Mold in your apartment? ABC11 Troubleshooter reveals what rights you have

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Friday, January 20, 2023
Mold in your apartment? Here's what you can do about it
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Mold is one of the top complaints ABC11 viewers continue to reach out to Troubleshooter Diane Wilson about when it comes to their rentals.

Mold is one of the top complaints ABC11 viewers continue to reach out to Troubleshooter Diane Wilson about when it comes to their rentals.

"It's full of mold. On the weights, the books all have mold on them," Traca Williamson shows Wilson as she walked through her apartment. She adds pointing to her furniture, "This is just mold. This is mold growing on the hats."

She did report it to her apartment complex, and several crews came to try and fix the problem.

"They checked for moisture, which they found an accessible amount, and so what you hear in the background is dehumidifiers that they left two here to run in the apartment," Williamson said.

Despite the efforts to stop the growth, she continued to find issues throughout her apartment.

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"At that point in time, I was concerned because I didn't know whether or not the mold was going to be dangerous to my health," she said.

When Wilson reached out to the apartment complex, a representative said they had taken the matter very seriously, and when a third-party company tested the unit, it was their understanding the results showed the mold in the apartment was non-toxic. The representative said they offered to move Williamson to a different unit or let her break her lease and move out completely; they also offered her compensation to get her items cleaned

Williamson said she was concerned about moving to another apartment within the complex only to have the same issue, plus to replace many of her items, would cost thousands of dollars.

"For me to try to replace the couch, especially with today's inflation, the tables -- I have mold on the cables on my television; it's everywhere," she said.

When it comes to tenant rights in North Carolina, Attorney Miriah Yanez with The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin said it's tough.

"There are no specific guidelines on mold in particular, on a North Carolina landlord, but the North Carolina landlord does have a duty to make sure the rental is fit and habitable," Yanez said.

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She said the key is for the tenant to take pictures and video of the issues and report it right away.

"They typically have about 30 days to fix the situation unless it's an emergent situation. My biggest recommendation is to document. So if you have that verbal conversation just follow it up with the email," she said.

Attorney Yanez also said don't just stop paying rent, as that could hurt you. Instead, be sure to look at your lease and see if it has specific steps you need to take in the event you discover mold.