Fox 2 KTVU News is reporting on a California family from the Bay area in the city of Danville who became very sick over a 15 month period after they had rented a million dollar property. The family discovered they had a severe mold problem only after several visits to doctors, who were unable to explain the health issues experienced by their children.
They had a mold test done by an inspector who found large heavy amounts of black mold covering the beams in the attic that apparently came from a leaky roof. Danville city’s chief building inspector had yellow-tagged, and restricted access to the mold infested home.
The city’s decision to yellow tag the property was the result of California’s new mold law, Senate Bill 655 which adds visible mold growth to the list of dangerous health California mold law conditions which define substandard housing in the state’s Health and Safety Code.(Cal. Health & Safety Code §17920.3). The owner of a rental property cited as by a local (city or county) code inspector substandard is required to repair the substandard condition.
Lori Bonavist and her husband, John, told KTVU that the home made their kids sick for months: coughs, sore throats, nosebleeds, and wheezing.
“Everything is here because anything we take out is contaminated,” said Lori, pointing to neat rooms full of furniture and possessions. All of their belongings have been declared off-limits by cleaning companies because of toxic mold spores.
Said Lori: “They found penicillium and aspergillas toxic mold spores in the air quality in high levels.”
The couple recalls that the night they took their 7-year-old daughter to the hospital because of severe breathing problems they vowed to find the source of the problem.
“We had to do something,” Lori said. “And we knew there had to be something wrong in this house that’s causing this.”
It turned out the mold readings, inside the house, were some 20 times higher than outdoors, and hazardous to the family’s health.
“The minute those results were in our hands and we saw them, we left,” she said. “We took the kids and we left.
Within days, Danville yellow-tagged the house: visits are OK but, no overnight stays.
“I’m the one who posted the placard for their safety,” Chief Building Inspector Mike Leontiades said. “But at the same time its difficult for a husband and wife and family to move out and have their normal lives disrupted.”
“We’re essentially homeless, and relying on family to get us through this, so it’s really challenging,” John Bonavist said, adding that they are living with relatives while the matter is resolved.