, bleach and water must be used to clean the area with mold. All material which has moldy residues must be cleared. While cleaning, all precautions pertaining to health must be taken. You may also consult a professional service about the mold. Mold can lead to a person feeling out of breath. You may consult your doctor in the matter. If the landlord and ADHS do not take any action, you can study your lease contract about the clause pertaining to mold or other health hazards and it will guide your actions in the matter. If the landlord does not resolve the matter, you may file a lawsuit. You can submit all the facts to the court and the court will decide the matter.

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Old May 31st, 2010, 01:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: Serious mold issues - I called the health department, AZ

I doubt a lawsuit will go anywhere. You only called to have repair. You didn't document this in any way so I doubt you have any proof until you called the inspector (and then he didn't document it either). You should have done this in writing with a certified return receipt letter so you would have proof the LL received the request. Now you have no proof of any kind of mold in the unit. If the lease was not up, expect a fight to get that deposit back. You may have a hard time convincing a court that there is mold (photos can't prove mold as mildew can look exactly the same in a picture).
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Old Feb 3rd, 2015, 10:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: Serious mold issues - I called the health department, AZ

I called the AZ Office of Environmental Health and was informed that they do not take complaints. They are information only and have no authority at all. I called the AZ Dept. of Health Services and was informed that they do not take complaints and the same with the AZ Dept. of Housing. They also informed me that in the state of Arizona there are NO laws concerning mold.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2015, 11:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: Serious mold issues - I called the health department, AZ

In situations like this, the tenant must provide written notification to the landlord of the nature of the problems. The tenant is required to spell out the problem in detail and must also allow a reasonable time for the landlord to make the needed repairs, which can vary depending on the nature of the problem. The tenant should send the letter by certified mail and keep a copy of the letter and the dated receipt. However, the repairs must not be the result of conduct by the tenant or her guests. Further, if the landlord fails to respond to the tenant's written request for repairs, many states and local jurisdictions allow a tenant to make needed repairs or pay to have the repairs made and deduct the cost of the repairs from the rent. However, there are limits to how expensive the repairs can be. In most instances, the cost of the repair cannot exceed a month's rent and is often less. The tenant must provide copies of receipts or paid work orders for the landlord before making deductions from the rent. Landlords may not evict a tenant for lawfully making repairs to her residence and deducting the cost from the rent. This is known as retaliatory eviction and is illegal. For more information, contact an attorney.
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Old Feb 4th, 2015, 12:56 AM   #6
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Default Re: Serious mold issues - I called the health department, AZ

The presence of mold in itself is not illegal or does not make a residence uninhabitable. You have not explained where the mold is. Simply cleaning with bleach water can clean away mold. If you feel it is toxic black mold, hire a company to come in acquire and test a sample. then you will have an issue if it is toxic.
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Old Feb 4th, 2015, 10:36 AM   #7
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Default Re: Serious mold issues - I called the health department, AZ

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The presence of mold in itself is not illegal or does not make a residence uninhabitable. You have not explained where the mold is. Simply cleaning with bleach water can clean away mold. If you feel it is toxic black mold, hire a company to come in acquire and test a sample. then you will have an issue if it is toxic.
The health department is the proper agency to call. They come out at no charge, take samples, and if the mold is extensive enough will require a professional mold remediation specialist remove it.

All molds send out spores that get into the lungs and some can cause serious medical problems. So it is never safe to assume a mold is harmless. Leave that to the experts. When mold is more than say a 4' square, the mold remediation specialists come in hazmat suits. So much for assuming a bit of bleach can solve a mold problem.
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Old Feb 4th, 2015, 03:25 PM   #8
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When mold is more than say a 4' square, the mold remediation specialists come in hazmat suits. So much for assuming a bit of bleach can solve a mold problem.
prolly coulda cleaned it in the beginning, but NO. Let's wait till we can blame the landlord.
OP is probably dead by now.
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Old Feb 4th, 2015, 06:23 PM   #9
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Default Re: Serious mold issues - I called the health department, AZ

That is often the problem. The renter just gives it dumb looks until it has grown large, then they start screaming about it, when 99% of the time it is simply an issue wiping the surfaces with bleach solve. Most mold spores are harmless. If one is in doubt, they can put a wet towel or breathing mask while cleaning the small area.

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prolly coulda cleaned it in the beginning, but NO. Let's wait till we can blame the landlord.
OP is probably dead by now.
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Old Feb 5th, 2015, 12:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: Serious mold issues - I called the health department, AZ

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That is often the problem. The renter just gives it dumb looks until it has grown large, then they start screaming about it, when 99% of the time it is simply an issue wiping the surfaces with bleach solve. Most mold spores are harmless. If one is in doubt, they can put a wet towel or breathing mask while cleaning the small area.
Usually mold begins behind the wall or floor. That is necessary for growth. While one may get surface mold off for the time being, it will reappear because the mold is beneath the surface and may be far more extensive than indicated on the surface.

There are some that are downright damaging, especially to children and those with impaired immune systems. So it is always wise to proceed with caution.

When I appraised for H.U.D. we were required to call for an inspection by professionals when mold was present because of the agency's knowledge of the extent of the problem and the damage it can cause.
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