Cal Poly student fights apartment complex over mold concerns

Posted at 11:43 AM, Jul 26, 2018

Some Cal Poly students say their landlords are taking advantage of them but many choose to live with it because they don’t want to deal with legal fees. Recent Cal Poly graduate Riley Smith didn’t think his room at Mustang Village 2 in San Luis Obispo was safe to live in after mold from a water leak left him with thousands of dollars of damaged property "I am just offended that they would leave me with this room and say that it’s like livable and keep telling me that it’s livable even though there is clearly an issue with it," Smith said.He says he found a red-green mold growing in his room after requesting a leak repair. "I don’t feel like the room is safe, like I wouldn’t sleep in there and I wouldn’t sleep on that mattress, and I wouldn’t let someone sleep in there," he said.According to Smith, maintenance paid a visit, cut out and cleaned the carpet and floorboard, and aired out the room, but a funky smell lingered."I was concerned," he said. "I mean, it smelled and it didn’t seem like they had taken care of the problem. "Smith is not the only student who has encountered such problems. Melanie Nuthals lived at Mustang Village 2 for two years and says a leaky ceiling went neglected."It was infuriating," she said.According to Nuthals, it took maintenance about a month to fully fix the problem, which only got worse with time."Almost every day we called the office just to see, are they coming today to fix it?" she said. Though Nuthals didn’t take legal action, Smith did and sent demand letters asking for a mold test, reimbursement for hotel stays and items Smith says smelled like mold. The property’s lawyer countered with $300 in rent credit, but Smith says that’s nowhere close to enough."It’s not worth it for me to like risk my health over convenience," he said. "I don’t want to stay in a room just because they have essentially been bullying me into just staying quiet."Smith requested a city code enforcement officer once mold grew back about a month later. The officer found mold growth on the carpet and high moisture content, showing that a previous leak fix was ineffective."So this isn’t like a unique thing and when the code officers came, they were not surprised that we had had that many leaks," Smith said. Flooring was installed after the city’s report, but it is unclear whether the room was officially tested for mold.Smith decided to file a small claim against Mustang Village 2, while Nuthals decided not to renew her lease.KSBY reached out to Mustang Village management numerous times for a response. In an email, Mustang Village 2 Senior General Manager Justin Epperly said, "It is the policy of Mustang Village to take the privacy and safety of our residents very seriously."