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  1. #1
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    Jun 2016
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    Default Laundry Room Mold

    Hi - I'm not an inspector and -- therefore -- understand if no one responds to this question, but in all honesty, this may be one of the most informative forums I've ever found online, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

    I moved to California four years ago and got what I thought was an incredible deal on a rental house in the Hollywood Hills. The monthy rent is hardly "cheap" but pretty much any other house in this location with the views I have would probably end up paying almost double what I pay in rent. So, I tend to understand that the appliances, for example, are several decades old and that the heating vents in my bedroom were walled off vs. properly fixed. In fact, peal back any layer of this house and you realize it's been fixed as cheaply as possible for several decades. (termiite damage, cheap wood, rusty nails sticking out of board used as splints, etc. etc. (I think it's been a rental for nearly 40 years.)

    Anyway, two years ago I inexplicably started to struggle with work, it got worse and worse until I ultimately could no longer work, let alone get out of bed. (In fact, my credit is so terrible right now that I couldn't move if I wanted to.) I now know I was suffering from mold poisoning. The 30+ year old washing machine had been leaking into the subfloor.

    My landlord initially told me that the laundry room floor was cement, but when I moved the washer and discovered that the peel and stick tiles were no longer stuck, I learned that the floor was plywood. It was also completely black with with mold. (The laundry room is about 5 feet from where I sleep, and clearly caused my symptoms, which largely disappeared after the mold was cleaned up.) In an effort to get along with my landlords, I assured that that I had no intention to sue them, that I just wanted the mold cleaned up and that I needed a little extra time to come up with the rent this month as I'm literally trying to find work from scratch.

    The landlord brought in his usual contractor, who had his guy cut out and replace the worst parts of the floor. I repeatedly asked if we should do something to water proof the plywood before applying more peal and stick tiles. They ignored my suggestion, so I planned to seal the floor myself, except they applied new tiles before I had a chance. And to give you a sense of the quality work this guy does, less than two days later, the tiles started to peal off as -- I discovered -- they'd been applied over wet, still moldy wood.. Because I'm a nice person, I didn't complain. Instead I removed the loose tiles cleaned the wood with germicidal bleach and am letting them dry before I reapply them.

    My landlord said, that the peal and stick tiles are "water tight" enough and that mold won't be a problem as long as the washing machine doesn't leak. But I'm not sure that's the case. Can't high humidity in a confined space (like a small laundry room) also lead to mold/mildew issues? The room has no drain or proper ventilation to speak of. In fact that dryer house is basically just jammed into the wall, which I think leads under the house, but I don't, honestly, know.

    I ask these questions as my landlord has turned into a massive jerk. He raised my rent because of all the money he had to spend fixing this issue and when I reminded him that I needed a little extra time this month to pay, he sent me a scathing email, accusing me of breaking the washing machine and intentionally not telling him about the leak. I find this more than a little infuriating because (1) I thought I was being incredibly helpful/understanding by not demanding professional mold inspection/remdiation, let alone not calling a lawyer, etc. and (2) I feel like I lost a year of my life and am massively in debt in part because he was too cheap to take the proper steps to prevent mold from growing.

    Anyway, aside from the fact that the washing machine was ancient and it wasn't at all suprising that the inner plastic tub started leaking at the seams ( did not break the thing), I'm wondering if there are building codes that my landlord should have followed that may have prevented the mold situation. The laundry room is on the lower level of a two story house that hands off a cliff. It's a small room (5'x8') that also houses the water heater and gas heater/air ducts. The floor, as I said, is plywood with vinyl peal and stick tiles. There is no drain or ventilation in the room and when the Sears guy came to install the new washer and dryer, her marveled at the pipe that had been creatively attached to the back of the dryer.

    So you know, I'm not looking for an excuse to sue, but I tend to believe that knowledge is power and I right now I need a little power. Thanks for reading and for whatever help/advice you can impart.

    Similar Threads:
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    928

    Default Re: Laundry Room Mold

    My advise is to become a professional screen writer.

    Chicagopropertyinspection.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Caledon, Ontario
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    Default Re: Laundry Room Mold

    Contrary to the simplistic non advice from the above poster... 'become a screen writer' ... At the links below you will find information necessary to assist you in your issues, then again may be not.

    See the list on the right -
    Indoor Mould Issues
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
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    2,397

    Default Re: Laundry Room Mold

    You may want to hire a home inspector to come out and document the conditions you have, and possibly find the source of the problem (and find the termination of the dryer vent).


