Gillette tenants say landlord ignores black mold problem - KOTA Territory News

Gillette tenants say landlord ignores black mold problem

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Leroy Parish says once he noticed black mold and water damage in his Gillette apartment, he told his landlords about the problem.

"The on–site manager and the manager never did nothing about it," said Parish.

Parish says the mold started showing up about six months ago and his family's health deteriorated because of it.

"Breathing problem, I threw up every morning. I get up, I'm just coughing, throwing up," said Parish.

A mold inspector found a moderate count of toxic mold that could cause negative health effects. The Center for Disease Control says indoor exposure to mold can lead to upper respiratory tract symptoms, coughing, and wheezing for otherwise healthy people.

Parish's neighbor, Douglas Deboer, complained and says the building's general manager, Felipe Velasquez, painted over some black mold.

"My girlfriend could not stop throwing up. It was constant throwing up, blurred vision. The vision was the biggest thing with us and memory loss," said Deboer.

"It's mold that occurs just about in every home. You'll find it in every home. The fact that these people are still using those apartments shows that there's no problem," said Velasquez.

The building is owned by Candice and Pablo Velasquez.

But Parish and Deboer say they moved their families into motels a month ago.

Parish says the building flooded in May, and he stopped paying rent then because damage wasn't fixed. The Velasquezes took Parish to court and won. So Parish is moving everything that was still in the apartment out this weekend.

"If you get some services or goods, you need to pay for those," said Velasquez.

"If we would've give them a written statement certified, then we could've won our case," said Parish.

A state statute says if a renter is current on payments and feels the unit provides health problems, a written statement must be given to the owner. An unreasonable refusal from the owner, determined in court, could result in awarded costs and damages to the renter.

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Rapid City, SD 57701

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