She lives in an apartment that would make you shudder. Water pours in and mold forms. Even worse, her rental furniture is wet and moldy, and the company wants her to pay to replace it or does the landlord have to pay? Let’s bring in Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser for the answer.
Everyone should walk into apartment number seven at least once just to see how some people have to live.
Alretha Toombs: “A lot of mold all over the house.”
But Alretha didn’t just contact us just about the mold or the six mice she trapped the other night.
Alretha Toombs: “They come in through the hole a lot, the bathroom.”
She didn’t point out the cracks in the ceiling where water pours in.
Alretha Toombs: “That big stereo on the floor was full of water and everything.”
She’s used to the leaking water leaving brown streaks on the walls.
Patrick Fraser: “How many places does it leak in your apartment?”
Alretha Toombs: “About eight places that it leaks. It leaks in the kitchen, too. Right here, right there, right there, right there.”
Alretha says she did complain to her landlord but nothing happened. And then, one day, with water coming in, she called the City of Miami Code Enforcement, a neighbor reported her to the landlord.
Alretha Toombs: “‘Oh, you called Code violations on me?’ and then, three days later, I got an eviction letter.”
The landlord said Alretha owed him $2,100 in back rent. But that eviction is still not why she called us. It’s because, as she started packing up, she called the rental store to get their furniture.
Alretha Toombs: “They came to get the furniture, and when the two guys walk in the room. They ran down the stairs. They got washing their hand with sanitizer and all that. We don’t want that. We don’t want that furniture. No, no, no.”
The bed that Alretha rented has a pan on one side to catch the ceiling leak. Sometimes the water leaks on the side Alretha sleeps on, leaving the mattress damp and moldy and the headboard stained.
The rental table is also wet.
Alretha said the rental store wanted her to pay them $3,300 to replace the items, and that’s when Alretha finally had enough.
Alretha Toombs: “I’m just stressed out because of this apartment. It’s just disgusting. This don’t make no sense.”
She doesn’t have money to rent another apartment or pay her landlord the $2,100 he wants, but her call to us: does she owe the $3,300 for the wet moldy rental furniture or does her landlord have to pay it?
Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “Legally this is called privity of contract, and what that means is, Alretha has to pay the rental company for the ruined furniture, and the landlord has to reimburse her because he failed to maintain the apartment, but if the landlord won’t help, Alretha would have to sue, and of course she cannot afford that. It’s an example of the poor getting kicked again and again.”
Patrick Fraser. “I am Patrick Fraser. Whats your name?”
A tenant called the landlord to let him know we were there…
Ronald Malik: “We fix the roof. We couldn’t get in to fix the walls.”
Ronald Malik told us he couldn’t work in Alretha’s apartment because she wouldn’t let him, but he gave us his word about the bill for the moldy rental furniture.
Ronald Malik: “Yeah, we will take care of mold on the furniture. Whatever problems she got with the rental company, we’ll take care of that.”
Malik has now agreed to pay $500 to the rental store. He says Alretha owes him back rent so she will have to pay the rest of the cost to the furniture.
Alretha Toombs: “Upset but nothing I can do.”
Alretha isn’t going to worry about the furniture right now. Instead, she is trying to get the money to rent an apartment and has started a GoFundMe page with a simple message.
Alretha Toombs: ” Any little bit can help. Please…”
I have walked into a lot of places over the years doing Help Me Howard, but Alretha’s apartment was sadly one of a kind. She is living with her niece for a few days while she tries to find the money to rent another place.
If you can help her out, the link to her GoFundMe page is under this Help Me Howard. Thank you.
A steady drip of problems dampening your outlook? Ready to patch things up? Leak the information to us to see if we can construct a solution for you.
With this Help me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser 7News.
GoFundMe for Alretha:
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