Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hard Work, Clorox Fumes And Vapor Lock...

We began work on the home for the veteran and his family today and we discovered many things. Wood floors are rotting, windows have rotted, mold and mildew growing in unsuspecting places, and a multitude of other problems. It was not a pretty sight.

I spent the morning filling in and repairing holes in the walls. I finally stopped counting the holes when it got to be up around 100. There were other holes as big as my fist that you could feel cold air coming through, so I repaired those as well. There isn't a window frame in the entire house that you can't feel cold air coming through.

Next, it was my job to caulk the two bathrooms, but when I started scraping away the old caulking we found even more mold and mildew. So, I spent a couple of hours dousing everything in Clorox. Including me. I decided to leave it overnight, since it was obviously going to take a while for it to work. Meanwhile, I cleaned the bathrooms from top to bottom and it was truly disgusting, but I finally finished. Almost overcome by the fumes from the Clorox, I had to constantly go outside for fresh air.

We also ripped up the carpet in the last room it was being taken out of and the wooden floor underneath is rotting from termites and mold. Another disgusting experience. They are supposed to lay carpet on Monday, but that's probably not going to happen now. We discussed having to take another route with this and it was suggested that plyboard might be laid over it and tacked down. Then, the carpet could be laid.

However, I had a real problem with this. The mold and the termites need to be treated. You can't just move on without addressing the real problems. If you do, they only come back to haunt you when you least expect it.

So, here's my biggest problem with this entire *helping out* thing. We have been working our fingers to the bone... basically for the landlord, although our intention was to help this young family. In my opinion, this landlord is just another slumlord. Yes, he dropped the rent from $850.00 per month to $700.00 per month because we all agreed to do the work and get as many of the supplies donated as possible. What a great guy, huh? Right.

The biggest complaint I have is the fact that they were going to charge $850.00 per month for this rat hole of a house. Without doing anything to it. Granted, the housing here has been tight during the last year. However, just because you can charge this much doesn't mean you should. Unfortunately, there are obviously no laws covering this type of situation. It should be illegal for a landlord to charge so much for a place that is basically unlivable. It just makes me so angry that I want to let out a primal scream that will burst some eardrums.

The mother/wife has severe asthma problems, but because they are struggling, they are forced to live in a place like this. It makes me want to spit nails. Really. I'd like to be able to rub the damn landlord's nose in all of the mold and mildew. Yes, I'd actually derive great pleasure from an act such as that.

If I could, I'd definitely kick some ass over this deal, but I don't even know where to begin... It truly makes me go into full-blown Vapor Lock. I want to hurt someone, but of course I can't and it makes me feel helpless, which makes me even angrier.....


Mental P Mama said...

There has to be a HUD agency.....yikes.

Pearls To Hide My Neck said...

Slumlord is right. He is getting a facelift for his rental and out of the "goodness of his heart" will lower the rent. Is there nothing else available anywhere? What about a church stepping in and "sponsoring" them for a year so they can get back on their feet?
I just helped completely redo a house this past summer and I know that if you don't fix the underlying problems they will come back and ruin all the hard work that was done.
Believe me, I know what you're going through and I think we are think alike when it comes to people who take advantage of others.
Wish there was something I could do to help because I know what this will mean to the family you're helping. Keep us up on the progress.

QueenofPlanetHotflash said...

I am just in awe of the size of your heart and Mr.Snooty's also.
You'll be blessed many times over..

Living on the Spit said...

Let me know what county the house is in. I work on environemtnal reports for my profession and that includes lead, asbestos, mold findings and action plans...mold remediation is not as simple as using bleach, nor is it up to health code standards. Unfortunately, the scenario will be that these people will not have a place to live unless you can find another suitable place. The county health department (in Texas) regulates these issues with home owners and land lords (aka slum loads) and he will not be allowed to have residents while the remediation process is on going. Termite problems are adding to the mold issue and the house as you have decribed is NOT suitable for inhabiation. I can help you with contacting th appropriate people...but I would advise trying to find a new place for the family. So not install new carpet, as it will be contaminated as soon as it is laid and will have to be removed. Problems like these are hazardous and I do not want to see you or the group you are working with to extend funds that will not be recouped. Let me know if I can help. From the looks of the house, it appears to be built prior to 1979 and should be tested for lead paint and asbestos containing materials as well.


Living on the Spit said...

go to:

look on the right hand side under the word mold...there is a complaint section and enforcement actions as well as rules and regulations.

Also on the top left hand side of the page is a FAQ on Mold.

my email is

Living on the Spit said...

Sorry about the multiply comments but I found out some more information:

"Does My Landlord Have a Duty to Remove Mold From my House or Apartment?"

