An Eldon mother, now eight months pregnant, has been battling her landlord over black mold found in her family's home since last year. But now she says, she's done fighting.
After months of trying to get the problem fixed, little if any progress seems to have been made. So, now, the family's packing up.
Three months ago, the city of Eldon said the house at 709 Rollotrend Lane was "unsafe" and "dangerous to human life" after black mold was found in the Levesque family's basement. City officials gave the landlord until Jan. 28 to begin removing the mold.
Today, "danger" signs pepper the outside of the outside of the house. With cleaning crews still unable to straighten out the mess, the Levesque's decided to pack up, move out, and head for Wisconsin, where they have family. They left for their 10 plus hour trip Tuesday afternoon.
"We're running out of options quickly," Kathleen Levesque said just before leaving. "So we had to do what's best for us and the whole family."
Kathleen said the decision to break their lease and move was a tough one, but the only real option left.
"The house is failing inspection after inspection," Kathleen said. "Nobody has an estimate as to when the house will be finished, if it will ever be safe enough for the kids and the rest of the family to live there. It's just a big mess."
"If it's failing that bad," Kathleen's husband, Dave said. "It's obviously a big problem with that house."
After the city said that the house was unsafe to live in, landlord Robert Seek, spent thousands on a cleaning company. The family says they never once heard from their landlord, a charge he denies.
"Progress has been slower than I had hoped," Seek said in a written statement. "The remediator has, among other things, removed all carpet and cleaned all of the Levesque's clothing at our expense."
The Levesque's say they've been kept out of the loop the whole time, with nobody telling them what was going on out of fear of a lawsuit. The family hasn't been allowed inside their home in months and most of their belongings had to be thrown out.
The one bright spot: their 5-year-old son's breathing problems have gotten better since leaving.
The family now just hopes their old house is fixed before it's rented to anyone else.
Both the landlord and Eldon's mayor say the house won't be rented again until inspectors say it's safe.
Landlord's Full Statement:
"A certified mold remediator was hired, along with a testing firm, to evaluate and make necessary efforts to resolve all mold issues. Progress has been slower than I had hoped. The remediator has, among other things, removed all carpet and cleaned all of the Levesque's clothing at our expense.
"Since the date the letter from the city inspector was received as trustee of the trust, I have employed agents to remedy the situation even though there are no state health standards that apply to the issue. At the request of the city a certified mold remediator was hired, along with a testing firm, to evaluate and make necessary efforts to resolve all mold issues.
"To this date the remediator is still working on the home. After initial efforts were not satisfactory he has taken additional steps suggested by the testing firm including removal of all carpet. The remediator also had all clothing belonging to the Levesque's cleaned and I assume delivered to them. It is my hope that with this latest recommendations there will be no need for any further remedial action.
I know the Levesque's are staying elsewhere but have not received any information as to where they are staying nor had any other contact with them since they last paid their rent prior to the letter from the city."