Tenants Complain About Mold In Salisbury Apt. Complex
SALISBURY, Md. - Residents in one Salisbury apartment complex say mold has infested their homes, causing, what they say, are a whole host of problems.
Dean Haemel says the mold in his apartment became so out of control, it started to grow on his furniture, shoes, and is even causing health problems.
After months of back and forth with management at Merrifield apartments, and the Elon Property Management, , he wants to expose what he sees as a major issue.
Pulling back a piece of wall paper near an air vent, Haemel shows WMDT mold growing on the wall beneath, a problem he first discovered back in August.
"I moved a chair in my bedroom, and saw the vent cover on the air vent was black with mold...solid black with mold."
He's apparently, not the only one.
Kathy Petzold lives in the next building over. She says the mold and water issues started about tow years ago. Kathy showed us mold samples pulled from her air conditioner, the insulation beneath her bathroom floor, and from the vent in the wall in the bedroom.
After contacting management, Dean says Merrifield Apartments quickly came to try and fix the problem, "the maintenance man sprayed it with bleach and with X 14 I believe, wiped it all out, and replaced the vent covers."
When WMDT spoke to a member of the maintenance team at Merrifield, he also said they use a bleach-based solution to wipe the area, but according to a mold removal expert, and the CDC, for certain surfaces, bleach, won't fix the problem.
"Most cases, a substance like dry wall or insulation, a highly porous substance is going to need to be removed," says Austin Ireland with Salisbury based Dry-Tek Environmental.
Even if materials don't require removal, Ireland says the mold remediation process is fairly involved, listing the steps: "proper vacuuming with a hepa filtration, then wiping down with an anti-microbial agent or a biocide, then another series of hepa vacuuming to make sure all the hyphal fragments or any remaining spores have been properly cleaned up and removed."
After Dean withheld rent, Merrifield Apartments and Elon Property management took him to court, but documents show the case was voluntarily dismissed, after which, Elon offered Dean a sum to move out, under the condition that he wouldn't speak to current Merrifield residents, saying in a document:
"It is agreed that the undersigned will receive two and a half month's rent in the sum of $1575.00. Less the water/trash/sewer ($33.00) and filing fees ($17.00). The remaining balance of $1210.00 will be refunded undersigned within 30 days of move out.
Undersigned acknowledges that there will be no more conversations with current residents at Merrifield Apartment after move out."
A document which he did not sign.
Dean Haemel believes "they're trying to keep the problem quiet."
Monday was his last day in the apartment, and according to a note posted on the door, from the city of Salisbury, the company is required to "find and remove [the] source of mold" and "Submit a professional mold inspection by 12/22/13 showing the air quality is within normal range," before it can be rented again.
This isn't the first time residents have come forward against Elon Property Management. Earlier this year, a Florida news station was contacted about mold problems at a number of Elon properties in New Port Richey, near St. Petersburg, Florida.
WMDT has put in multiple calls to Merrifield apartments regarding the situation, but we were directed to Elon Property Management. We have yet to receive a response to the issue.
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