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In St Louis City: Landlord refuses to have toxic house inspected

Discussion in 'Living in, Use of the Premises' started by Hoot, Aug 18, 2021.

  1. Hoot

    Hoot Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Missouri
    Story:
    In St. Louis City i live on the top floor of an old house with a landlord who lives in the basement. She also houses AirBNB often.

    - The house has tons of old pieces of furniture, old rugs laying around, and huge amounts of hording items on the first floor and basement.

    - lacks central AC.

    - Bats have been found inside the house.

    - There's mold and mildew all over.

    And I am getting sick. With the recent surge in heat this summer my health has gone to hell. Its my first summer in the house.

    I cannot be in the house without getting dizzy, confused, and poorly balanced. I cannot sleep through the night. I am waking up every hour. And everyday I feel weak, exhausted, and confused.

    I brought this to her attention and the need for an environmental home inspection and she refused. Doesn't think anything could possibly be wrong. I brought up the vast amount of hording items but there's no convincing her they could be a problem.

    Then she said me I need to get a COVID test "right away"

    I pay cash and don't have a formal lease.

    Question: What legal rights do I have here?

    How can I force the inspection?

    How can I get her to pay for a hotel stay because the current residence is not livable?

    What do I need to do from a legal standpoint for anything else I might be missing and not asking on here?

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    It's probably a good idea to get a COVID test.
    You should give your 30 day notice and move.
     
  3. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary. Mold sampling is not recommended for the following reasons:

    Mold will always be found in testing. It is everywhere and there will always be some level of mold.
    Sampling for mold does not assess health risk.
    Mold testing is not standardized.

    There are no Missouri or Federal laws that set limits or standards as to what types or levels of mold exposure or of mold presence are healthy or unhealthy.

    Neither Missouri nor the Federal Government "certifies" any individual or firm claiming such designation of mold tester.

    In Missouri, mold testers may receive a business license; however, since it is not a regulated industry, no standards or levels of training are required to become “licensed.”

    Cleanup methods are the same regardless of the type of mold.

    Mold and Rental Situations
    Consult the Missouri Landlord Tenant Law http://www.ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/publications/landlord-tenantlaw.pdf?sfvrsn=4 to understand your rights.
    Fix the problem if possible. See the above Tips and Techniques for Mold Cleanup for recommendations.
    If the problem is something that has to be fixed by the landlord, send a letter in writing to your landlord describing the nature of your complaint and keep a copy of the letter. If the rental is managed by an agency such as Housing and Urban Development or the Rural Housing Administration, be sure to contact that agency. If your doctor made specific recommendations regarding your living environment, be sure to include those statements.
    If the landlord refuses to address the issue, you may find some assistance through local city hall or housing authority regarding local building codes, nuisance ordinances, or tenant codes. The codes will vary across Missouri from city to city and county to county. The codes do not address mold or the health effects from mold. You should discuss the code violations that exist and promote mold ggrowth, such as: faulty plumbing, construction and ventilation issues, leaky roofs, growndwater infiltration due to improper site placement, improper lumber selection, etc.
    If no assistance is available locally you may consider contacting an attorney.
    In some situations, moving may be the final option to protect the health of you and your family.
    Consult with an attorney to consider placing language in your next rental contract guaranteeing the quality of your indoor environment.

    Contact Information
    Bureau of Environmental Epidemiology
    Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
    PO Box 570
    Jefferson City, MO 65102

    Telephone: 573-751-6102 or
    (toll-free) 866-628-9891
    Fax: 573-526-6946
    Email: info@health.mo.gov
     
    justblue likes this.
  4. Hoot

    Hoot Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for your response.

    In terms of withholding rent, what options do I have?
     
  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I never recommend self help remedies.

    Self help remedies tend to be complex and detailed.

    If you make one error, you tend to cause more problems, or the molehill becomes a mountain.

    The process is explained in detail on the attached PDF:

    https://www.ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/publications/landlord-tenantlaw.pdf?sfvrsn=4

    If things are as troubling as you suggest, it would seem it is time for you to find a more suitable accommodation, after all your health is being jeopardized.
     
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  6. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    OP got snarky when I recommended that down the street. :(
     
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  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    In all reality tenants have limited protections during their leasehold.

    I don't understand why most people believe otherwise.

    Withholding rent is an option, but requires precision and caution if invoked.
     
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  8. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    Too true. That is why when looking over a prospective rental if it is moldy/dirty/gross one takes that as a indication of how little care the LL will have to any potential issues. Apparently this OP chose to rent their apartment despite the slovenly conditions and yet is now outraged that the LL does nothing.

    ETA: I do hope this OP find a better, cleaner home soon.
     
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  9. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    You appear to be a tenant with all of the rights of one (which would be pointless to attempt to list).

    You cannot (without committing a crime).

    Sue.

    If I were you, I'd move. You could also call city health/housing inspectors.
     

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