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Mold in Rental House Creates Concern | Business

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Mold in Rental House Creates Concern

AUSTELL, GA --  When the 'For Rent' sign went up at 2912 Pavia Circle in Austell, neighbors were concerned.

"I don't think they really went in and did the strip out," Robert Ledbetter told the Center for Investigative Action. 

Many houses on the street remain gutted and neighbors are concerned that the house that is now up for rent may not be fit to live in. That's why we called the landlord, Kathy Edgerly, to take a look. She told us to go on in; the door was unlocked. We only told her our first name; she never asked for any more information about us.

However, before we went inside the house, we headed to EMSL Analytical in Atlanta to get a lesson about how to take air and surface samples for mold.  The EPA says indoor mold is a health hazard and although Georgia and Cobb County have no laws addressing mold in rental properties, people can have serious reactions and adverse health effects from it.

The mold counts we found at 2912 Pavia Circle were through the roof, when you compare our results to what is normally found in indoor air. Dr. Daoxin Li of EMSL Analytical analyzed our samples. He says indoor air, in a normal Atlanta area home, would have a mold count of between 200 and 600. The rental house at 2912 Pavia Circle had a mold count of 110,000. 

Dr. Li warned us about going back in without proper protection. "You probably need to put on some respirators to protect yourself", he said. 

Mold has been a major concern following last year's flooding because, if things aren't done properly, there could be serious health issues.

Prior to our results being released, we wanted to hear how the landlord, Kathy Edgerly, was pitching the property.  So using a hidden camera we talked to her. 

"It's a highly mixed neighborhood. It's safe, but mostly blacks and Mexicans," Edgerly said.  We didn't push further about her description of the neighborhood, we focused on the safety of the house.

We asked about the smell. "Yeah, I wiped down the walls with bleach," she said. Edgerly says it's one of 8 homes that she rents and says she's never lived in the house.

Edgerly told us she did all the cleanup work herself, ripping out the insulation and drywall and replacing it.  She told us the house flooded and that the water only came in 2 to 3 inches.

Neighbors we spoke to told us the water was high. Anthony Davis, who lives next door to the rental house, said he saw the water go up the side of the house more than a few inches.

Cobb County did an assessment on all 700 homes flooded in the county last year. We got our hands on that report, which shows 2912 Pavia Circle suffered major damage.

After getting the final lab results on the rental home, we went to Kathy Edgerly's Marietta neighborhood and found her walking her dogs. We tried to show her the results and concerns about the air quality inside her rental house. She wasn't interested. 

"No, the story is the government not doing anything and the government not doing anything because Austell was the one that allowed the flooding to happen," she said as she walked away.

The state has no laws to protect you from mold, so you have to ask a lot of questions and do a complete inspection yourself before you rent.


Click here for reports on all 700 homes that were flooded in Cobb County last year.      

 Click here for more links to mold issues from Georgia's Department of Health. 

Click here to see Georgia Landlord Tenants Handbook. 

Click here for information about mold remediation.