Mold in Military Housing is Linked to Serious Health Issues

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A report published in Feb. 2019 highlighted the terrible conditions some families endure in military housing in the United States. The survey came as no surprise to the attorneys at the Smith Law Center who have represented many people who fell sick due to toxic mold exposure in military housing.

The survey published by the Military Family Advisory Network found that more than half of respondents who lived in privatized military housing over three years reported negative experiences. 

Mold in military housing caused serious health problems to the residents of these units. The report noted numerous emergency room visits by children and other residents who suffered the ill effects of toxic mold.

The report from the Military and Family Advisory Network followed an online survey. The network received 16,000 responses from military families across the United States. About 56 percent of those surveyed reported base housing living conditions as "negative" or "very negative.”

The report contains the following alarming conclusions:

  • Families across all branches of the military live in dangerous situations. The issues they face include toxic black mold, faulty wiring, lead paint, bad water quality, vermin, and other wildlife, and hazardous pesticides.

  • Families routinely report illnesses with life-long implications caused by bad housing conditions.

  • Their calls for help are often ignored by housing companies.

  • Families said housing company representatives and sometimes military command try to silence their complaints. Several said they received threats and fear retribution.

Military Families Report Serious Health Issues from Mold

A report on CNBC noted when 2nd Lt. Lance Konzen received his first military assignment, he moved into military housing on his base at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas.

The Konzens were unaware mold was growing in the vents of their new home. Their daughter Megan suffered from respiratory problems and visited the emergency room on numerous occasions.  The family said the private company managing their home failed to provide maintenance or to clean the home thoroughly after they reported the mold.

CBS News reported the horrendous conditions faced by Josh and Lacy Saindon who have lived in a house at Ft. Meade in Maryland for more than two years. The Air Force pays a basic housing allowance of $2,200 a month directly to Corvias Military Living, a contractor, CBS reported,

From the beginning, appliances started breaking down. The family noted siding warping on their eight-year-old house. They suspected mold was growing on the floor and affecting their children’s health. Their kids suffered frequent sinus infections, colds, and ear infections.

Navy wife Shannon Raszadin, collected more than 7,000 complaints through the Military Family Advisory Network.

She said military tenants complained of black mold, rats, lead paint, roaches, and bats.

Legislators Investigate Mold in Military Housing 

The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing in February to investigate issues with the controversial military housing privatization program. More than 200,000 homes nationwide are managed by private contractors on military bases.

The Pentagon pays about $4 billion every year in rent to private housing contractors who manage properties service personnel live in, according to Reuters.

Many of these homes are in a poor state of repair, legislators heard.

Lawmakers criticized military officials for their lack of oversight over military housing and a gap in accountability about the problem. 

What Are The Effects of Toxic Mold on Health? 

Toxic mold can have a very serious impact on human health. Because the symptoms are wide-ranging and similar to other condition, people often fail to realize the mold spores caused their illness. The effects of toxic mold include:

1.    Poor memory and issues with speech;

2.    Concentration problems;

3.    Respiratory problems and shortness of breath;

4.    Constant temperature changes;

5.    Chronic coughs and sinus congestion;

6.    Night sweats;

7.    Mood swings;

8.    Dizziness;

9.    A metallic taste in the mouth.

Hampton Roads has a large military population. Many military families live in properties in a poor state of repair managed by private companies. It’s a scandal that people who serve their country should be treated in this manner.

Toxic mold and lead paint are extremely dangerous for children. Exposure to these hazards can cause life-long health issues. Under Virginia law, families have the right to be protected from mold and lead paint.

What is the Right to be Protected from Toxic Mold Under Virginia Law?

Landlords must disclose the presence of mold in their units.  Under Virginia code, the landlord must disclose visible evidence of mold during a move-in inspection as required by § 55-248.11:1.

The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act requires landlords to remove mold from homes in accordance with professional standards and to relocate tenants into a mold-free living space until all mold has been removed at no cost to the tenant.

Your Rights if You Have Been Harmed by Toxic Mold in Virginia

If you or a family member has been harmed by toxic mold, you may have grounds to sue a landlord or a property company. These cases are complicated and you should talk to a lawyer with a history of handling these cases.

Mold in military housing is a serious issue. At the Smith Law Center, we have represented military families who were harmed by toxic mold in lawsuits. Please call us today at 757.244.7000.