WSVN — Mold in your house or apartment, it’s a nightmare. Damaging your health, ruining your clothes and furniture. Many people who rent a place think they are powerless, but you aren’t, which is why one woman called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

If you are too young to remember the two families that moved in to create the hit show “The Brady Bunch,” don’t worry. Here is the 2015 version…

Tamika Robinson: “Me and my husband merged families. So he had two kids and I have two kids and we have a baby together.”

Tamika and her children were renting a condo when she and Richard got married. They then moved to a bigger unit in the same complex.

Tamika Robinson: “I love it. I love the city of Sunrise period. I like the complex. It is quiet.”

Everything was great with their combined family, until…

Tamika Robinson: “Until now!”

The problems started with water coming from an air conditioner and dishwasher. The maintenance guy vacuumed that up. Next came what Tamika calls a mildewy smell.

Tamika Robinson: “My clothes smelling like mildew and the kids beds smelling like mildew. I couldn’t see anything at that point.”

She complained to the landlord’s property manager. She says nothing was done and then she saw more trouble.

Tamika Robinson: “I have mold in my room, in my bedroom frame, on the wall on my baby’s bed, all over the wall in my room, in the ceiling, in the ceiling seals, on my couch. It’s everywhere and its visibly worse in my room. My refrigerator, the bathroom the headboards. Awful! It’s mold all over the shower curtain. I also have mold in my refrigerator.”

If you are like many people we hear from who have mold in their apartment, you know what can happen next.

Tamika Robinson: “I had been sick on and off for months. My kids suffer from headaches, cold all the time. The mold, the mold caused it.”

Tamika then wrote out the seven day letter that Howard suggests you write.

Howard Finkelstein: “In it, you tell the landlord what the problem is and let them know if it’s not fixed within those seven days you will consider the lease broken by the landlord. You will move out and they must return your security deposit and pay for any damage caused to your belongings.”

Tamika delivered the letter but says the landlord’s assistant ignored her. After seven days she terminated her lease, packed up her children and moved in with her family.

She says she had to leave the moldy furniture behind.

Tamika Robinson: “Right now, what I want is my security deposit back and also ask to replacement of my furniture.”

Well Howard, Tamika sent the letter and got no response. So she moved out of the mold-infested apartment. What should happen now?

Howard Finkelstein: “If they don’t return her security deposit and pay for the damaged furniture, Tamika can sue them in small claims court. Or she can hire an attorney. If it’s a clear case, some attorneys will do it without a down payment because when they win, the other side has to pay their fees anyway.”

The manager for the condo told us that Tamika had mold because she didn’t clean and didn’t run the air conditioner.

When we asked about the leaky air conditioner and dishwasher, she said they fixed it.

She added: “we offered humidifiers and to redo the walls and baseboards but she sent the seven-day letter so we didn’t do that.”

When was asked if they were going to return the security deposit and pay for her damaged furniture, she laughed at us and said “that is so funny.” She added they were not returning the deposit because the apartment was damaged when they inspected it.

Tamika Robinson: “I think its ridiculous on their part and I’m going to fight it in court.”

Tamika has hired a lawyer and taken the landlord to court and she knows what she will say to them when they get there.

Tamika Robinson: “Your un-professionalism shows it and I want to let you know that we are going to win our case and I have pictures to show everything.”

Now Howard talked about your right to terminate a lease if a problem isn’t fixed, but only for big problems not a broken light bulb or faulty shower head. Something that you can’t tolerate: a front door that won’t lock, a broken refrigerator, no hot water, mold, things like that. And when you send that seven-day letter make sure you have proof that they received it.

Dirty conditions not growing on you? Want to clean things up? Contact us. We don’t scrub mold and mildew but we can scour through the law books to help out.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser 7News.

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Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
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