Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Mold Evicts Occupants from their Westbury Apartments


On March 28, 2008, the Archstone Westbury Apartments deadline arrived for occupants to vacate their apartments. Archstone-Smith, a Colorado company, that manages the Archstone Westbury Apartments terminated the leases of these tenants on Wednesday, November 28, 2007 because mold and mildew had infested the apartments. In order to determine the cause of the infestation, the owner needed to open walls and ceilings to determine the underlying cause of the water intrusion.
It was good to see an owner being proactive in trying to prevent tenants from being exposed to mold or mildew. There are other ways to perform this investigation, including the use of infrared cameras and moisture meters, though it is probably better to ensure the safety of the occupants while determining the underlying cause.
As in many mold problems, according to newspaper articles written at the time this site also had a long list of water intrusion problems that were not addressed by the building maintenance staff. We could only speculate that had the maintenance staff responded faster or performed a more thorough investigation or water clean-up that the current evictions could have been avoided. Building owners should look at there building maintenance programs and ensure that all complaints of water intrusions are handled within 24 hours. Any evidence of moisture intrusion should be thoroughly investigated to determine the cause (again the moisture meters and infrared cameras would be helpful) and the water intrusion should be dried completely utilizing water collection devices (mops & wet vacuums) and drying devices (fans & dehumidifiers). Once mold grows on the property it indicates a lack of attention by the apartment owners, building owners, occupants/tenants, and building maintenance staff. When dealing with mold the best offense is to determine the cause of the intrusion and the best defense is to dry everything within 24 hours. It is also important to remember the use of bleach is unnecessary. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) both recommend the use of detergents instead of bleach. Bleach is a very strong chemical (it is a biocide) and is not needed to clean areas properly.

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