NC lawmaker looks to address "mold problems in housing" with new legislation

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A North Carolina state lawmaker is looking to address mold problems in housing with new legislation.

"Our hope is that we can modernize our standards, are state housing standards, so that they're reflective of the realities that we're facing," NC State House of Representative (D) Chaz Beasley told FOX 46 Charlotte.

FOX 46 has reported, at length, about mold issues at rental housing complexes across the region.

FOX 46 found out that City of Charlotte Code Enforcement does not issue violations for mold.

That came to light during a FOX 46 investigation into Lake Arbor Apartments. FOX 46's stories, highlighting complaints from tenants, led to code enforcement inspecting every apartment on the property (nearly 300 units) and violations were found in every unit.

Still, mold is one of the biggest concerns for residents and both the city and the Mecklenburg County Health Department do not regulate mold issues.

"I think everyone understands that people living the way folks are living in Lake Arbor is completely unacceptable," Beasley said.

On top of west Charlotte's Lake Arbor, FOX 46 has reported about mold issues at North Cross Townhomes in north Charlotte and Heritage Park Apartments in east Charlotte. Management for each of these properties has not responded to our follow-up requests about the state of their conditions.

FOX 46 recently received multiple complaints about mold concerns at The Reserve at Providence in south Charlotte.

Carolyn Harris, who is one them, lived at the Reserve and sent FOX 46 test results that showed her apartment tested positive for "heavy" levels of Ascospores and Cladosporium. 

Harris said the Reserve moved her family of eight (six children and two adults) into a different apartment but she provided FOX 46 with test results that showed the new apartment also tested positive for mold.

The new apartment tested for "very heavy" levels of Chaetomium and Stachybotrys, according to documentation from Page Inspections Plus, Inc.

Page Inspections Plus, Inc. preformed both tests.

Harris showed FOX 46 letters from their Atrium Health doctor, who expressed "concern" about their family's potential living conditions.

Harris and her family recently moved out of the apartment. She said property management was reluctant to fully remediate the mold issues and would not move her to a third apartment.

"Frustrating," Harris, who is deaf, said to FOX 46 through an interpreter. 

FOX 46 reached out to the Reserve for comment. We had multiple phone conversations with their public relations specialist, Sara Jendrush (HCK2 Partners).

Jendrusch told FOX 46 (on Jan. 2) that, "We will do our best to provide a written response by end of week..."

Jendrusch has not responded since then or to a follow-up email.

Rep. Beasley has not released specific language for the bill he's drafting but said he plans for it to be introduced soon.

"We've already sent language over to our bill drafting division," Rep. Beasley said. "We're going to take that to our stakeholders, get buy-in, make sure that we have a solution that works in practical-real life, and that's going to hopefully not only get relief for the folks who are dealing with this at Lake Arbor but also get solutions going forward because we don't want to create a bill that addresses things in the past but doesn't prevent these types of problems from arising in the future.

"We want to file a bill this session and we want to get it passed this session because the people at Lake Arbor cannot wait another year or another two years to get results."