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Orlando, FL
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    1,310

    Default Re: Laundry Room Mold

    In addition to hiring a home inspector, hire a mold assessor and then submit those findings to your landlord for correction.

    You'll likely spend lots of time & money to find out nothing meaningful will be done by the owner/property management/landlord, based upon the methods you described above to "repair" the water damaged sub-floor.

    You can start researching real estate attorneys in the event you need one ("Because I'm a nice person, I didn't complain...." didn't work out well, so far.) Trying to come up to speed on building codes isn't going to help you out; tenant/landlord relationships are frequently tumultuous.

    And also start looking for a new home; whether or not the rent goes up, or the landlord agrees with your overall assessment, your health and safety are certainly more important than this rental house.

    Dom.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    MONTREAL QUEBEC-CANADA
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    Default Re: Laundry Room Mold

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    At the links below you will find information necessary to assist you in your issues, then again maybe not.
    Indoor Mould Issues
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home
    Ray, much thanks. Good information.

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
    Our Motto; Putting information where you need it most, "In your hands.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    No. San Diego Co., CA
    Posts
    561

    Default Re: Laundry Room Mold

    Housing Rights Center : Legal Resources

    Start at the above link. They will provide you with all the resources and referrals you need. It's a free service.
    OTH, no-one is forcing you to live there. You and the owner/ landlord are both in violation of the terms of your contract. The landlord has a greater responsibility to provide a healthy living environment and meet legally specified conditions. You, however, are only required to pay rent and can walk away at any time. Unfortunately, a history of non-rent payment is not beneficial on any future rental application.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,659

    Default Re: Laundry Room Mold

    This may be a bit better to start with.

    New rental housing-related laws for 2016 - The California Apartment ...


    https://caanet.org/new-rental-housin...laws-for-2016/


    The story sounds like someone who walked into quick sand and rather not do anything because they like the view so much that they will overlook most everything.

    In retrospect you could have paid for the repairs to the laundry and been better off and still keep the low cost views at relatively half the cost of other housing.

    Low rent in a high rent area means that you are giving to get. Old appliance etc. are a trade off. Again you could have installed new appliances and been better off at a small cost.

    Mold can be a problem if you let it become one. Your assertion that : "
    I now know I was suffering from mold poisoning." is a little perplexing as to you remaining in the property. It is the tenants responsibility to notify the Landlord of problems in a timely manor. Then it becomes the landlord's responsibility to make corrections in a timely manor.

    Having experience with Landlord Tenant relations I do find it a little interesting that your motivation to seek advice is after you started having problems in paying the rent on time and you motivation is in regards to building a case not to pay rent. Maybe a bit callus but that is what experience has taught me.

    "I ask these questions as my landlord has turned into a massive jerk. He raised my rent because of all the money he had to spend fixing this issue and when I reminded him that I needed a little extra time this month to pay, he sent me a scathing email, accusing me of breaking the washing machine and intentionally not telling him about the leak"

    Making repairs costs money, rising property taxes cost money, water-sewer cost money and so on; people think Landlords are making money hand over fist when they do good to see a 5% to 10% return in their investment with potentially a high risk factor involved.

    Jennifer , you may have cause against the landlord and if so avail yourself to remedies. You have the option to move. But sitting in a lawn chair located in quicksand admiring the view is not the best course of action..

    P.S. - I am sure the state of California has many programs available for people with income/rent issues, Section 8 is only one of many types of assistance. Suggest taking a look.


  9. #9
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    Oct 2010
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    Default Re: Laundry Room Mold

    Garry, having assisted landlords and tenants, I do not think I could have added much to your astute analyses of the situation.
    I like the chair, enjoying the view, and quicksand analogy.

    But if you stop to think about it realistically, I am certain by the poster not moving fast didn't slow the process down.
    Surely makes you wonder why complainers complain.

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
    Our Motto; Putting information where you need it most, "In your hands.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    CA
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    Default Re: Laundry Room Mold

    OK. When I say I was suffering from mold poisoning, I mean I basically lost an entire year of my life, along with my career, my credit and the entirety of my bank account. When I moved to Los Angeles, I was a high functioning executive making a very comfortable six figure salary. I ultimately decided to transition into part-time consulting so I could focus on - yes - my screenwriting career. I found a manager and agent and was starting to make real progress when things started to go south.

    Over the course of a year and a half I lost most of my cognitive ability. I had no short term memory. I couldn't write or exercise critical thinking skills. I kept getting sick and ultimately struggled to get out of bed. I lost all of my clients, my agent, my savings and my credit. (My student loans are currently in default and I'm probably going to have to sell my car to pay rent this month.)

