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Matthew and Asya in Everett, Washington

A view of the mold, from under the bed.

As a newly wed my wife and I moved into an apartment in Everett, WA to be closer to Boeing. I myself did not want to commute 3 hours to work everyday because this would be very hard on our new marriage. I wanted something small and inexpensive till I got on my feet with my new job, so we found a nicely sized one bedroom on the ground floor.

The door next to our front door I thought was where the boiler room was, later I found out that it was a door to the outside court yard. Our first week in our new apartment my wife said our bedroom carpet was damp, and then she told me that our bed and bedding was damp. I told her that it was probably the door to the outside made our room cold and that’s what she thought was damp. To be honest I thought it was just cold.

I had talked to our manager at the time about the black mold in the bathroom and how to get rid of it. He told us that we needed to run the fan longer then we have been and leave the door to the bathroom open when we were showering. I said well I can deal with that no big deal. About the 2nd week I noticed mold growing around the corners of our bedroom by the window were the rubber liner is above the carpet. We told our manager and he said the room was too cold and a little moisture was coming in. I thought okay well no big deal we sprayed it with bleach water let it sit and wiped it clean. My wife and I are pretty weird about our stuff and where we live being clean, we spend about the same amount of money on cleaning stuff as we do food for her and I. We clean every week and sometimes twice a week.

Another view of intense mold growth

Our manager stopped taking phone calls and didn’t answer his door, when we would see him he would say that he was busy. Later we found out that he was being let go for some reason. About 2 months in the mold was coming back in a couple days instead of a week. We grabbed our new apartment manager and told him about the mold, he told us that our bed was too close to wall and that is why this happened, and said that he would get to the rest of the things that needed fixed when he could. My brother and myself moved our bed 12 inches away from the wall and the window. When we moved it we noticed on the head board there was mold growing but not too bad, I have sinus problems and my nose doesn’t smell things unless it is right in front of me, blowing in my nose. This had been getting worse for me since we moved in and since Spring was coming to and end I thought I was just having allergy problems that I never noticed before.

Another angle of mold growth, under the bed.

We sprayed the mold with almost straight bleach on our bed frame and then made our bed. About 2 weeks later the mold on the wall was alive and growing faster then ever. Our white cat slipped under our bed frame and when she came out there was green stripes all over her. My wife was taking pictures of everything and then she snapped one of under the bed. The whole underside of our bed frame was covered on mold and not just that it was about 2-4 inches long. We pulled our memory foam mattress off the bed and there was mold coming from under our platform bed to the top and on our cover for our mattress, when we unzipped the mattress cover it was imbedded in our memory foam bed. Our new apartment manager was walking down the hallway and I stopped him to come in an look, when he did he said to stay out of this room, and he would look for another available unit for use to move into. I said okay my wife and I slept on our couch that night and the next day he showed us units and we picked one. They were putting the finishing touches on our new apartment and said that they would move everything. I said there was no need that my wife and I would move everything because it was Sunday and it was getting pretty late. While we were moving the mold expert came in and said we were not allowed to move anything in that room to our new apartment. He said if it left it had to be disposed of. All our clothes were in there, my wife and I bagged all our clothes and took them to the laundry mat. $75 later all our clothes were washed with vinegar and pretty strong cleaning soap. The manager said that if we did that that we needed to save our receipts and they would work something out. After our clothes were dry a lot of them smell like mold only the clothes that we use normally were okay and didn’t smell funny. We bagged the ones that smelled bad and took them to my mother’s house and washed them all on sanitary mode, and after checked them. No luck with getting that smell out. My manager told me that they would replace our bed and furniture that was not saved. I just need to give them receipts, we gave them receipts for everything that we could and made a generic list of low prices it would cost my wife and I to replace clothes that we lost, I went low because not all of our clothes were new, there were some items that my wife was very upset about. One of them was a Cache calf leather and fox fur jacket, skirt and matching handbag. The cleaner said that it would have to sent away and there was no guarantee that it would not smell bad. This set last year her Aunt paid over $5000 for.

We have been in our new apartment for about 3 weeks, 1 week of that a letter was submitted to the manager and to the owner with our rent check. We have about a ¼ of the clothes that we had and I am forced to sleep on a couch. I bought a memory foam mattress because I was in a motorcycle accident last year that left me with pretty bad back pain, all of the money that I spent fixing my back has left me feeling like my pain and problems are coming back again. I sent them a letter asking for $4500 to replace everything or help with the cost. I left my phone number telling them if they wanted to talk about this that I was willing. I have not been rude, aggressive or any negative behavior toward the manager or the owner. Since my wife and I moved here we have been very good tenants. I have told a small amount of people about this and they were all family. I told them no hard feeling about anything it was the negligence of the past manager. I have not looked into legal. My wife has been having skin problems since we moved here, I have been having breathing problems and am highly allergic to black mold. The last time I came in contact with the stuff I broke out in hives from head to toe and have to go to the ER and get a shot, fluids and was watched for 12 hours.

I am very thankful if anyone takes the time to read this and send me some advice, I just want what was wronged to be made right. And I don’t want out of our lease, this is one of the cheaper places to live in this area. Thank you again.

Questions:

Mainly, what are our options?