En EspaƱol Know Your Rights
Source: New York Daily News
Subject: Housing & Environmental Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Bill to Force Landlords Clean Up Mold

Landlords
would be required to clean up moldy apartments if their tenants have asthma or
other breathing problems, under legislation set to be introduced Wednesday in
the City Council.**

The bill,
co-sponsored by Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and Councilwoman Rosie Mendez
(D-Manhattan), would set a standard level at which landlords would be forced to
get rid of mold, which can make people with allergies and other conditions get
sicker.

Mold
complaints to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development increased
from 8,288 in 2001 to 21,121 in 2006, Gotbaum said.

While the
housing code requires landlords to keep their properties in good repair, that
standard is vague and inconsistently enforced by city agencies, she contends.

"If
we’re concerned about the health of New Yorkers, it’s important that we do
something about it," Gotbaum said.

Jill de
Domenico, 26, says the bill would help her breathe easier. She said her
landlord insists that painting and plastering over water stains on the ceiling,
walls and floorboards of her Harlem apartment
is enough.

The
management company, Manhattan North, has done nothing to rid it of mold, she
said.

"It’s
affecting my health," de Domenico added, saying she suffers from seasonal
allergies and has developed bronchial asthma and other infections since water
began leaking into the apartment two years ago.

"I
know that has to do with the apartment," she said.

Her
building, 1890 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., was found to have "higher than
normal amounts" of mold spores in the air, including strains of
penicillium/aspergillus, according to a report by an air-testing company she
hired to inspect in February. De Domenico said she is allergic to penicillin.

The report,
obtained by the Daily News, recommends sealing the floors with polyurethane and
removing sections of the walls and ceiling to professionally rid them of mold.

It suggests
that de Domenico move until the problem is fixed.

An attorney
for the building’s owner would not comment specifically on de Domenico’s
apartment, though he did say, "The owners have already performed and are
continuing to perform substantial work to remediate the building
violations."

**The
Tenant Protection Act, spearheaded by
Make the Road New York