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Apartment complex residents have mold concerns

Posted at 6:19 PM, Dec 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-10 20:19:00-05
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Several residents of a northeast side apartment complex say their units are contaminated with mold, but no one will help them.
 
They reached out to 9OYS after at least three people became ill with what they say are symptoms of mold exposure. 
 
Yvette Glinski says when she first moved in to her apartment at Sunrise Ridge, she smelled what she thought was mildew. 
 
"They always said 'It's an old building, it's old pipes, that's what you're smelling,'" said Glinski.
 
But then her teenage son became sick. 
 
"Continuously had runny noses, congestion, sore throats and eventually ended up having pneumonia," she said.
 
Glinski says she started to suspect mold when she came home from work one day. 
 
"I just happened to glance up at my vents and they were covered in black," she said.
 
She contacted her apartment manager and told them she wanted to hire a professional inspector. Glinski says the apartment complex told her they had an inspector but that Glinski would not be allowed to see the report, so Glinksi says she moved forward with her own professional. 
 
9OYS obtained a copy of the inspection conducted by a certified indoor environmental consultant that Glinski hired. The report shows actual mold growth in the living room air register and the master bedroom air ductwork. According to the consultant, while no environment is mold free, the mold growth in Glinski's case is not normal.
 
The apartment complex then sent its inspector to conduct an air sample in Glinski's unit. Their report from the apartment's inspector shows "no significant" mold spores were present.
 
The apartment complex then said they would clean Glinski's ducts.
 
9OYS reached out to the apartment manager but was told we'd have to go through their parent company MEB management services. A spokeswoman with the company sent 9OYS an emailed response that read in part: 
"Ms. Glinski's allegations simply have no merit. There was no mold issue in her apartment at Sunrise Ridge, and we consistently and diligently addressed all of her maintenance issues, as we do with all of our residents."
 
According to Pima County Code Enforcement, there is no code that governs conditions inside rental units. The health department also says they can not address mold concerns because they don't have the code. Both agencies referred us to the Arizona Residential and Landlord Tenant Act. 
 
"There's nothing in place to help us or protect us,"
 
Glinksi has since moved out of the complex and says she and her son are starting to feel better but are still seeing a mold specialist. 
 
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Below is the full statement from MEB Management Services sent to 9OYS:
 
"My name is Luz Bruscini, Asset Director with MEB Management Services, which professionally manages Sunrise Ridge Apartments, and I am responding to the allegations former resident Yvette Glinski has made to KGUN9 about Sunrise Ridge.
 
As an initial matter, our management team and staff strive to provide excellent customer service to all the residents of Sunrise Ridge Apartments, including Ms. Glinski. We take reports of mold in residences very seriously, and we take all necessary steps to quickly assess the possible presence of mold and take appropriate remedial measures. In particular, we promptly and diligently responded to all Ms. Glinski's maintenance requests while she resided at Sunrise Ridge, including her complaint of mold in the apartment. However, despite our best efforts to investigate her mold complaint in August 2015, she repeatedly impeded our efforts to investigate and address the alleged mold issue. She refused our maintenance staff and the professional cleaning contractors we hired access to inspect her apartment and perform remediation for at least seven days. Her actions violated Arizona Residential Landlord and Resident Act Section 33-1343(B), which requires residents to permit entry to the landlord to inspect and make necessary repairs in response to a resident maintenance request. Despite Ms. Glinski's un-cooperative position, we continued to work with her to address her allegations concerning the presence of mold. In fact, we went as far as to offer her free transfer to another apartment at Sunrise Ridge, which she repeatedly refused.
 
Despite what Ms. Glinski may claim, there has never been a problem with mold in Ms. Glinski's apartment. The mold inspection ordered by Ms. Glinski's on August was very vague and provided no real test results measuring the level of spores within her home. The inspection appears to have tested for the mere presence of mold, which is not informative. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC") and other leading health and safety agencies, mold is a natural part of the environment and is found basically everywhere indoors and outdoors. It is not surprising that testing Ms. Glinski's apartment for the presence of mold would yield positive results. The test she had conducted did not test for the level of mold, nor did it compare the presence and concentration of mold spores between her apartment and the outdoor environment. Furthermore, once Ms. Glinski allowed us access to her apartment, we inspected all of the areas of concern mentioned in her report, including cleaning the air vents and ductwork.
 
In addition to making all necessary repairs, we went above and beyond what was necessary by conducting our own mold assessment of her apartment from a certified mold inspector that measured mold spore concentration levels. The mold test we conducted confirmed that there were no "significant" mold spore concentration levels in the apartment. It would be impossible for Sunrise Ridge, or anyone for that matter, to ensure that Ms. Glinski's apartment was mold free, because as I discussed above mold exists everywhere. However, we have been diligent in ensuring that there are no significant levels of mold or any mold level that would cause concern in any of the apartments at Sunrise Ridge. A copy of the September 2, 2015 mold inspection of Ms. Glinski's former apartment is attached to this Response.
 
We are shocked and saddened by Ms. Glinski's allegations of feeling "bullied" by our management staff at Sunrise Ridge. We made every effort to address her concerns in a timely and professional manner. In contrast, Ms. Glinski repeatedly put up roadblocks to us actually make any necessary repairs, including refusing to allow us access to her apartment for a significant period of time. Ms. Glinski was never blocked from accessing the results of the mold inspection we had conducted on September 2, 2015.
 
Ms. Glinski's allegations simply have no merit. There was no mold issue in her apartment at Sunrise Ridge, and we consistently and diligently addressed all of her maintenance issues, as we do with all of our residents."