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Mold causes tenant to take landlord to court   PDF  Print  E-mail 
Posted by Susan Lillard  
Saturday, 26 April 2008

Kentwood, MI - In one place or another, he says he's had to deal with mold for three years in the Kentwood duplex he rents. 

Now naturally Ward Brandel wants something done about it.

Mold has crept up the walls of his bedroom and grown along the baseboard of the unit next door. Brandel and his neighbor are taking their landlord to court Friday.

The case involves Steve Thompson at Accurate Mold and Remediation, who evaluated the duplex, told 24 Hour News 8 could set a precedent in deciding who is responsible for taking care of mold in an apartment.

For his part, Brandel said he and his neighbor have had little help from the landlord.

"Two years ago, we finally got them to actually come over here. And what they did is...gave us a gallon of mold cleaner," Brandel said.

Thompson, of Accurate Mold, and Tom Krueger, of Summit Laboratories, say they're out in West Michigan daily dealing with mold cases. Thompson said given the snow buildup this winter, water was retained in roofs around the region.

But he said Brandel's case was different - the mold was coming through the roof but also through the windows, which Thompson said weren't properly sealed.

The mold is especially troublesome for Brandel because of his medical history. He wants a temporary apartment while a professional crew is brought in to clean up the mold problem.

Brandel's landlord didn't want to comment on the case, saying he believes his tenants are lying. He said the landlord issued an eviction notice once he decided to bring the case to court.

Court documents show the landlord put in a UV light to try and kill the mold and wanted to tear up the carpet. He hired ServiceMaster to evaluate the home. The company didn't find moisture but Thompson said that is because it wasn't using equipment sophisticated enough to find it.

Plus, the records show the landlord believed the mold was caused by the use of space heat instead of the furnace.

"So we turned the gas-forced air furnace on 70 [degrees], left it on," Brandel said. "He (the landlord) also brought in an electric dehumidifier. We ran it on high for two months, now we got this report. After all this, the conditions are the same."

Thompson said forced-air heat is actually more likely to generate mold than a space heater. Also, that report Brandel refers to is a second review, one done by Summit Engineering, that reached the same conclusion as Accurate Mold's report.

It is evidence Brandel hopes will give him a win in court.  Mold expsoure can cause permanent neurological, psychological, pathological, and immonological damage; depending on the species.

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