Mold infested rental in Largo forces family to abandon home

Michael Rubino

May 12

Far too often, stories are told from individuals who were renting and suffered from harmful exposure due to contaminated indoor environments. Unfortunately, this issue is difficult to deal with because renters do not own the property and therefore cannot make decisions on how water damage and remediation are handled. 

LARGO, Fla. — A North Carolina woman and her two little boys moved to Tampa Bay hoping for a better life. But days after moving into a Largo apartment they discovered a danger that led them to leave their new home and all they owned. The I-Team found the law does little to protect renters in these cases.

Jess Lazer moved to Florida to take a good-paying tech job and fulfill her dream of a better life for her young sons. She rented a unit at Somerset Apartments in Largo in late December after she said management sent her a video of the unit.

Lazer said she knew something was wrong when, within days of her move, she began getting puffing eyes, hives, and a stuffy nose.

She found what appeared to be black mold on the floors and a wall and complained to management. A crew ripped up the vinyl flooring and Lazer found black spots covering the concrete in the kitchen, living room, and bathroom.

The I-Team asked certified mold expert Michael Rubino to look at the photos Lazer provided to ABC Action News. Rubino, author of “The Mold Medic,” said the floors appear to be covered in black mold which could cause health problems.

“Anytime you have too much particulate that enters the body you are going to feel some adverse health reactions,” Rubino said.

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