I requested to leave my lease because of severe health problems brought on by what we have confirmed to be toxic mold. Our landlord would not allow us to leave and we have sent a letter to the management company letting them know about the mold problem one week ago. The mold can be seen growing up from under the carpet and in the AC unit. I need to know what to do to get out of my lease, and I need to know if I am entitled to my deposit or any rent I paid since the problem was brought to their attention.
Generally, a landlord must fix a condition that is a threat to your health or safety within one week from when the landlord receives notice from you about the problem by certified mail, return receipt requested. If the landlord doesn't do that, you may be entitled to terminate the lease and/or take the landlord to court for $500 plus one month's rent, actual damages, attorney's fees and court costs.
You can notify the City of Houston by calling 3-1-1, and the city may send a mold inspector to verify that there is a problem. You must continue to pay your rent on time until you move out or else the landlord may have the right to evict you. You may want to consult with an attorney to determine your rights and options for your particular situation.
This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and should not be relied upon as legal advice.
I concur in David Sadegh's answer. If you believe the mold is affecting the health of you and your family, you should vacate as quickly as possible. Your health is more important than the money involved in rent. However, do not think that a personal injury claim for mold illness is a small undertaking. It involves expensive expert costs. At a minimum, you would need a mold inspector to testify about the mold levels in your apartment and a medical doctor who knows mold illness (Few are so qualified.) to testify that you and/or your family became ill due to mold. You need damages well into five figures to justify the expense of such a claim. You can also claim for personal property contaminated by mold. For that claim, you would need a personal property appraiser (not expensive) and perhaps a mold inspector.
Mark G. Chalpin, Esq.
4620 N. Braeswood Boulevard, #212
Houston, TX 77096
P (713) 485-6925
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