    I'm not staying in this house because I like the view. I'm staying because I literally can't afford to move and given the current state of my credit, I highly doubt I could convince a landlord to take a chance on me.

    My health, however, is VASTLY improved. The day after the laundry room floor was replaced, it was like someone flipped a switch in my brain. And thanks to some doctor prescribed supplements, I feel stronger and stronger every day. I'm starting to get work again....the problem is, I'm essentially starting from zero. While I'm landing project work, clients don't like to pay me until the work is done and even then it can take a couple weeks for me to get paid. I explained this to my landlord, who is very aware of how sick the mold made me, and asked simply for a couple of weeks leeway to get him the rent I owed as I worked to get caught up.

    Anyway, I didn't post here because I was looking for grounds to sue my landlord or get out of paying rent. I take responsibility for the situation and am doing my best to get back on track. That said, though, his scathing response to my request for an extra week to pay rent infuriated me, because I believe I am -- at least in part -- in this situation BECAUSE OF HIM.

    When I say my rent is lower than other houses in my hood, I do not mean that my rent is cheap. I pay $3,500/month to be here. My landlord does not have a mortgage on the property, I pay all utilities, so apart from taxes and insurance that is 100% profit to him. And yet, it is clear that he has kept this house together as cheaply as possible. My bedroom, for example, is ice cold during the winter and when I checked the heating vent to figure out why no heat was coming through, I discovered it had been walled off from the inside. When I went to fix a loose board on the deck, I discovered decades' old termite damage that had never been resealed.

    Anyway, when I was in college, I spent a summer working with my step father, who was a contractor in Ohio. And I remember the lengths we'd go to to water proof a bathroom, for example. At the time we used greenboard, although I now believe the correct standard is cement board. Whatever. I'm not not an expert, but given that experience I know when you can expect a lot of moisture in a confined space, you need to properly vent the area and seal organic surfaces to prevent mold from growing. Aside from the fact that the washing machine that had been in there was nearly 3 decades old, my laundry room is tiny. There is no ventilation to speak of and, again, the floor is just a sheet of plywood. So, I can't help but wonder/think that my landlord's propensity to cut corners contributed to my getting sick. I'm also a bit incredulous at his response given that California was the first state to pass a law allowing tenants to recoup damages suffered because of mold poisoning from their landlords.

    Anyway, again, I wasn't looking for an excuse to sue my landlord or even to get out of paying rent. I was just angry and getting angrier as I wondered if this could have been prevented if that laundry room at been built properly. Does that make sense?


  11. #11

    Default Re: Laundry Room Mold

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Contrary to the simplistic non advice from the above poster... 'become a screen writer' ... At the links below you will find information necessary to assist you in your issues, then again may be not.

    See the list on the right -
    Indoor Mould Issues
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home
    Good info.

    Robin Wells
    Wells Home Inspection Services
    844-663-6600

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
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    5,005

    Default Re: Laundry Room Mold

    The only way you will know if you have allergies to mould is to be tested by a doctor.

    Other causes can mimic what you think maybe allergies to mould. Those causes can be off gassing of a myriad of man made chemicals, such as soaps, cosmetics, paints, dry cleaning, cleaning products and so forth, and/or pets, plants, or possibly underlying other medical causes. Not everyone experiences reactions to mould while others may. Its hard to diagnose and one must endeavour to do further detective work.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    No. San Diego Co., CA
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    561

    Default Re: Laundry Room Mold

    "...building the laundry room properly..." Is not a diagnosis for mold or mold prevention. Including a food source, mold requires moisture and inadequate ventilation to thrive. Both aspects of which may be totally within your control and responsibility.

    A poorly constructed laundry room, in and of itself does not necessarily lead to mold. You can not hold the landlord responsible for something which you have control over. Mold doesn't just spring up overnight. In some cases it may take weeks or months, even years to develop to a degree where health is compromised in some people. You may be more susceptible than others but from what you have described, mold growth and dilapidated conditions have existed for some time and largely ignored for financial reasons.

    If the landlord was unresponsive to your early concerns he has accountability. But if conditions were exacerbated by your actions, or in-actions then you have to accept responsibility.

    Last edited by Ian Page; 07-22-2016 at 03:11 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Vancouver,BC
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    3

    Default Re: Laundry Room Mold

    You could just refer the link above or try to get professional help.


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