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Tenants have limited options if they find mold, but SC senator says it helps along the way

Tenants have limited options if they find mold, but SC senator says it helps along the way


Charleston, South Carolina (WCSC) – It’s not uncommon for South Carolina residents to find mold in their rental property, especially after a major weather event or during the hot summer months.

But some tenants say another common problem is that landlords don’t respond when tenants ask for help in solving problems.

Kari Groove-Riverker, a consumer advocate for the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs, said most of the complaints we receive come after major weather events or major floods. It is at this point that mold begins to develop in earnest.

Valerie Swab says she didn’t know anything about the weather phenomenon that caused the mold problem at her new Goose Creek home where she and her family secretly moved in last year.

The house was recently renovated. Swab says it looked nice in photos. I had a feeling it would be a nice house.

But Swab said the vent in the master bedroom soon began to smell like a mix of metal and swamp water.

Swab is quick to say it wasn’t just the stench that was the problem.

Swab says my daughter missed so much last year that she almost missed school last year. She had a lot of respiratory ailments, so she had to sit and take classes at school, and she had to make time for makeup.

Mr Swab said he suspected mold in the house’s air vents was making his family sick. Despite countless phone calls and emails, she was unable to get her landlord to come out and resolve this issue that SCDCA is constantly hearing about.

often, [tenants] Leiberker said that even if the landlord tells the landlord, the landlord will either not respond to the complaint or refuse to address the mold problem on the premises.

Leiberker said the department has seen an increase in mold complaints in recent years, but the SCDCA can only provide advice to tenants. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Management also provides tips and information on its website, but neither agency is responsible for holding landlords accountable.

In fact, there is no agency in South Carolina to hold landlords accountable.

Even those doing mold removal aren’t licensed in the state, Leiberker said. There is no authentication process or anything like that. Mold is actually an area not subject to South Carolina law, and there are no specific laws about it.

A state senator wants to change that.

Senator Darrell Jackson of Richland County said the system has gaping holes that prevent oversight. That’s a shame.

Jackson said he has been working on legislation for years to fix the lack of oversight over landlords’ failure to fix the mold problem. Earlier this year, he introduced a new bill to amend the Healthy Rental Housing Act, aimed at requiring tenants who cannot respond to calls for help to repair mold.

I hope there’s a willingness among our colleagues to actually do this, Jackson said. For me this is very clear. People’s lives are in danger. None of us would want to live in a mold infested area, nor should we expect our tenants to live in such conditions at any economic level. increase.

In the future, Jackson said he hopes to add some consequences that don’t currently exist to the bill against landlords who don’t follow the law. At this point, state officials say if a tenant finds mold and a work order request filed by the tenant is not fulfilled, there are really only two options: take the landlord to court or terminate the lease. He says he will.

Lybarker says follow these steps:

Please let your landlord know about this issue. Be specific about the necessary repairs. Write a letter to your landlord (receipts must be returned). The landlord must make the repairs, or at least he must meet a 14-day deadline to begin the repairs, Leiberker said. In the letter, tell the landlord that you will move out if the repairs are not made. If you are unsatisfied with your landlord’s repairs, or if your concerns are not addressed, you can take the landlord to court.

Back at Goose Creek, Swab took matters into his own hands by using a petri dish kit to test for mold himself.

You can apply the tape according to the instructions [the kit] Swab said the unit is blown away for 30 minutes by blowing air through the air ducts. Within 12 hours the spots started to appear and within 36 hours most of the dishes were covered and there were at least 4 types of mold on the dishes he said.

Fortunately, Swab said the lease was coming to an end at a time when the worst was possible.

I left home and haven’t decided where to live yet, so I live with my mother-in-law. [my daughter] Swab said he had never been sick before.

Swab went on to say he didn’t want others to experience what he went through. That message was reflected in Senator Jackson’s bill.

Jackson says help is on the horizon.we, the nation, have failed [South Carolinians] By not offering remedies or enacting laws to make this more difficult.

I think these companies are buying up houses that no one is buying. Swab said they put fresh paint on top to make it look nice, and then work hard.

Senator Jackson said he was pushing for emergency hearings on his bill because he argued that people’s lives were at risk and that landlords and rental companies were partly to blame.

Jackson said concerned citizens could also call the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and request an emergency hearing on the bill, calling Chairman Luke Rankin at 803-212-6610. ) can also be called.

For more information, visit

SC Health and Environmental Administration Page on Indoor Mold S.C Consumer Affairs Agency Consumer Complaints Page




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