‘Not a livable situation’: Woman searching for answers to mold problem, water damage


A woman in Akron said she was dealing with a mold problem in her apartment after water leaked through the ceiling from the upstairs apartment. She lives on the second floor of the Cherokee Apartments.

“It was awful,” said Naomi Carr. “There were nights, you know, when you got out of bed and you ran to the toilet and didn’t think to put your shoes on, we got up and stepped on the floor and it was soaking wet.” It was cold too, which made the apartment cold, no matter if we turned on the heating, it was still cold in here. I found it difficult to breathe, my children kept complaining of headaches and didn’t feel well.”

Carr said not only was it difficult to live in these conditions, but it was initially difficult to reach anyone when the problem began.

“They give us an emergency maintenance number to call. You can’t reach her because she goes straight to voicemail and won’t call you back, so that’s a problem,” Carr said.

Carr said the incident happened on the night of January 13 and she reported it immediately.

“They moved out a week later and fixed my light in the kitchen and my stove didn’t work, that’s all they did,” Carr said.

Carr claims she was only offered a transitional apartment on January 25.

“If she had come out the next day after the incident and got the water out of the carpet, I think I probably wouldn’t have had as much mold and odor build up, we wouldn’t have experienced that,” she told Carr.

Restoration 1 from Tuscaloosa was in the apartment this week working on it.

“We’re here to demonstrate everything that is an affected area and do mold remediation,” said Kaine Browning, project manager/estimator/lead engineer. “It’s not a liveable situation.”

However, Carr said she still had to pay rent.

“She put letters on my door saying I’m behind on my rent and if I don’t pay the rent by then I have to move out of the premises within seven business days,” Carr said.

Legal Services Alabama explains what rights a renter has in this situation.

“Generally, the landlord is responsible for most major repairs, however, under Alabama law, the tenant does not have the right to withhold rent and is still required to pay rent,” said managing attorney Farah Majid. “Under state law, when conducting repairs, what is a reasonable time for repairs? If the landlord doesn’t make the repairs, the law allows a renter to produce a 14-day letter, basically giving you 14 days to make repairs. Otherwise, the tenant can terminate the rental agreement and move out.

Carr said living on a steady income makes it even harder.

“I wouldn’t have been in this position had I been financially able to do anything else,” Carr said. “If you have nowhere to go, you have no choice, you have to do what you have to do.”

Cherokee Apartments is managed by Hollyhand Companies. We spoke to management by phone on Thursday. Said:

We are very aware of the problem. As management, we’re taking care of it, maybe not as fast as she wanted, but we’re dealing with it.