How can i make my landlord take care of the mold in my place??

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How can i make my landlord take care of the mold in my place??

As soon as I moved in I10 months ago I saw leaks from rain. My landlord brushed it off. I kept her informed of when I saw leaks and/or water damage; I took videos and photos. I have been getting headaches I didn’t pay attention to, until 2 days ago. It was then that I saw much of my property moldy in dressers, both closets and things in closets smell like mold. Our possessions are not much at all but are ruined. I want to find out if this property was ever allowed to be tenanted. This is definitely not a new problem, I just happen to be the tenant that it happened to.

Asked on September 26, 2016 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) Contact your municipal (i.e. town or city) department(s) of housing, or code, and/or of health--express your concern about mold and leaks and see if the rental may be in violation of health or building codes; if it may be, ask them to inspect, and if the inspection finds code violations, they may issue violation notices, backed up by the possibility of fines, which may get him to make repairs.
At the same time, you can check to see if the home even has a certificate of occupancy.
2) Provide your landlord written lists of the problems and a request for repairs, sent some way you can prove delivery; give him some reasonable time to make, or at least start, repairs, after delivery; then if he still does not, tell him you are withholding rent because the premises are not habitable due to mold and leaks. IMPORTANT: put the withheld rent in the bank and *don't* use it for anything else--your landlord will likely try to evict you for unpaid rent; when he does, make sure to respond and go to court; in court you will raise the habitability problems as the reason you are withholding rent. (And bring lots of printed-out color photos of the mold, the leaks, etc.--court and judges love photographic evidence.)
The court might disagree with you and feel the problems do not justify withholding rent--in which case, you'd have to pay to avoid eviction. Or the judge might agree that you are justified in not paying until repairs are made--but will likely require you to deposit the rent for safekeeping with the court. Either way, you will need to have the withheld rent available.


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