The Texas Property Code requires landlords to remedy and repair certain conditions after being informed of them by the tenant. Landlords must make a diligent effort to repair or remedy certain conditions when all the following requirements are met:

The tenant gives notice of the condition to the person who normally accepts rent

The tenant is not delinquent in rent payments at the time

The mold condition materially affects the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant

The tenant, a member of the tenant’s family, a guest or invitee of the tenant or a lawful occupant of the dwelling did not cause the condition

this should help you tremendously...I am assuming this code would support the termite infestation and damage as well.

The lead and asbestos can be tested at a later date, but should be done as soon as reasonable.


Snooty Primadona said...

Marlene: You are a goddess in my eyes. Thank you so much for all the information. I'm forwarding it on to those who got this project started.

We also feel that this place probably had some meth cooking going on. I saw some suspicious evidence that makes me wonder.

By the way, the outside of their house is covered in asbestos tiles (shingles). I know because I've seen them before. I'm telling you this place is a nightmare.

The house was probably built in the 1940's, as were most of the houses around them. It's the older, original part of town, where asbestos was prevalent.

Living on the Spit said...

No one can go back into that house if there is a suspicion of former meth activities. THE TDH needs to be called immediately. It is probably contaminated and will make anyone violently ill. Meth leeches into the walls and will have to be guted under a tent.

Children can not be in this space until it has been thoroughly examined and remediated by a state certified environmental professional.

I am glad I could comment on this supject at length.


Snooty Primadona said...

Thanks Marlene! I'm not certain about the meth thing. It just looked suspicious in some places. Still, I was so upset today because I kept thinking about those sweet children living & sleeping in that place. AT $700.00 PER MONTH. AAAARGH!

That being said, they are desperate for a place to live and having poured their donation dollars into this place, have no where else to turn. For right now they have to stay there or live on the street or in their car. This is the turning point for a family that can either lead them to a home (any home) or they will become just another of the countless numbers of homeless people in this country. We are ultimately, at this point, just trying to prevent them from crossing that bridge. As sad as it is, this is the reality of it all.

None of us are miracle workers, so we're just trying to do whatever we can for the moment. Whatever we can to get & keep a roof over their heads. If we decide to take any action, it won't be until after we've helped them to secure new housing.

It's just all so much more complicated than any of us realized, especially this poor young couple & their children.

My Metabolic Rate is Stuck said...

THE REst of us SHOULD feel BLESSED! Any one of us COULD BE in that same situation given differnt circumstances in our Lives.
My heart goes out to that family!
MS. are an ANGEL!
Is the family in need of anything? COuld any of us HELP by sending things, $$$. ?????????

Mental P Mama said...

Wow. You all are angels, but still, I would have it tested like Marlene said...What a mess.

Snooty Primadona said...

Well, I'm going back over there today to finish the jobs I started. Our goal was to help this couple get on their feet, provide them with transportation & get a roof over their heads & we've accomplished that. Beyond that, it's going to be up to them now. Mr. Snoots made me understand last night that I can't always help everyone, all the time, even though I want to....

Anonymous said...

Blogger ate my first comment, but essentially I hope the house doesn't adversely affect the asthmatic mom.

You all are to be commended for the generous work you're doing. That landlord should rehabilitate the house if it is such a health hazzard.

Treasia said...

You and Mr. Snooty are true angels in my book. Not only did you help with money and a valuable car but the giving of your time as well.

I hope the house poses no problems for them and they can continue to live out their lives and gain.

brneyedgal967 said...

Gather up any termite you see, put them in a jar - keep them alive. Then deposit them at every corner of the slumlords OWN home.

And yeah - the "generous" landlord... gimme a break. Sleazeball. His property is getting a facelift and the value will increase. I hope the family has it in writing that their rent WON'T increase after a certain amount of time.

What about HUD and Section 8? Would they be eligible for that? What about Habitat for Humanity - try contacting them to see if a NEW house can be built for this family. Habitat loves publicity and this would generate a lot for them.

Flea said...

There's gotta be somewhere else they can live, right? This is ridiculous. Just say no.

noble pig said...

That is so terrible but slum lords are like that when housing is tight. You all are unreal folks for doing will come back to you in so many good ways. And yes the termites need to be fixed.

Blarney said...

Round these parts pictures are taken and given to the local media to shame the landlords into cleaning up their act. I'm just saying ....
Thanks for volunteering ~ you ROCK!

Clippy Mat said...

shame on the slumlord. he/she/it needs some 'negative' publicity. call the local news crew and have them around and then show them the truth. it can be done in a 'naive' way so that you are revealing what they are 'really helping' with.

that's just awful.
i understand completely your frustration.

looking forward to updates.:-)

sista #2 said...

Snoots, you are wonderful :)


Pleasing Procrasinator said...

This landlord is just making me see RED!! It seems he actually just helped out himself by renting out the unrepresentable and having it refurbished for him. Is he wanting everyone to think 'WOW, what a wonderful man?', because I am thinking what a @#$%#$ asshole.
You are a wonderful lady:)


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