I need to send a letter to my landlord, informing him of mold in my apartment. He has denied its existence, even after we pointed it out to him in an air duct a few weeks ago. He refuses to fix it, saying it isn't a problem. Using my own money, I hired a respected mold inspection company to look over the apartment, and many strains in high quantities were found. I am going to send that report to the landlord, along with pictures. I would like to move but cannot at this time because I do not have the extra money for a security deposit. And according to the landlord tenant act, isn't the landlord required to fix the mold? I read about rent withholding and putting rent in escrow in the act. Which do you recommend? In Va, the act stated that rent can be withheld until repairs are made. But do landlords respect this area of the law? I am very allergic to mold, and this needs to be fixed. I would move in a heartbeat if I had the extra money for the security deposit, but I do not have it. Thank you for any suggestions.
Landlord is required to act when presented evidence of mold and may have to move you during remediation. You may be able to recover rent or some percentage of it, if you file a tenants assertion. ITs not clear whether or not the VRLTA applies to your lease. Speak to a Charlottesville landlord tenant attorney ASAP. Good luck.
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1) NEVER "Withhold" rent. Virginia law doesn't approve of this method.
2) Pay your money into escrow and use the 'tenant assertion' in General District Court.
Make sure you file against the actual owner of the property, not the 'rental agent'. Checking the tax assessment records will help you determine who that really is. If the property is owned by a husband and wife, you have to sue both even though you only deal with the husband. If it's owned by a corporation or "LLC" you have to sue that entity (and serve the registered agent). Your lease SHOULD have the correct entity named but I've seen some 'know it all' owners who do it wrong.
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