Found Mold in my Apartment

by Jean
(Tampa/FL)

After 1 year of living in my apartment, one morning in August of 2018 I woke up with vertigo. At first, I didn't know what that was. Later in October, it happened again. I searched online, found the relationship between "Mold vs. Vertigo". Ironically, I told my family doctor what that was, and he prescribed medicine for me. I had an inspector over to test, and 3 toxic molds were found. Though not high volume at 400 counts, the living room has higher Penicillium/Aspergillus than the balcony. Mold was found in AC filter, and microbial growth in AC system. 2 leaks in kitchen and bathroom were never fully fixed, and the unit was flooded before, as I was told by next door neighbor.

At first, I had allergy symptoms, and I thought it was just an allergy, then Vertigo. By mid-October, my eyes were red, burning and bloodshot. It has been the same since.

I had serious sinus problems, scaly skin, and stiff joints, especially in the morning. My dog also had red eyes and skin problems. She breathed heavily and panted sometimes.

I got myself a larger dehumidifier, air purifier with HEPA filter, and UVC light. The humidity was high around 60 unless I used more AC. But when I turned on the AC, I had a consistent headache. I also started to develop breathing problems, chest tightness, and discomfort when I breathed deep. In fact, I never experienced any of these symptoms before, and was always in great health. I also had slight anemia, and my hair and nails didn't seem to grow.

I had to change the HEPA filter at least once a month, at $50 a set. I am not so sure about UVC light VS. Ozone, but it did make the air smell clean.

I used water with drops of Oregano oil to fresh the air, and I used Hydrogen Peroxide mixed with water to wipe down most surfaces before my move. I've heard fabrics are difficult to clean, so I used a UVC light a few times before my move.

Since I broke my lease, so the landlord is still coming after me for the early termination fees, regardless of how much pain and suffering, time and money, they caused me and my life. I also had to give up a feral cat I was feeding, which was the reason I stayed a few more months than I should have.

But I decided to move on, as my breathing problems turned serious and I had headaches on a daily basis.

Now I am fighting them in court. I filed in small claims court, hoping to find justice for people who encountered the same treatment as me. My landlord was greedy, shameful and irresponsible. They made people sick, and still wanted their money.

To justice! To health!


Reply by Editor


Unfortunately, this is a very common story that we hear. It is even more common in places like Florida, where the weather is very hot and humid.

You did the right thing in moving out. There is nothing more important than your health. One thing you could also do in a situation like this is to contact your local department of health. They are often very helpful in forcing the landlord to correct the problem by threatening to condemn the apartment. They may also be able to help you break your lease.

Here are some articles that can provide additional information:

FAQ About Mold in the Home
Landlord Responsibility For Mold
Types of Mold Found In Homes
Symptoms of Mold Exposure

Comments for Found Mold in my Apartment

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Apr 19, 2019
health department
by: Jean

Yes, I've contacted every department I could, including the health department. First, they said they only dealt with certain things. Second, my complaint got an immediate automated response to contact other places with links to click on. The health Department does NOT deal with mold, they said. Next, I tried the Consumer Agency and Code department. Nope, we were never successfully able to have the apartment remove the early termination fees. As for the Code department, unless it's visible mold, it made no difference in the case. My case was called "Clean" by the manager of the apartment, they were in complete denial.

The consumer agency recommended me to "present to the judge", that's why I chose the small claim route. Before that, we tried to "request mediation", they never responded to it.
Since then, this case had been resolved between us, after so many tries. I am not allowed to comment on this case in public from this point on. The story will remain a story.

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