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Woman questions board on black mold

Article originally sourced from

"LISBON — A woman who previously lived in a home she alleged had black mold in the downstairs apartment, questioned members of the Columbiana County Board of Health on Wednesday about what can be done about the situation.

The woman appeared before the board stating she was looking for answers after she was forced by her health conditions to move out of the home where she lived in North Georgetown. She told the board she was hospitalized four times and her doctor told her she must move out and leave anything not washable, such as her furniture, behind because of the mold. She said she painted the bathroom when she moved in and saw evidence of the mold in that bathroom appearing later. Her landlord reportedly told her the bathroom was purple and she covered it with cheap paint. However, the woman disagreed and at one point went into the unoccupied downstairs apartment where there was a lot more mold visible.

The woman said she previously lived in Mahoning County, where such a home would be condemned. She has since moved back to Mahoning County, but was concerned because she believes there are now two more people living in the upstairs apartment.

Admitting the property is owned by her ex-boyfriend’s father, the woman also had a list of outside complaints, such as junk appliances stored behind a garage, a garage with the roof caving in and possible septic problems.

Lori Barnes, the health department’s environmental director, told the board she went to the property and knocked on the door of the upstairs apartment. If anyone is living there, she said no one answered the door. Additionally, she saw no evidence the septic aeration system installed in 2005 is failing. Barnes said she also talked to the owner of the property and told him if the building does have mold he should have the situation remedied before he rents it out.

Members of the health board suggested Barnes return and look for any outdoor complaints which need to be addressed, but it was noted by Board President Dr. Jack Amato, the health department does not have any jurisdiction inside homes. Many years ago, the board of health considered having a housing code like they have in Mahoning County, but there were many people in Columbiana County who appeared and voiced opposition to the idea.

Board member Shawn Apple said he knows those providing Section Eight housing have their apartments regularly inspected, but that is not the case with other apartments. However, Apple said in his opinion, people will not continue to rent a property from someone who is not keeping it up.

“We cannot control where someone lives,” Amato said, “and if someone chooses to live in those kinds of conditions, that’s their free choice.”"

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