Move out of Moldy Apartment

(WSVN) - Their condo is filled with mold, created by a neighbor a floor above who has a leaky shower and doesn’t care about their black mold. What can you do if you are living with dangerous mold? Call Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

London loves being outside…

That’s good because she has asthma and being inside her condo is a big problem.

Amber Sius, living with mold: “When he takes a bath upstairs, it rains. It rains in my room.”

London lives with her mother and grandfather in their condo riddled with black mold.

Jules Sius, living with mold: “The house is packed with mold. Everything is destroyed.”

The reason? The condo a floor above them had a busted shower pipe.

Jemiah Sius, wants mold removed: “Every time they turn the shower on, it leaks down into the house.”

For four months, the shower leaked water into the Sius’ condo. Their neighbor wouldn’t repair it.

Jemiah Sius: “He was like, ‘I am in foreclosure, I don’t care.'”

As the mold spots grew, as the wet ceiling started to collapse, as Jules found mold on his clothes…

Jules Sius: “Those clothes cost me money.”

The association said they couldn’t force the condo owner to repair his leak. The bank said they couldn’t do anything because they had not officially foreclosed on the condo yet.

Jemiah Sius: “The only responses we have been getting is disinterest.”

And it wouldn’t do any good for the Suis’ to try to get rid of the mold in their condo either.

Jemiah Sius: “As soon as we repair it, the guy will take a shower and it will happen again.”

Finally, the bank foreclosed and evicted their neighbor, but the damage was done.

Jemiah Sius: “From what we can see, it looks really bad and I know with mold is worse inside of the wall.”

Jules doesn’t have insurance to pay to repair the condo, and doesn’t think he should have to pay anyway.

Jemiah Sius: “Someone needs to come in and repair it. I don’t care if it’s the homeowner, association or the bank. Whoever it is, someone is definitely responsible, and it’s not my dad.”

Well Howard, this is the moldy mess. Who has to pay to repair it?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “Once the owner of the condo became aware of their leaky shower, they are responsible for any damage to any other properties. Of course, since they are in foreclosure, the chance of collecting from them is slim. The bank that foreclosed is not responsible since the damage occurred before they took possession of the property. But odds are, the bank took out insurance to protect their collateral and that is who could have to pay for the repairs.”

I started working on this in March. The bank referred me to their property preservation company… Things moved slowly.

The mold got so bad that the Sius’ had to move out and live with friends.

Then this summer, an adjuster and the Sius’ finally agreed on a settlement. A check for $44,000 was sent to remove the mold and replace the walls and ceilings.

That work is finally nearing an end.

Howard Finkelstein: “The Sius’ own their condo. If you rent and have mold or any other major problem, it’s different. In that case, send the landlord a letter giving them seven days to correct the problem. If they don’t, you can break the lease and move out.”

Amber Sius, ready to move back in: “It’s gonna be beautiful, but that’s after seven months of being displaced.”

London can soon move back home, and Amber can let her be inside without worrying about her daughter’s health.

If you don’t have a mortgage, many people like the Sius don’t pay for homeowner’s insurance, but this is a reminder. It can save a long battle as you try to get someone else to pay for the repairs.

Howard also mentioned renter can send their landlord a letter giving them seven days to correct a major problem, and if they don’t, the renter can move out or, in some cases, withhold the rent.

If you want to know how to write that letter, check out the links below.

Showered with problems leaving you soaked? Ready to remove the mess from your life? Call us before things cave in on you and hopefully we can mold a solution for you.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Seven Day Letter to Terminate Lease
https://www.floridabar.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/form-3.pdf

Seven Day Letter to Withhold Rent
https://www.floridabar.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/form-4.pdf

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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