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I have a mold illness because of my landlord Toxic Tort, Chemicals

Discussion in 'Accidents, Injuries, Negligence' started by Keith502, Apr 30, 2017.

  1. Keith502

    Keith502 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I moved into an apartment in August of 2013. In July of 2014, I had a bad problem with my plumbing in the apartment. My toilet began to overflow large amounts of water. The toilet did this all by itself without me having to flush. There was so much water that it flooded nearly half of the apartment with filthy toilet water and raw sewage from the toilet bowl. (Before the toilet malfunction, I had a problem with dirty bath water from an upstairs apartment coming up through the drain in my bathtub and filling it with dirty water.) I called the landlord and he sent a plumber to fix the plumbing problem with the toilet. However, after the plumbers fixed the toilet, my carpet was still drenched with toilet water. I volunteered to clean up the water with my wet/dry vacuum and my landlord consented and took no further action. Several months later the same toilet problem occurred again. Again, the landlord sent a plumber to fix the toilet; but this time I asked him to clean up my dirty, flooded carpet. He said he wasn't feeling well at the time and asked me to do it instead. I complied, and the landlord took no further action.


    A few months afterwards, in October of 2015, I started having a mold problem. I smelled a moldy odor in my apartment and various belongings became covered in a green mold, but the mold would only appear in areas where the flood waters had spread to. I called the landlord about it and he sent a specialist to inspect the mold. He looked for mold in the walls but said he couldn't find any mold there. I told him that the mold appeared to be coming from the floor. Eventually, the specialist pulled up the carpet and disinfected the floor underneath. He told me that he found a large amount of mold underneath the carpet but managed to kill all of it.


    In April of 2016, I was at work one day and had a sudden difficulty breathing, even though I have no history of asthma or breathing problems. I went to an emergency room and it was suggested that I was suffering from acute bronchitis. I incurred a hospital bill of about $1,200 and also paid for antibiotics and an asthma inhaler, which amounted to $57. At this time, I did not notice any mold in my apartment. However, in August of 2016, I began having serious breathing problems again which seemed to intensify the longer I stayed in my apartment, but I was unsure as to the cause. Shortly after, I began to smell a moldy odor in my apartment. I called the landlord and he sent the same mold specialist to inspect the apartment. This time, the specialist claims he did not notice any mold. Later, the landlord offered to pull up the carpet and disinfect the floor again but I decided it was safer to just move out, which I did at the end of September. My landlord did not return my security deposit because I failed to give 30 days notice before my departure.


    Ever since I moved out, I have had to throw out some of my belongings that had visible mold on them, and almost all of my property has a moldy smell on it. But more importantly, my respiratory health has seriously deteriorated. I have had serious breathing trouble, and have had to use my asthma inhaler on a daily basis. I have also been taking various dietary, herbal and therapeutic methods to purge my lungs of the mold. I have improved since I moved out of the apartment but am still suffering. I have also had to dispose of some of my belongings that have mold spores on them and I may have to dispose of many more of them.


    I believe my landlord is exclusively responsible for the mold that appeared in my apartment because of his negligence. I have done some research on what to do when there is a flooding in a building, and I have learned that in such a situation it is necessary to immediately pull up the carpet and the carpet pad underneath and to allow the floor to thoroughly dry before replacing the new carpet. However, my landlord did not do this. He didn't dry the carpet itself, or even clean or disinfect it, even though it was soiled with dirty toilet water and raw sewage. He actually did nothing at all with my carpet until after the mold appeared months later.


    I would like to file a personal injury lawsuit against my landlord in order to compensate for my pain and suffering, my hospital bill, my belongings that I had to dispose of, the expenses I have paid to remedy my illness, and also future medical expenses that I may have to pay in order to get well. Do I have a case against my landlord?
     
  2. Highwayman

    Highwayman Well-Known Member

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    You continued to live voluntarily under those conditions. If it was me I would not continue to live in a place that had carpeting soaked in sewage, whether it was wet or dry.

    Seems like at no time did you demand that your landlord fix anything - you took it upon yourself to. You said:

    "I volunteered to clean up the water with my wet/dry vacuum and my landlord consented and took no further action"

    A wet/dry vacuum does not address sewage in your carpeting, but you seemed to think it was acceptable at the time.
     
    hrforme and Disabled Vet like this.
  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Well-Known Member

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    I agree. Your time to hold the landlord responsible passed long ago.
     
  4. leslie82

    leslie82 Well-Known Member

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    You volunteered to clean the carpets twice. You can file any suit you want to but it doesn't mean you'll win. You could have moved out as soon as you noticed mold the first time and he didn't do anything. But you stayed and tried to clean it up yourself. Talk to a lawyer in your area and see what they think about your chances.
     
  5. Keith502

    Keith502 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    This was my first time renting an apartment. It was my belief that it was the landlord's responsibility to ensure that my apartment was sanitary and safe to live in. Especially since the toilet overflowing was not my fault, I would think it was his responsibility to clean up whatever mess the toilet made.
     
  6. Keith502

    Keith502 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Are you saying that the statute of limitations for my case has expired?
     
  7. Keith502

    Keith502 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    You are right. I was foolish to stay in the apartment. However, the fact remains that I paid my landlord rent in full on time every single month, and therefore I feel he had a legal responsibility to do the necessary cleanup job on my carpet.
     
