How can I recoup property lossesand possiblepersonal injury damagesdue to mold in my rental apartment?

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How can I recoup property lossesand possiblepersonal injury damagesdue to mold in my rental apartment?

Upon packing my belongings to relocate I discovered large areas of black, wet mold under my bed. There had been recurring problems with mold on the wall but I was unaware of what was hidden under the bed. I lost several framed pieces of art, handbags, and family photos due to being 100%covered in mold (I have photos of the damage). Also, roughly 6 months prior to this I developed throat/voice issues. Could this be related to inhaling mold for so long and sleeping directly on top of it? I notified the landlord of the situation and was completely ignored.

Asked on April 18, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

All leases have an "implied warranty of habitability," which means an extra term, implied or added to the lease by law, that the landlord must keep the premises in safely habitable condition. While this doesn't require minor fixes or clean-ups--e.g. it doesn't require a fresh coat of paint--it does require the landlord to remediate, or fix, conditions that can affect health, such as mold. If a landlord violates this warranty, the tenant has several options and may do some or all of--

* receive a rent abatement for the time the condition was in effect

* sue for damages (which could potentially include your illness, if you can prove by a preponderance of evidence that it's from the mold)

* fix the condition and deduct the cost from rent

* force the landlord to fix

* possible break the lease without penalty and leave

You should consult with an attorney who does landlord tenant work to explore your options and see which may be the best for you to pursue. It's important to make sure you exercise this options--like withholding rent to pay for the repair--properly, or you can find yourself in breach of lease.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As for the causal connection between your symptoms and the mold you need to see a doctor in your area.  If the doctor gives you a causal connection then seek legal counsel from an attorney in your area if the matter warrants it.  As for the landlord tenant issue, you should be able to recoup the damaged property and get a rent abatement for the condition but it appears that you are leaving and did nothing when the landord did not respond prior to now.  Ok, do you still owe rent?  I would go down to the landlord tenant court and ask to pay your rent in to court and for an abatement of the rent.  It is hard to know what else to tell you without knowing how much longer you have and if this is even worth it.  But the landlord has the obligation to correct the condition.  And you need to show you did something to help yourself. if your condition worsens. Good luck.


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