'I couldn't stand it for 10 minutes'; carpet cleaner concerned w - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

'I couldn't stand it for 10 minutes'; carpet cleaner concerned with moldy apartment

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

An area carpet cleaning operator says while visiting a potential client recently, he encountered a mold problem so bad inside the apartment that he refused to do the job.

That prompted Clinton Jones to contact WTOC, because he feels no one should have to live that way.

Jones has operated his carpet cleaning service for six years, and called this mold infestation inside an apartment at the Windsor Crossing complex, the worst he's ever seen.

"She told me she was there for four years. Breathing that for four years? Because I couldn't stand it for 10 minutes, so that was a major concern for me,” said Jones.

Jones came to the Windsor Crossing community this week to do a cleaning job for a tenant of one of the buildings, but says he had to turn it down because the mold was so bad.

"She wanted some upholstery done, but I wouldn't do it, because the mold had already set into the furniture. And it was probably destroyed. I refused to take her money to do the job,” said Jones.

He said he encouraged the tenant to take pictures of the apparent mold for her own records before moving out, to show the neglect he believes the landlord is responsible for.

"They should have some kind of consciousness not allowing a tenant to live like that, nor the kids. Especially the kids,” said Jones.

WTOC spoke to the tenant on the phone who says she repeatedly reached out to the apartment owner to fix a number of issues, including the mold, with no response.

WTOC also talked to the property management company, and they seemed to know who the tenant we were referencing right away, saying they encourage residents to run their air conditioning unit to drive the air out in humid conditions.

The company added that they never received complaints from the tenants in question.

"We always encourage people to contact your landlord, document that you have contacted your landlord. We typically encourage people to send a letter, send it certified received, request, that way we can assure that the letter has not only sent, but it's been received by the property manager,” said Savannah-Chatham County Fair Housing Council Executive Director Wayne Dawson.

Even though it's not within the fair housing council's purview, they frequently take calls from frustrated tenants about mold issues.

"We've heard anything from a slight irritation, to people who literally had to be hospitalized. We have received the highest volume of calls regarding mold this year, than any year I can recall in the last 15 or more years,” said Dawson. "If we can document or establish that this person is a person with maybe an environmental, chemical sensitivity, or a multiple chemical sensitivity, then we might be able to assist in getting a reasonable accommodation. And that might be an early lease termination, so that the person can find another place to live.”

The property owner over the building inside Windsor Crossing says they are returning the tenants full deposit, but the tenant says she'll still be seeking legal counsel.

WTOC checked in with the health department on the issue, and their role is basically just to educate people about hazards associated with mold.

The City of Savannah will send an inspector to the home or apartment in question, but if they see something that would deem the building uninhabitable, they will condemn it.

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