Taking Action

Richmond couple mad over mold until 8News steps in

Taking Action

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A local couple has been going mad over a mold problem in their Richmond apartment.

Teeara Jones and her fiancé Joseph Courtney live at the Villas of Oakwood and say they have been dealing with a water leak that led to the mold for months.

“I was walking across the carpet and I feel something damp under my feet,” Courtney said.

Discoloration in the carpet marks the spot where Courtney and Jones first noticed their apartment rug was wet. 

“We don’t know where it’s going where it’s coming from, how it gets in here,” Courtney said.

He added there’s an odor too.

“It was a horrid smell, ammonia, acetone smell,” Courtney said.

The couple burns incense, purchased a humidifier and opens the door to try and air it out.

When they pulled back their rug, they saw mold growth — and an in-home test kit confirmed it’s mold.

“They got back to me within three days, in my email, telling me I have four different types of airborne mold,” Jones said. 

The couple even had a remediation specialist check it out.

“He said it looks like mold.  I can tell it is mold,” Jones said.

They estimate it will cost more than $700 to remove it, more than $700.00, so the couple called the leasing office.

“The maintenance just kept saying there is nothing I can do about it,” Jones said.

Courtney sent numerous emails asking the property manager to do something, but he said nothing happened.

Since the water leak, they’ve also noticed mice.  8News also spotted mouse droppings on the water heater.

“She still ignored me,” said Courtney about the property manager.

Courtney has multiple sclerosis and worries about his health. Medical experts say mold can affect the neurological system in the body and make symptoms of MS worse.  Jones feels like the mold is getting to her.

“My nose running, my eyes,” she said.

Legal experts told 8News, landlords have a responsibility to take care of mold issues under the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act of July 2020. The act states “Where there is visible evidence of mold, the landlord shall promptly remediate the mold conditions.”

8News was told tenants must make an effort to contain it. 

“I would like to see something get resolved,” Jones said.

When 8News went to the leasing office but no one came to the door. We also called and emailed the property manager.

Just hours after 8News reached out, management stopped by the apartment.  The tenants said they discovered the cause of the water leak and pest control came by to take care of the mice,

If you are a tenant having an issue with your landlord and mold, there are some measures you can take. You can opt for what’s called “repair and deduct.”  You must give your landlord 14 days written notice to take care of the matter.

If they don’t, you can hire a contractor to take care of it and deduct the cost from your rent. You can also do something called “tenant’s assertion.” Basically, you file a complaint with the General District Court against your landlord. The Court would order the landlord to fix the issue.  Until they do, you pay rent to the Court, not the landlord.

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