Reply Fri 26 Jul, 2013 05:06 pm
Hi everyone,

I currently live in a really cute basement apartment. Been living here for almost 2 years. 2 weeks ago I opened up the storage room closet and noticed that the floor and everything in there was wet. I looked up, and the ceiling in there is just wood planks, and it was all wet and dripping. The next day I noticed in my living room that an area of my carpet was saturating wet, and there was a thin water line with a small water bubble on the wall in the kitchen and on the corner was water dripping very slowly. So the water didn't come from underneath the ground.. There was a leak that spread from the upstairs all across in the ceiling and walls and obviously ran down the wall which made the carpet soaked.

My landlord bought a dehumidifier and fixed the leak upstairs and everything is dried now. However, the rug was wet for a few days and dried on its' own. The rug did smell but now it doesn't smell anymore. I've been using the dehumidifier and everything is mostly dry now, but my kitchen cabinets are wood and the leak spread to them and you can see how the wood expanded and bubbled out from whatever areas got wet. Under the kitchen sink wood got wet also but now is dried up. I had green surface mold on the wood that I used bleach with and just wiped off. But the smell of it smells musty and mildewy and moldy when I open up the cabinets that got wet.

I've been cleaning with mold remover on the surface of everything that got wet, bleach, etc., but the smell is not coming out. In the bathroom, under the sink, it smells so musty in there..... I don't know if it was a slow leak or fast leak but the rug got wet within 2 days, and then a day after I saw the leak in the storage room, an area of the kitchen ceiling was leaking. The landlord isn't going to rip down any walls, because he said everything is dry now and I'm running a dehumidifier. He said he might drill holes in the wood and walls to air dry and let the dehumidifier run and then he will spackle and patch them back up. However ,when he came to check the damage yesterday he said there's no need for it because everything is dry now. But what about behind the walls and in the ceiling? Even though it was fresh water dripping from upstairs, there's no way it can dry because it's covered? All of that is probably mold right now.

Also, if I have surface mold on my wood cabinets, doesn't that mean that there's mold BEHIND it where the water was? In the storage room on the wood planks that got all wet, I see maybe a little bit of black mold maybe like the size of my pinky in like 3 spots that I sprayed but I didn't wipe it off. I'm just nervous that I'm breathing in toxic poisonous air and I'm going to get lung cancer. I don't know what to do because we don't have money to get a new place for another 2 months and I feel like this is going to kill us.
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Reply Fri 26 Jul, 2013 06:34 pm
Move !!!

You have grounds for breaking your lease. Get your deposit back and get another place.

This has probably been going on for a while, just not while you were there.

Trust your sense of smell and assume there is mold.
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Reply Fri 26 Jul, 2013 07:15 pm
If you can't move right away or would experience financial hardship via the landlord, there are a couple things you can try. Buy cheap white vinegar, dilute it a little and sponge it on all the musty, moldy areas. Keep the dehumidifier running, and even sprinkling baking soda on the dry but musty surfaces could cut down on the odor. But, please start looking for a new place and get out of there. The vinegar really helps, but don't forget to document everything that has happened and every conversation you have with your landlord. It might be necessary in case he tries to keep your security deposit and blames the mold on you. I know that sounds ludicrous, but a guy who is avoiding an expensive repair is going to hold on to every penny. He may not ever correct the problem, and simply pass the apartment along to other unsuspecting tenants. I can't stress strongly enough to document everything. Don't wait and try to reconstruct events later, that could be considered less than honest. Keep a notebook, jot down everything along with date and time of day. Don't leave the notebook out in plain sight because if your landlord comes in to make repairs, he could take the notebook with him.

Again, it might sound crazy over careful, but most folks get annoyed when they know you are keeping tabs on them, even when it's simply to protect your interests. Be careful, be smart and get into another apartment.
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