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Ask S. Kincaid Your Own Question
S. Kincaid
S. Kincaid, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 2485
Experience:  Experience working with evictions, subsidized housing issues and mobile home issues.
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My wife has a severe mold allergy. The apartment she saw and

Customer Question

My wife has a severe mold allergy. The apartment she saw and approved was not the apartment she was to finally get. There was no reaction with the one she initially reviewed. Once she was ready to move in, she was given a different apartment. She reacted. She signed the contract and put money down and paid for the first month. She could not move in. they did not have another apartment available. They now want to charge her two months rent for breaking the lease when she never moved in and she/we are out $1200 for providing a cashiers check for the first prorated month. the Monthly rent is about $2200. they want 4400 now and have threatened to turn this over to a collection agent. What can we do?
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  S. Kincaid replied 12 months ago.

What state is this in? Were you planning to move in as well, or was this apartment just for her?

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Washington State. We are living apart briefly while I continue to work in Georgia. It is for my wife and kids and I will visit every two weeks.
Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Any response here. Did we get cut off?
Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Washington State. This apartment was for her and our kids. I will be commuting and visiting every two weeks
Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Hello. Steven are you still there?
Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Is Steven Kincaid still on?
Expert:  S. Kincaid replied 12 months ago.

I'm here. In Washington, the landlord is required to inform you of mold hazards in writing, but the landlord is not necessarily required to remove the mold. How did the landlord come up with two months? Did it take the landlord two months to re-rent the unit?

Expert:  S. Kincaid replied 12 months ago.

Or is that an amount mentioned in the lease as a penalty for breaking it?

Expert:  S. Kincaid replied 12 months ago.

Even though the landlord is not required to remove all mold, your landlord must provide habitable housing under local and state housing codes. If it was determined by a governmental authority that the mold problem was such that it violated a code, a court would probably conclude that you have been “constructively evicted;” this means that the landlord, by supplying unlivable housing, has for all practical purposes “evicted” you, so you have no further responsibility for the rent. Washington law (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 59.18.100, .110, .115) sets specific requirements for the procedures you must follow before moving out because of a major repair problem.

Expert:  S. Kincaid replied 12 months ago.

Also, the landlord must try to mitigate his or her losses by taking reasonable steps to re-rent the property.

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