This user’s place was infested with mold—enough for his allergies to act up and his cat to get sick. So, when his landlord ignored him, he ensured he’d learn his lesson!
OP (Original Poster) started his story by mentioning that it took place back when he was in college. The school was situated in a rather large city, so the area’s average rent wasn’t very cheap, and landlords “thought they could cut corners.”
A Wooden House
Unlike the other buildings in the area, the room OP rented was within a wooden house.
OP wrote, “When I toured the house, nothing stood out as unusual—the room was small but cozy, there were rather large common rooms, and the roommates seemed nice, one of whom was the landlord’s daughter. Another plus was that they were okay with me bringing my cat and not putting down an obnoxious deposit.”
Everything went fine until two weeks after he moved in, and his allergies started acting up. Initially, though, OP thought it was because of “allergy season being in full swing.”
Even so, he noted that his allergies wouldn’t usually act up.
A month later, nothing seemed to get better, only worse.
He wrote, “My allergies are worse, and I start to notice small things around the house that seem to just be MacGyvered. For example, the sink piping is duct taped, and the bathtub had a crack, which seemed to be glued together.”
A Sick Cat
Two weeks after this, OP’s allergies worsened again, and his cat started acting “really weird.”
He said the cat would run into things, act confused, and have what looked to be muscle twitching.
The Vet’s Diagnosis
OP took his cat to the vet because he was worried about how she was acting. True enough, there was something seriously wrong.
He wrote, “I was told they believe she’s ingested a large amount of mold. Dr. Google confirmed that this is a possibility, given her symptoms, and fully explained how I’ve been feeling. I end up asking my friend to watch my cat for a couple of days while I look for the source of mold in the house.”
OP first looked at the “weird handy jobs” performed in the bathroom. He removed the little piece of wood that covered the area between the bathtub and the ground, only to find it covered in “fuzzy black growth!”
He said, “I immediately replaced the wood, which had growth on the back side of it, too, and checked under the sink. It looked like there was old water damage on the bottom of the cabinet, but no mold—that is, until I shone a light into a small hole cut out in the back of the cabinet.”
The entire area OP could see was covered in black fuzz. He said he didn’t know if it was only psychological, but his eyes started getting watery.
He also started “sneezing a bunch” while hunting for mold.
Sharing What He Found
OP showed his roommate, his landlord’s daughter, about it, and she called her dad about the mold. However, the landlord just said it was “nothing serious” and that he’d get to it when he had the time.
Unfortunately, his landlord still hadn’t done anything about it one week later. He called him for an update because he wanted to bring his cat back.
Is That the Truth?
OP’s landlord told him he had consulted a professional about it, and the person said what OP found “didn’t sound like mold” and he should just keep it covered.
He wrote, “I was p*****, but this being my first rental, I had no idea how to handle it. And as nice as the landlord’s kid was, she really didn’t try to help persuade him.”
It’s Your Responsibility!
After some research, OP discovered that mold was a hazard in his area, and landlords were required to handle it.
OP shared, “While this wasn’t stated in my contract, it was a contractual obligation he had. I called the landlord with this information and told him that I’ll be withholding my rent until he sends someone to look at the issue. He flat-out laughed and said I couldn’t do that and that he wouldn’t allow me to break my lease early.”
Reporting Him to the Authorities
OP was both “p*****” and nervous about bringing his cat back to the house. He reviewed some more local codes and decided that instead of withholding rent, he’d report the issue to the municipality, hoping they’d act on it.
He said, “Within 72 hours, they sent an inspector out to not only check the areas I mentioned finding mold in but also do a full inspection of the home. They spent at least two hours walking around the interior and exterior, looking under every appliance and into any accessible space.”
The inspection showed that the mold damage was “far more extensive” than OP initially thought. The whole house had become infested due to moist conditions and poor ventilation.
The inspector also told OP that it would require “extensive work” and he would not be able to stay in his room throughout the process. OP wrote, “But that’s not all—the inspector also found over a dozen code and permit violations, each of which would have to be remedied or else a huge fine would be levied.”
After this, the inspector sent OP’s landlord a letter detailing his findings. Soon after, OP received an angry call from him, with the landlord screaming about how OP “shouldn’t have gotten them involved,” as he was already planning on working on the issue that weekend.
OP “was too timid” to boast about his win to the landlord. However, he did say that he would be moving out as he was legally allowed to break the lease if the conditions were unlivable.
Moving on With His Life
At first, OP’s landlord told him he wasn’t allowed to do that. However, OP fired back and said he could meet him in court if it were the case.
Things started to fall into the right place for OP. He wrote, “I moved all my stuff out that day with some help from friends and crashed with the friend watching my cat during this ordeal. I was able to get a room in a much nicer house rather quickly and kept in contact with one of the other roommates from the previous home.”
It turns out that his landlord ignored the inspector’s letter and had his old room rented out. There was also a part in the inspector’s letter that stated he had one month to take care of all his code and permit violations before he would be fined daily per violation—some of which amounted to $1,000 a day.
OP shared, “Things got real for him after about five weeks when he got multiple letters from the municipality detailing all of his fines and how the rates would go up if he continued to ignore them. Last I heard, he scrambled to respond to correct all of the violations, but not before his fines amounted to $50,000, and he was forced to have all tenants move out. I noticed the house for sale a few months later.”
What the Community Has to Say
Redditors noted that it was a sad fact that there were many “bad landlords.” A top commenter shared, “It’s such a shame that there are so many bad landlords that do crap like this. They would rather affect their tenants’ health than spend any money on fixing an issue like this. I salute your revenge. Well played. Glad you looked after your cat’s health.”
At the same time, some users pointed out that there were people lucky enough to have great and considerate landlords. This user said, “I would argue that you have lived a very sheltered life on the internet and don’t understand the world very well. There are many wonderful landlords who are truly great people and take care of everything right away.”
What are your thoughts on this issue? Have you ever encountered a good landlord?
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This post first appeared as His Landlord Deliberately Ignored His Complaints About His Place’s Mold Infestation. He’s Had Enough, so He Reported Him and Got Him to Pay $50,000 in Fines and Sell the House! on Quote Ambition.