New Port Richey, Florida- A single mother and her daughter thought they'd found the perfect place to live, but within months they realized there's an unwelcome visitor- mold.
The mother, Nicole Nikolic, says when the property manager ignored the problem, she moved out.
Nikolic said the mold in her apartment was so bad, she and her daughter started having health problems.
Her father stepped in ordered a quality air report study and found that indeed, the levels of mold were abnormally high.
"I have a house infested with mold," said Nicole.
The mold in her New Port Richey apartment took over her eight-year-old daughter's bedroom behind the wallpaper.
"I noticed the wall changing color, pulled it back and revealed all mold behind it. It was very devastating."
Nicole moved in the Ranchside apartment in July. At first, she noticed a strange smell.
"They tried hiding it with the wallpaper. I thought it was the wallpaper or glue," Nicole explained.
By November, Nicole said she and her daughter, Channe,l started feeling sick from the mold. At the time she was four months pregnant.
"Runny nose, headache, asthma, breathing- I had tightness in my chest and coughing," described Nicole.
The single mother said she and her daughter could smell the mold and taste it.
"It was strong mildew. We could taste it even."
And that's when they noticed the mold coming through the paint and growing in the closet.
"Mold is growing on our belongings," said Nicole as she held up one of her shoes covered with mold.
"The place is contaminated with active mold growth," said Microbiologist Doctor Rajiv Sahay with Pure Air Control Services.
The mold count in the Nicole's apartment is abnormally high, and Sahay said living under these high concentrations of mold could be dangerous to one's health with prolonged exposure.
The inspector found mold in the air conditioner ducts, growing from inside the walls, in the air and on surfaces- plus high levels of humidity in the apartment.
"I tried going to the manager's office four and five times, but got no response," Nicole said.
Nicole has since moved out and says because of the mold contamination, she can't take her belongings with her.
"Mold is on it growing; I lost everything. I'm a single mom and it's overwhelming- the stress." Nicole explained. "I don't have anything in my house, but we are safe- me and my child."
While Nicole said the property manager knew about the mold problem, the district manager said she just learned about it.
Tori Boyd said she is already making repairs on Nicole's apartment. A contractor is ripping out the sheet rock, pulling up the carpet and vinyl floor in the bathroom and treating the other rooms, boyd explained.
According to the district manager, she never received a formal complaint about the mold until recently.
Nicole said she simply wants out of her lease and reimbursement for her damaged furniture and other belongings.
Boyd told 10 News that our cameras will be allowed back in Nicole's apartment to see the repairs when the work is finished.