  8. mightymoose

    mightymoose Well-Known Member

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    I'm saying you missed your opportunity when you agreed to clean the carpet yourself. That let the landlord off the hook and put all responsibility for cleaning the carpet on you.
    Since the initial incident was for years ago I would not be surprised if you've also missed a statute of limitations
     
  9. leslie82

    leslie82 Well-Known Member

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    But YOU volunteered to clean up the mess and you did it both times. You should have told the landlord to have it cleaned up and properly. So no it's not his fault you got mold because you did the cleaning. It doesn't matter that you paid him rent on time. If you had told him you wanted it professionally done or whatever, and he didn't, then you might have had a case. Why did you wait four years?
     
  10. Keith502

    Keith502 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    At the time, I thought that simply cleaning up the water with a wet/dry vacuum was sufficient and did not learn until after I moved out that there was a much more thorough cleaning process that must be performed in such a situation. But as the tenant, I don't think it should have been my responsibility to know this procedure. My main responsibility to my landlord is to pay him rent; my landlord's responsibility to me is to repair dangerous defects in my apartment. The landlord should have known what to do in this situation, and should have taken the necessary measures regardless of me choosing to do the cleanup. My choosing to clean the carpet was not preventing him from still having the carpet professionally cleaned afterwards.
     
  11. Keith502

    Keith502 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I said in the post that after the second toilet overflow, I did ask him to clean up the carpet and he essentially refused and expected me to do it. Any time there is a flooding like this it demands a professional cleanup job, not just a tenant using his vacuum cleaner. The landlord should have known this. It's his responsibility to know these things; I shouldn't have to tell him what he should do.

    I didn't ask him to have the carpet professionally cleaned because at the time I didn't know it needed to be professionally cleaned. I can't inform my landlord of something that I don't know.

    Also, what do you mean by waiting "four years"? I only moved out September of last year.
     
  12. mightymoose

    mightymoose Well-Known Member

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    Of course you didn't know... and neither did the landlord. You cleaned it and never asked for anything further. Your lease likely has a specific procedure for requesting maintenance and repairs, usually a request in writing, and it likely eas never done.

    It does not matter when you moved out. It matters when the incident first occurred.

    You really don't seem to have anywhere to go with this.
     
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  13. txls

    txls Well-Known Member

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    You seem to pretty convinced that you have a case so go get yourself a lawyer.
     
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  14. leslie82

    leslie82 Well-Known Member

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    So you chose to do something that you had no idea how to do it. I would never take on such a task without at least talking to some experts about the best way to do it or probably just shell out the money.

    Why shouldn't it be your responsibility? You're an adult right? If something happens in my apartment I'll generally put in a work order but I will look into it first to see if it's an easy fix or not. You decided to volunteer the first time to clean it yourself and that's your own fault. The second time you let him just ignore it. You should have kept pressing him or called in someone to do it and then sent him the bill. It's still your fault because YOU cleaned it up both times. Also you're likely outside the statute of limitations as stated.
     
  15. leslie82

    leslie82 Well-Known Member

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    If you know that it should have been professionally done then why did YOU do it?

    First you said in this post that any time there is flooding like that it "demands" a professional clean up job then in a few sentences you say you didn't know this? Which is it? Someone said there's a four year statute of limitations and I thought that meant this happened four years ago.
     
  16. ElleMD

    ElleMD Well-Known Member

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    The landlord would also not be responsible for your personal belongings. Those were your to clean or replace. If you had renter's insurance you could have filed a claim with them at the time.

    If you told your landlord you would take care of it, he isn't obligated to insist otherwise. How was he to know your efforts would be insufficient? He also isn't obligated to personally handle the clean up the same day. Landlords get sick too.
     
  17. Keith502

    Keith502 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    At the time of the incident, I thought that cleaning up the water with a vacuum was sufficient. It was only months after I moved out that I learned that a professional cleaning job was necessary.
     
  18. Keith502

    Keith502 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I assumed renter's insurance was for something like burglaries or some other disaster that is not the landlord's fault. If the damage to my belongings was my landlord's fault, why shouldn't he have to pay for it?




    The second time I DID ask him to do the cleaning, and he refused. He said he was sick when I first asked him. But days later he would call me or even visit me in person in order to check on my progress in doing the cleaning. He would ask me how things were going and when I told him I had some ways to go he would chide me for my slow progress. He clearly expected me to do this, even though it was his responsibility.
     
  19. leslie82

    leslie82 Well-Known Member

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    Again you chose to do it each time. The damage wasn't the landlord's fault it was from the water damage. Then you chose to clean it up on your own both times. I don't know why you don't get that. You improperly cleaned it up and then you got mold. Why wouldn't you have at least researched it or called a professional for some information? I see this as your fault.

    Did you even read your renter's insurance policy when you got it to see what is covered?
     
  20. ElleMD

    ElleMD Well-Known Member

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    Renter's insurance covers your personal belongings for which your landlord is never responsible. It also isn't the landlord's fault the sewer lines backed up or the toilet clogged. You are the one responsible for your personal possessions. Even if he had sent someone to clean the carpets and such, he would not have to pay to clean or replace your belongings. The specialist wasn't going to sort through your stuff to see if it had mold. He was there to inspect the property.

    Your landlord did what he was obligated to do in sending a plumber to fix the problem and the mold specialist when told that was an issue. You offered to clean the rest. At any time during the second clean up did you tell him that you needed him to contact a professional to take care of the problem? If you were still willingly doing it, it is not his fault you did a poor job of it. You no longer live there so there is no recourse and it is a non-issue.
     
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