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“I am now having respiratory issues (asthma basically)”

by Prince Of Petworth July 7, 2015 at 1:25 pm 78 Comments

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Victoria Pickering

“Dear PoPville,

I live in an apartment on Corcoran St. NW and have been having repeated issues with moisture in walls and floor and now mold. Over the past two years, when I reported it, the landlord came and cleaned the affected areas and repainted them. The underlying sources of the moisture is still there (the apartment is partially underground), and I am now having respiratory issues (asthma basically).

DC passed a law last summer called the Air Quality Amendment Act of 2014. Although DCRA housing inspectors still do not inspect for mold (just moisture), the law now requires landlords to inspect for mold within 7 days of written notification and to remediate within 30 days if it is determined that the mold meets the threshold as defined by the law. Failure to meet these requirements allows the tenant to file a complaint in housing court and enables them to be awarded certain damages.

In my situation, I am still waiting to hear back from the landlord, but my concern is that they will “inspect” within the 7 day threshold and then claim that the mold doesn’t meet the requirements in the law for a professional remediation, proceed to clean it, and repaint the affected areas again, and then be off the hook.

So my questions are:
1) Does anyone have any experience with mold/resolving mold issues since this law took effect?
2) Should I have a professional inspection done to have definitive proof of the mold? The court can require the landlord to reimburse me if I take the landlord to court. The law also states that if I provide a written report of a professional inspection, this creates a rebuttable presumption that the landlord must have it professionally remediated, thus forcing action more quickly.
3) Should I file the complaint in housing court NOW given the time it will take to serve the landlord and to get a hearing date? Or do I need to have proof that they have failed to act in accordance with the law first?”

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