More Than 100 Tenants Evicted Due to Mold

Nearly 100 tenants of an apartment complex in Lexington, Ky., are being evicted by a new owner who says many of the units are unsafe because of mold and plumbing problems.

The Sonnet Cove Apartments, which had fallen into foreclosure unbeknown to many residents, were purchased March 29 by Lakeshore Apartments Associates, LLC, which had plans to upgrade the rental units, however, in a statement its management said, "Unfortunately, due to the scope of the work, repairs cannot be performed while the units are occupied."

Back in July 2005 a resident with the user name kymom302003 notes how far back the problem dates. On she wrote: "We have lived in these apartments since 2004 and I will tell you this: It stinks here, literally. I have asthma and the mold here is absolutely horrid. Maintenance sucks!!! I hate this place I really do I don't even want to come home after work." Needless to say, her recommended rating to potential renters was, "No."

On, a poster going by the name AK wrote in 2008, "This is absolutely the worst place to live in Lexington!!! We are also stuck in a thirteen-month lease in this trashy hell. There is 5 inches of black mold that is growing inside of my air vents. Every time that the heat turns on me and my child are being intoxicated with the spores that are blowing thru our air."

AK also mentioned, "There is about 10 billion German cockroaches running thru this building that I live in. They refused to spray until I tried to get out of my lease."

The new management says the current tenants have to be out by the end of the month and it is working with other Search Apartments and Homes for Rent See photos of apartments and homes for rent in your area on AOL Real Estate complexes to help the tenants get a discount, but for their current place, management says, "In an effort to offset some of the inconvenience to the tenants, their final month's rent has been waived." And, of course, if they ever want to come back, at presumably a higher rent for a remodeled unit, "Both the new owner and its new management are excited about the opportunity to offer Lexington an attractive, refurbished apartment community for rental in the near future," it said in a statement made available to WKYT News. (See WKYT video below.)

Similarly, renters in Fresno, Calif., facing foreclosure noticed "black stuff" growing in their units. They thought it might be toxic black mold, but test results in one apartment show it is a black fungus known as aspergillus, which is potentially toxic. A painter at the complex told a local ABC reporter that he's under orders to just paint over the black fungus. (See ABC video below).

Know the difference between mold and mildew, as we previously reported in "Mold + Mildew." Mold tends to grow in dark, damp areas, such as in rooms with both high water usage and humidity, such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements (try using an exhaust fan to help limit moisture build-up.) To learn more, read our article, "Mold: Where It Can Hide In Your House."

What can you do if you notice mold or a black fungus growing in your residence?

Inform your landlord.

If you're a tenant you can report the mold to your management company, but note not all mold problems will be the landlord's fault. The liability depends on the reason for the mold's growth. If the mold results from the landlord's failure to maintain the property, such as by not preparing a leaky roof or pipes, then the landlord is legally liable. However, if the cause of the mold is due to actions like creating high humidity, or failing to clean the unit properly, then the tenant is liable. For more, read our article, "Dealing with Mold in a Rental Apartment."

Stop leaks and clean.

Before you attempt to fix the mold problem, you need to determine the source of the problem so that you can fix it and not have the issue returned. For example, stop any water leaks by repairing leaky roofs and plumbing fixtures. And clean up regularly.

Cover yourself.

Protect yourself by using goggles, gloves, and breathing protection so that you don't inhale any of the spores.

Protect your possessions.

Cover heat registers or air ducts or ventilation systems. Cover all your furnishings in the vicinity. Open a window before you start clean up.

Bag all moldy materials, you use for cleaning, or any clothing items that may have mold -- although some items you can just wash. Trash what you don't need to keep.

Scrub hard surfaces.

Using a mild detergent solution mixed with warm water, wash away what you can. Then use a solution of ¼ cup bleach to one quart of water and wash again. Repeat two more times. Lastly, you can apply a borate-based detergent solution and do not rinse.

Hire a professional.

If the growth covers a significant area (such as beyond a corner in your shower) bring in an expert. For where to turn for professional mold help, read our earlier piece on "How to Keep Toxic Mold Out of Your House."

