SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Sevierville woman has had to send her kids to live with relatives because her mobile home is unhealthy to live in. The mother of three said the trailer she rents is filled with mold.
She stopped paying her rent, and then just recently she was sent a 30-day notice, saying she owes more than $1,000. Amanda Trentham said last year part of her kitchen was flooded and recently her hot water heater broke. She said a few repairs were made, but there is still mold throughout her home.
So, she withheld part of her rent for the past few months and refused to pay her most recent rent. Now management is threatening to evict her.
Trentham showed WATE the unrepaired drywall behind her stove that had been soaked from rainwater.
“This was actually falling down into my stove when you tried to cook. I guess the moisture from it was making it fall down,” said Trentham.
She’s cleaned the cabinet below the sink, but you can see where it had been wet from the leak in the wall.
“When it rained this whole stove would be covered in water which was running down unto the electrical panel. You can see the outside of the trailer through the crack right there. This is where all the mold comes in,” she said.
Trentham said her hot water heater started leaking several weeks ago. The leak was plugged, but you can see sheetrock on one side of the water heater that’s moldy and deteriorating.
“The wall has actually caved in,” said Trentham.
She moved everything out of the water heater area because of the mold. There is more mold underneath the sink in her bathroom. There’s mold built up on the wall of her bathroom cabinet. Another leak, a bad one, came from a hole in her bathtub.
“We let them know a little over a year ago, it was flooding onto the floor. They came in, took the wall down to see where it was leaking. They never put the wall back,” said Trentham. “They never came in to repair it. There is mold in the window sills all the way down, it’s in every window in my house.”
Trentham said her entire home is molded.
“I’ve contacted the office. I have even talked to the owner personally,” said Trentham.
Trentham and her husband moved out of their bedroom several weeks ago.
“There is too much mold. It’s hard to breathe at night if you try to sleep in here. I’ve woke up gasping for air in the middle of the night having to use a breathing treatment,” said Trentham.
The couple set up their bed and other furnishings in the living room. Their three children presently live with relatives nearby. They don’t want their kids around the mold that’s filled their home.
The couple lives at the Deerfield Park development in Sevierville. Right now, they pay $800 a month but rent is going up $1,100. Amanda was sent a demand letter from management earlier this month.
“I have 14 days to pay $1,150. If not, I have to be out in 30 days which would put it October the 8th because they said it would be 30 days from the letter,” said Trentham.
Trentham sent a punch list of repairs when new management took over the park.
“At one point they were going to put me into a different trailer. They were going to fix one and put me in it. They are no longer wanting to do that,” said Trentham.
She said a new door was installed last year because it didn’t lock. However, the repairman left a sizable gap above the door.
“They said they’d be back out the next day to finish it. They have not,” said Trentham.
Mold can also be seen all around her mobile home.
“We’ve tried to clean it. It don’t go nowhere,” said Trentham.
WATE reached out to the management at Deerfield Park. The company sent a statement regarding conditions at Trentham’s mobile home.
The Virginia-based company said since it took over the mobile home park two years ago multiple improvements were made to Trentham’s unit Maintenance performed at this unit, including but not limited to the following:
- Installation of new stove
- Installation of new 3-ton heat pump system
- Installation of new refrigerator
- Installation of new dishwasher
- Installation of new front doors
- Multiple Plumbing Repairs performed by maintenance staff
- Total expenses to date not including on site staff repairs $8,411.69
However, during an inspection of the unit, our staff determined the home did not meet our quality standards at the time of the original lease, signed with the previous owner. Conversations were documented with Ms. Trentham discussing the best course of action would be to terminate her lease, which would allow maintenance to upgrade and perform necessary repairs to the home which would not be feasible during occupancy. To provide Ms. Trentham with more quality housing, she was offered a comparable-sized unit to move to which the company recently had invested $40,000 in repairs and upgrades into. Ms. Trentham declined the home offered to her, stating she wanted a specific home which was not yet available for occupancy.
Ms. Trentham has not notified management that she has vacated the home, nor has Ms. Trentham given notice to the landlord that there are maintenance issues in the home which are failing to provide essential services and it is her intent to withhold rent until the completion of repairs which is required by Tennessee law.
Subsequently, in accordance with company policy, notice of intent to file legal action for failure to pay rent was provided to Ms. Trentham and the other leaseholder when the rent was not received. At this point, no legal action has been filed in the court system. Management now has reason to believe Ms. Trentham has vacated the home. If Ms. Trentham notifies management she has vacated the home and surrenders the keys, no legal action will be taken.Statment from Deerfield Mobile Home Park
Trentham said she does not plan on paying the $1,100 in back rent because her home is not safe.
The state’s landlord-tenant act says if you have an unhealthy condition in your rental home here is what you need to do. Report any needed repairs to the landlord, and put your concerns in writing. This creates a record. Mold is considered an “Unhealthy” condition” under the landlord-tenant act.
Trentham said while her landlord tried to get rid of the mold, it’s been a real struggle continuing to deal with it. Right now management at her park is ready to take her to court if necessary.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to include a statement from Deerfield Mobile Home Park.