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Robert in Oceanside, CA

In the beginning of July 2011, we had a downstairs toilet flood. It flooded our livivng room, dining area, and kitchen. We live in a 2 story town home and have an apartment below us. When our flood happened in our down stairs bathroom, it was due to a bad valve in the toilet bowl. It ended up flooding our downstairs and went through our  neighbors roof.

He stated that water was coming thru his roof in the kitchen and living room. Well the leasing office did not fix it right away, they started to work on it Sept 12,2011. I was off that day napping on the couch downstiars and I heard them working on the unit below mine.

Later I had a severe headache, fever, shortness of breathe, no appetite, etc. I thought I had just gotten the flu. I went to my doctor and they said I had strep throat and gave me a breathing treatment for the wheezing and meds to take home with me. I didn’t think anything of it, but then I thought since it took them 2 1/2 months to fix water damage down stairs,  that it might have something to due with it since I felt fine before, only after they started removing the down stairs roof did I become ill.

I had a physical for my work the Thursday prior to this event and there were no problems. My wife is sick too. So I bought a Home Depot mold test and although it’s not growing on my walls or floors, that I can see, the mold test came back positive. So it must be all airborne, and causing our illness. I sent the speciem to the lab to see what kind of mold it is, but I am still waiting for results. I’ve talked to the management office and they just say they were trying to take care of it, but with little to no effort, I told them we were sick and they just say sorry. They wont move us out and we still have 5 months on our lease. All they tell me is if it weren’t safe we would not have you in there, but they have done no mold testing of their own. They just had two guys check for moisture. I had to miss a week of work due to illness and still me and my wife are not feeling well.

Questions:

What can I do while I’m waiting for mold results from the lab? Me and my wife have no money to get a hotel to get us out of the environment and we have no family to stay with. We feel trapped and have no clue what our next step should be? Can we contact an office to help us?

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5 thoughts on “Robert in Oceanside, CA

  1. Well, my opinion is that you are living in a dangerous enviroment.My first thought was to contact an organization that can possibly find temporary housing for you. They may be able to point you in the right direction to deal with your situation.

  2. Robert,
    I am guessing that when they ripped out the damaged construction materials to fix the water damage, there was mold and they released spores/mycotoxins when they ripped it apart. Whenever areas of water damage are repaired, proper containment units should be in place to keep any contaminants from contaminating the entire structure. The home depot tests are not very reliable–can you afford a quality lab test? Actually, the owner should do it–can you contact a renter’s association or health department or anything like that in your area? If there is mold contamination, you would have to leave until such time as it is cleaned up. Since both you and your wife are getting sick, that is a good indication that the mold is toxigenic, meaning it is harmful. Some people, if they do not have money for a motel, stay in campgrounds or with friends. Cross-contaminiation can be an issue also, so do not take things with you. If mycotoxins are on your items, and you take them with you, you will continue to be affected because you will still be exposed to mycotoxins. I usually tell people to store items if they can until they can see what can be remediated. In cases of severe contamination, however, most items may need to be disposed of. Check your area for laws regarding safe living conditions for renters–I am sure there must be something to indicate that your landlord would need to have proper testing/remediation done. Until such time as the area is deemed “safe” by reputable and reliable testing methods by a reputable company, and not by two guys sent by the apartment complex to “check for moisture”, you really should leave…even if you have to go to a campground, shelter, etc. It is a matter of health, and in matters of health, life is what is important..

  3. I recently when through the same thing! What i was told as i needed to send a certified letter to the complex so i would have proof! just in case you have to get a lawyer involved! Then if nothing is done then proceed to get legal help!

  4. Consumer Reports and others have found that home mold test kits are not reliable. In fact, their website says: “Avoid mold tests sold at home centers and online. Each of the kits we tested had significant flaws that were serious enough to earn them a Not Recommended Rating in our 2006 tests.” As for your question, if you have renters insurance, your insurance company can probably cover the costs of a hotel. However, they will likely require an actual mold inspection and testing by a professional company like A&A Mold and Allergy Investigations. Some of the home testing kits were found to have mold in them when the kits were purchased.

  5. i have had mold inside the wall in the condo i rent for over 2 1/2 yrs. It keeps reappering after I bleached and painted with kilz. 2 months ago I refused to pay rent until they opened the wall & remaoved it.The color of the mold was black & goowey & on all substrates,drywall,incellation,tar paper and cbs block.i have itchy skin all the time espacially when i am in my bed. does the mold spores travel throught the air ducks& can it be in the berber carpet? My vision is blurry and i went to an eye doctor in july.I am concerned about the condo infected with the mold even thought they removed the wall full of mold. what are your suggestions.

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