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Tuesday, March 23, 2004

I'm So Damned Mad...

Okay, I don't know if you all remember a time back in October or so when my apartment flooded twice in less than a month?

Well, yeah.

If you don't, here's what happened:

We live in a sub-level apartment. The ground is level with the bottom of our windows. There is apparently a drain pan around the bottom of the building, underground, to siphon off rainwater and such to keep the building from flooding.

Well, the drain pain underneath our windows apparently got clogged, thus allowing all sorts of water to soak through the concrete and flood our living room. We had a standing puddle of water in here. Our couch was soaked. It was nasty.

We complained. They came 'round to look at it and asked me if I had left the windows open to cause this. Uhm, no. They said it would be cleaned up. We moved the couch away from the wall there, and a nice little mold farm was growing. Slimy, black mold.

They dug up the ground outside the window and 'fixed' it. Three days later, it rained and flooded again. When I went over to complain again, they said, 'Oh, we'll look into it.'

I heard nothing for a couple days, then looked out the window one morning to see someone planting a bush over top the spot where they dug. I opened the window and said, 'Excuse me. Why are you doing that? They're supposed to dig that up again.'

He said he was just doing what he was told.

I went back over to the office to ask what was going on. I was told it was normal for it to have flooded again, since the dirt needed to settle. I said that wasn't so good since my carpet was soaked again and so was my couch, and I wanted it fixed.

They came in and steam cleaned the apartment. The guy didn't do a good enough job, so they had someone else come in and steam clean it. The baseboard was rotten and moldy, so the maintenance man came in to fix it. He yanked it off the wall, and I could see all sorts of fun mold and nasty growing in there. I said, 'Aren't you going to clean that out?'

'No, it'll be fine.'

So instead of cleaning it, he just tacked a new baseboard on top of the spot where the old one was and called it done.

Nothing was done about my couch.

So anyway, my kids start getting rashes and I can't figure out where they're coming from. We're all having crazy sinus problems. Eye irritation. Stuff like that. What's causing this? I couldn't figure it out. I mean, my kids are COVERED in this rash. I start thinking about how my apartment flooded and got very moldy, and go online to do some research. I find out that black mold is very harmful. Black mold can cause rashes like my kids have. And sinus problems. And eye irritation. And other fun things like CANCER.

This displeases me. I go and look up Michigan Housing Laws.

By law, my landlord should have completely replaced the carpet, ripped the wall apart and cleaned it properly, and replaced my couch. Under the law, anything porous that was wet for more than 24 hours needs to be replaced. This includes my couch, of course.

I look at my lease. It tells me that while the owner is not responsible for my property, he IS liable to replace it if it's damaged through his negligence or ommission. I'd count the second time my apartment flooded after the problem was supposedly fixed as 'negligent.'

We decide to get something done about this. My kids are sick. We're all sick. The apartment smells funny a lot of the time. The couch is ruined: rusted, molded, stained. All I want is to have my couch replaced, and the apartment taken care of properly. And some compensation for the pains I've had to go through to get this done. I don't think that's too much to ask, considering that I'm living in what the law terms a fucking BIOHAZARD.

We call Spawnie's legal advice hotline thing he gets through his work. They set us up with a phone consultation with a lawyer, just to be safe. I went and talked to the landlord before the lawyer called, to see if Mr Landlord would like to settle this in an amicable fashion.

He was patronising and condescending. He said he'd never heard of anybody ever getting sick from mold (which is odd since I've got peer reviewed medical journal articles full of things about Sick Building Syndrome and the effects of black mold on infants and small children, not to mention adults.) He says he wants to keep me happy, though, so he'll move us up to a 2 bedroom and waive the extra security deposit. He'll also give us a month off our rent.

That's 750 dollars. That's not enough to replace the couch I have, which is a very large sectional ( a NICE one before this shit happened) from Art Van, with a sofa bed in the one section. These things are running about 1600 dollars right now, for a cheap one. The one I have is a NICE one. 750 dollars is not good enough.

Or, he says, he'll let us break our lease now and move out, no hard feelings, because unless we renew the lease now for the two bedroom, he's going to sell it to someone else come time for the students to return from summer break. I smiled and said I would talk to Spawnie about it and get back to him.

Later, Spawnie speaks with the lawyer, and the lawyer tells us we're probably going to have to sue, and gives us the name of a local lawyer that can do this for us.



Hah. I don't really want to sue this guy, but considering the stuff I've been reading, there can be very long term health effects from prolonged exposure to black mold, and my kids are covered in nasty rashes from being on that couch. I can't have that anymore.

I don't think it's too much to ask to have this guy give us the new apartment and the cost of the new couch, plus a month off rent to make up for all the doctor's visits we've had to make, the skin creams, and the general mental anguish (I love that term), and on and on and on. Considering I've been reading about lawsuits against landlords for this same thing that have resulted in the plaintiffs winning like millions of dollars, I think he'd be better off just buying me the new damned couch.

So that's my interesting day. I'll keep you all posted on what happens next...

link | posted by Zombie at 8:39 PM |


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