Understanding Houston renters' rights when mold grows in their apartments
HOUSTON - We often hear from viewers who say they have mold growing in their apartments and they can't get it fixed. But it's a health hazard, and renters have rights.
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One resident, Christina Lee, took us into her apartment, saying she has had several leaks in her ceiling and walls and the mold has been growing since last fall, in her apartment at The Graham Apartments at 250 Uvalde Road in Houston.
"It's more of a safety hazard," she said. "It's more of a health hazard. My kids, they run around here. They can't take baths."
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Lee says she's experienced coughing and congestion, and worries about her family.
She says she sent the apartment management a letter by certified mail this week, after reporting the problems multiple times since last Fall. She says a repairman came to work on it a while back.
"Before it collapsed, he poked a hole in it and said he was done. And I was like, that's it? You're not going to request any type of service or any type of plumbing for this apartment?" she told us.
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Michael Rubino, a mold expert and author of The Mold Medic, says breathing in mold can cause serious health problems.
"Shortness of breath, respiratory tract issues, congestion, runny nose, like the onset of a cold that never goes away," said Rubino.
He says when there are leaks, mold can grow inside a wall.
"Most of the problem with mold is it is hidden and out of sight, out of mind," Rubino explained. "For instance, you can have a window leaking, it could be leaking behind the wall."
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Lee says she just wants a safe home for her family.
"We need to be relocated," she said. "We need to be properly put somewhere else."
We called The Graham Apartments, a manager said she'd call the Lee's, and call us back. However, as of this writing, we haven't heard back.
Attorneys say renters with mold should notify management in writing twice, about a week apart. If the problem is not being fixed after a reasonable period, renters can terminate the lease, repair it themselves, or sue the landlord to fix it.