My wife and I are both in our 60’s, leased a newer home (with an option to purchase in three (3) years) in the Colorado Springs, CO area, approximately six months ago, where we live and both work full-time in our home office, while managing the care of our disabled daughter who has undergone a number of surgeries over the past few years, most recently being heart valve replacement surgery last year.
OUR SITUATION – In a large coat closet located next to our Home Office, we hung all of our coats, skiwear, winter boots, etc. when we moved into the home (early Summer). Six weeks ago, the temperatures dropped and when my wife opened up the closet door to retrieve her coat, she discovered that a number of our coats and the Coat Closet’s interior walls were covered with some type of a Black Mold. I was, and still am, in Arkansas dealing with the recent death of my mother and home caring my 102 yr. old father.
The property owner was immediately made aware of the problem and after two weeks of demanding and complaining to him about the problem, which he tried very hard to blame on us, claiming the problem was a toilet upstairs that was slightly running on the inside of the water holding tank, informing us that we were totally responsible and it was our sole responsibility to get a Mold Remediation group out to the house immediately, on our dime. We didn’t know what to do so my wife contacted a plumber to inspect the situation and isolate the problem. Upon arrival, he immediately located the problem… a Screw holding a Closet Shelf bracket was screwed through the Bracket, the wall, and right into a plastic water pipe. After the Home Owner was made aware of the actual cause & problem, that the Plumber we hired had located, there were no apologies to us… but he started slowly dealing with the remediation.
Monday, 11/09/2015, when the Mold Professionals hired by the Property Owner finally showed up to start remediating the problem in the Coat Closet, they discovered that the mold was also present, but much worse, covering a 8’ Cement Foundation Wall, hidden from view by white, plastic-coated insulation diapers, covering all of the walls in our Utility Room where all of our Heat/Air & Ducts are located, directly below the infected Coat Closet. We are now concerned that the Mold is also present in the carpets & pads as well as the AC & Heater ducts/vents throughout the entire house, which consists of over 5,000 square feet and 3 full floors, with the Moldy Coat Closet being located in the middle floor. The Home Owner has refused to address or clean the Heating/AC Ducts, the Carpet on the house floors or all of our destroyed clothing from the closet.
OUR CONCERNS – Our daughter, in her mid-30’s, who lives with us under our full-time care, has been battling a number of serious health issues over the past five years, most recently being Heart Valve Replacement surgery, followed then by complete teeth removal and implants, as a measure to prevent additional infections. Since moving into this house, she started experiencing a continual number of infection setbacks. A week before our discovery of the Mold Issues, her doctors diagnosed her as having serious deficiencies within her immune system and up unto that point, the causes for her symptoms had yet to be determined by her physicians or specialists. Now that her doctors are aware of the Mold issue and due to her medical history, they want her out of this house. Both my wife and daughter are extremely allergic to Penicillin, and the Mold Professionals told them that due to those allergies, any mold discovered living in the house containing Penicillin could prove toxic to them. Even our Black Lab has been sick and is under his Vet’s care, at present.
We have lived with and breathed this Mold into our bodies for nearly 6 months. The Infected Closet door is less than 10 feet from our Office area, where my wife and I spend 8 to 12 hours each day. My wife has also been continually sick, in and out of her Dr.’s office over the past several months. On Friday (10/6/2015) she was diagnosed with signs of possible “Lupus” after a number of tests. Over the past 6 weeks, I’ve developed dry, circular, flakey, itchy sores (psoriasis) on the calves of both legs and one on my chest, which are continually enlarging. We are very worried that the exposure and damage, which has already been done to our daughter, may be irreversible at this point. On 11/14/2015 she came down with an extreme case of “Thrush”, which she experienced in the past, but was brought on by excessive intake of antibiotics or penicillin while hospitalized. She has not taken any antibiotics for months and she is highly allergic to penicillin. My wife’s only option was to take her 50 miles away to stay with an acquaintance, just to get her out of the house, which is making it near impossible for to handle her other health issues at such a distance. We are all terrified of what this Mold exposure has done to our family and desperately need advise and direction regarding this matter.
Prior to the arrival of the Mold Professionals that the Home Owner hired to remediate the situation, my wife contacted an Industrial Hygienist company to come out and test the home and the Mold we discovered.
Last week, we received the test results from the Industrial Hygienist we hired and they came back POSITIVE, showing “Abundant Stachybotrys” (Toxic Black Mold), and “Moderate Oedocephalum”.
We were told that this problem has been incubating for a very long time and that it didn’t happen over night but most likely for many, many months or more likely, years. The Property Owner told my wife, on Friday, 11/13/2015, that they lived in the house for 7 years before moving out and then the house sat empty for at least a year before we moved in. It is apparent that this problem existed long before we took possession of the property and now, we have been breathing these Toxic Mold Spores, 24/7, over the past 6 months. The same Industrial Hygienist will also be coming back as quickly as the remediation is completed to conduct additional tests, for follow-up results.
Also, one of our daughter’s Specialists just referred her to an Allergist for testing, scheduled for late November, regarding to her exposure to this Mold.
To this point, the Home Owner’s are unaware of the Testing performed by the Industrial Hygienist, nor our efforts in acquiring legal representation.
The Home Owners did No (ZERO) Testing, but told us that a week or two after it is Remediated the group who did the remediation will test the house to see if there is any present Mold residual after remediation.
To make matters worse, the Home Owners just notified us that they were turning the Management of our Home over to a local Management Company, informing us that any issues we encounter with the home from now on, are to be addressed directly to said Management Company, as not to bother them anymore.
The Home Owners have been playing hardball with this matter since it began. We had over 30 coats, including a fur, in the infected closet, which are also all ruined. When we confronted the Home Owners about the coats, they said that they’ve been dealing with their insurance company and that they won’t pay for any damages that we have incurred, and that we need to file a claim with our Renters Insurance Provider. NO Renter’s Insurance Providers cover any type of Mold Damage, PERIOD.
Our plans were to purchase this home within 3 years and we paid sufficient down payments and additional deposits to accomplish same, but now, we are terrified of the thought of living in this house anymore. We want out of the Lease and out of this house, as quickly as physically possible and we would like to seek any and all damages allowed by law for the pain, suffering and probable long term and/or continual health effects myself, my wife and our daughter have and will experience from our exposure to the mold in this house, over the past six (6) months. We also want to receive all of down payments/deposits returned to us and to be compensated for all medical costs, moving costs, stress and anxiety that this has caused to our family, but most importantly, our daughter’s health is our main concern. This is very serious matter and we have got to get her out of this house as quickly as possible.
Our health, especially our daughter’s has been severely effected by this mess and we feel that this Home Owner should be financially responsible for our health needs as long as we experience any issues caused by or contributed to the Mold that we lived with, in his house, for the past 6 months.
OUR DELEMA – We have contacted dozens of Attorneys (Environmental, Personal Injury, Toxic Tort, Landlord/Tenant, etc.) with one rejection after another. Many did provide referrals, which when contacted also rejected representation. We don’t know where to go from here or who to contact. We have contacted every Government agency we could think of… again with no solutions/results. We cannot give up on this. In this whole state, there must be at least one (1) Attorney or Firm who will the compasion to reaize the seriousness of our situation and help us get out of this deathtrap. The Home Owners are in the upper income bracket, own several homes, drive new luxury sports cars, travel extensively throughout Europe, etc.
Any advice/directions/suggestions/referrals/solutions will be greatly appreciated.
“WE ARE IN NEED OF COMPETANT LEGAL REPRESENTATION AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE”
Thanks in advance.