Sheree R. Curry
, who has owned three homes and never had a mold problem, is a three-time award-winning journalist who has covered real estate for six years. During her 20-year career, her articles have appeared regularly in the
Wall Street Journal, TV Week, and Fortune. She's been writing for AOL Real Estate since 2009 from a Minneapolis-area rental. She seeks a book publisher -- or at least a lender who'll give a reasonable mortgage rate to a self-employed mom.

Want to know how to deal with other rental issues? Here are some AOL Real Estate guides that can help:

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jay love

if you think this is a bad situation well I one time actually bought a four-plex, I lived in one unit and rented the other three out. I closed in winter so no evidence at the time of water, but come late spring/summer every year and the water table was very high under that house, when it rained water would rise and it was like living on top of a lake!! being a raised foundation house the water was still not inside the actual units, but there was mold damage and the smell of mold, I got very ill there and ended up selling and leaving at a loss within a year!!

April 21 2011 at 4:14 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I lived in an apartment fot two weeks in copley, ohio.. The laundry room was covered: walls, ceiling, floors with black mold. The landlord was told to remediate the apt, by the health dept. but all his workers did was spray paint over it with white spray paint. I got sick and took my mold specialists warnings & moved out in less than two weeks. My mistake...I didn't look behind the laundry room door. Make sure before you sign that you check every inch of the apartment...twice!

April 20 2011 at 8:37 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

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April 20 2011 at 8:29 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Always read b4 u sign anything! (read it very carefully 2) Don't be in a rush 'cause it looks good, check the outside also, & last but not least, have an open discussion on what YOU expect for your hardearned monies!!!

April 20 2011 at 6:49 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

SLUMLORD is right! How dare this guy put the lives of families at risk like that??? He oughta get some time for not disclosing this info!

April 20 2011 at 5:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to fantasy's comment

Can you understand what you read? If so you should have figured out that the place was foreclosed and the present owner is a new one and he is doing what he can to clean up the place.

April 20 2011 at 6:16 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

I rented a house in Phoenix, AZ for 28 m onths and it had terrible mold! The plumbing leaked inside the walls and the landlord didn't care! The baseboards were turning black from mold and a wooden dresser of mine was ruined because it was soaking up water from the leaks in the walls. It wasn't until it became so saturated that it couldn't hold anymore water that we found out it was leaking there and began leaking water into the carpeting. I woke one morning to wet carpet and it took TWO DAYS for the landlord to send someone out to dry the carpet. Her solution to fix the leak was to remove one of our toilets, which was leaking into the wall, but she left the flange open and feces, etc. began leaking everywhere and she sent someone back to close the flange and mop, but never did replace the toilet or fix the leak inside the wall, so we moved. She didn't fix the plumbing, just painted the walls and put in new carpeting. A new family moved in but only stayed 2 1/2 months because of the leaks. A family of illegal immigrants lives there now and they have told everyone that the mold is coming back, they keep scrubbing the walls but it comes back and that there are holes in the floor under the carpet, etc. I know I complainted to every government agency I could while I was living there but Arizona does not offer any protection to renters from mold and landlords that refuse to clean it. The house also had really terrible cockroaches attracted by the mold. We bug-bombed every month and I've heard the illegals have to as well.

April 20 2011 at 5:22 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Renting vs owning. Sometimes it is cheap other times you are thrown out!

April 20 2011 at 4:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A hard experience, but better safe here than sorry. The long term effects of lung damage due to mold and fungi are terrible. Will these people get the right to move back or will the rents be too high?

April 20 2011 at 3:41 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Ok first of all that mold could have killed people and they obviously knew it was there. Second of all who in the hell would want to rent from them again and it also made people sick so I think they should rebuild and keep their prices the same for the people who they intentionally made sick. These people only cared about their own pocketbooks the health of their tennants wasn't even of concern to them. Oh and how nice of them to waive the last months rent @@. Unreal!

April 20 2011 at 3:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

If you think this place was bad. You should see the stuff they rent out in Southern New Jersey. Landlords in South Jersey should be ashamed. Actually, The Governor should be ashamed.

April 20 2011 at 2:37 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply