A Richmond Heights resident, formerly in the 7400 block of Warner Avenue, moved out because the landlord, Robert Tufts of Columbia, MO, never fixed problems like mushroom-like mold in the basement and water dripping through the ceiling eventually causing it to fall. He’s taking her to court for not paying the last month’s rent, plus damages.
The resident, who wanted her name withheld, recited a long list of grievances in a chance meeting at Richmond Heights City Hall on Thursday. She called him a “total slumlord.”
She stopped paying rent, telling Tufts she’ll pay rent when the house is up to code — “when things aren’t falling and breaking.” She put the money into a separate saving account, then she used it to move.
Among the issues:
- Rodent problems, outside underneath the kitchen sink
- The floors were never finished. “They looked like cardboard when I moved in because he ripped up the linoleum. I had to finish them. I still got splinters because they were corroding because everything was leaking.”
- Mold growing in the basement, was “mushroom-looking.” The pipes “constantly” leaked in the basement — “could have probably taken a shower.”
- There was mold in the house and my baby was sick and the ceiling leaked over her crib. I went to feed her in the middle of the night, I pick her up. She’s sopping wet. I turned the light on, it was dripping on her forehead. He told me, ‘move the crib.’
- The radiator upstairs was leaking and he never fixed it. He just patched it and made the guy stop using his radiator. He gave us space heaters, which one of mine – the outlet caught on fire in her room.
- Cut down trees and left them in the yard, making the fence bow
- Never installed the air-conditioning units in the windows even though it was 85 in the house. “I had to have a co-working come and and help me bring them upstairs and put them in. One of them didn’t work so I had to go buy my own unit for her [baby’s] bedroom.”
- There was no inspection when she moved in.
- He showed up unannounced. She called the police twice when he did this.
- “The last straw — my ceiling fell in the shower, and when the ceiling fell my whole house filled with the smell of mold so my daughter had to stay at my mom’s house for almost two weeks. I was looking for a place already. Once that ceiling fell I had to get her out of that house.
Her court date is later this month. Tufts seeking the last month’s rent plus $1,800 in damage. The resident plans to go with a list of violations given her from the city. She also has two incident reports from the police department from when the landlord tried to enter the house unauthorized.