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Growing issue: Grand Rapids mom wants tougher mold regulations after falling ill

At Heather Recktor's house, there is a bunch of mold. In her eyes, there aren't enough regulations.
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Posted at 6:40 PM, Mar 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-18 18:40:00-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WXMI) — A Grand Rapids mom says her house is covered in mold, so much so that she and her two girls are living in hotels for the sake of their health.

In Michigan, there are no laws on the books about mold and tenants’ rights. That’s creating a big problem for Heather Rector.

Mold covers her Grand Rapids home. She says it's made her and her daughters sick for a year.

“I was always having upper respiratory infections, sinus infections. I was always out of breath,” Rector said.

Heather says she's brought it up to her landlord, Lener Montes, because she is sleeping in a hotel with her two daughters—saying he should cover their expenses for a hotel room.

Montes spoke to FOX 17 over the phone, saying he's complying with city regulations and making changes to take care of the mold. But so far, no one has told him the home is uninhabitable.

“The City of Grand Rapids does a full inspection on any rental property and makes sure that it’s livable. It makes sure it’s up to living standards. Whether it’s mold, light fixtures, they want to make sure it’s safe for anybody. They don’t just hand out permits,” Montes said.

The city of Grand Rapids does not test for mold. It only marks items that need to be cleaned or repaired.

Still, Montes provided FOX 17 with copies of quotes for mold remediation he says he plans to do.

It falls on Rector to test the black spots in her attic to find out what exactly this mold is— a costly procedure. Rector feels the changes required by the city in this report are not enough to fight the growing problem.

“I can’t have my kids here, knowing it’s causing so many health problems,” Rector said.

Rector feels there need to be stricter regulations on what makes a space "habitable" saying now that her landlord is selling the house, she wants people to know: so a band-aid isn't put over a bigger problem.

"He bought a lemon. There's been nothing but problems," Rector said.

Renters and Mold by WXMI on Scribd