This Mom Is Concerned About Her Baby Being Exposed To Moldy Apartment

September 15, 2017
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Mom Battles Landlord Over Mold Infested Apartment

A newborn baby is living in an apartment county which inspectors say isn’t suitable for habitation because of a mold problem.  Her mother says so far, nothing has been done to fix it and now she worries for her children’s health.

Amanda Dokka had moved into her Eagan apartment in June with her 10-year-old son and her boyfriend.  A few months later she gave birth to a baby girl named Chloe.

Dokka says that she noticed the excessive mold soon after moving in.

“There’s mold outside. There’s mold inside. There’s mold in the garage. There’s mold upstairs,” she said.
She showed reporters a crawlspace beneath her kitchen which was wet and soggy.  Dokka says it’s always that way.

In the attached garage, which lies right below a bedroom, the walls are completely damp.  Sheetrock is peeling away.  There is mold everywhere.

Dokka also took samples in petri dishes from her son’s bedroom.  The mold grew quickly.

“My newborn is starting to wheeze,” she said.  “And I’m scared because you know her lungs are still being developed.”

Amanda says that she made complaints to the landlord but with no results.  Finally, a public health nurse who visits her apartment contacted Dakota County Environmental Health Inspectors.

When the inspector visited, he issued a report declaring that because of “potential health risks to newborn, this unit is not of suitability of habitation.”

That was August 28th.

More than two weeks later, Amanda and her family are still living with the mold and she says that her landlord has not contacted her but did send over a maintenance man who sprayed bleach and replaced some sheetrock in the garage.  But she says, it did nothing to address the cause of the mold.

Their mold is growing so fast and all they do is spray bleach and they think it’s the cure all,” she said.

Kelly Harder, Director of Community Services for Dakota County says “clearly the science is there that mold has to be dealt with.”

He says that the county is working with the family on housing options.  The City of Eagan is working with the landlord.

Our interest is to get it remediated absolutely as fast as we can without question,” Harder said.

They hope that the landlord will cooperate and fix the property.  That’s the quickest solution.  He has until the end of this week to explain to city inspectors how he will fix the problem.

If he doesn’t, he can be cited.  However, Amanda’s options are tough.  She can’t afford to move and the city says forcing the landlord to fix a problem and take months in court.

Other neighbors who rent from the same landlord say that they too have complained about mold problems in the past to no avail.  They hope this time, something gets done.

In the meantime, Dokka, Chloe and the rest of the family have to continue to live with the mold.

Let’s hope that something gets done about it soon!

 

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