What are my rights regarding black mold?
Question Details: I have a rent-to-own agreement with the homeowners. Before moving in or signing a contract, I asked specifically about black mold and they assured me that they had never had an issue with it. I have now lived here for 7 months and not only is there more mold than I can afford to fix but it is obvious that they had tried to cover it up. I have 2 small children and my finance who live here with me and we have all been having symptoms from it. Is what they did legal? I cannot afford to move right away as all of my money has gone to paying them and fixing what I can in the home. I'm worried about staying here as I don't want my family becoming any more ill from the mold.
As a tenant, your landlord has breached the implied warranty of habitability regarding the mold. You can contact your local home inspector to compel the landlord to eradicate the mold. Although you said you cannot afford to move, moving and terminating your obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term is your recourse for breach of the implied warranty of habitability. If you decide not to move, you can terminate your obligation to pay rent and defend against eviction.
You can also file personal injury claims with your landlord/owner's insurance for everyone in the household. Upon completing medical treatment and being released by the doctor, obtain the medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of wage loss (if applicable). The personal injury claims should include those items when filed with the landlord/owner's insurance. Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement. The medical reports document the injury and treatment and are used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills. Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.
If the personal injury cases are settled, NO lawsuit is filed. If the settlement offers are unsatisfactory, reject them and file a lawsuit against the landlord/owner for negligence. It will be easier to prove negligence than fraud.