Woman gets ill in Meridian rental after mold discovery

MERIDIAN, Idaho - So you move into a new rental home and shortly thereafter realize something is not quite right.

"I started smelling the closet a lot," Jacqueline Hutton said.

Within days of moving to her Meridian rental, Hutton says her place was making her sick and she thought mold was the problem.

"(I had) congestion and my nose started bleeding," Hutton said.

She says her landlord denied there was a problem so she hired a mold inspector to investigate.

As it turned out, there was a clear indication that Aspergillus Niger was present. This mold is not found outside the home so it shows there is a mold problem indoors. It produces toxins known to make people sick.

"Once I got the results the inspector recommended I get out immediately so I did," Hutton said.

The Truth Squad wanted answers so we went to the Consumer Protection Division of the Idaho Attorney General's Office. What we found out might be surprising.

"Is there something specific in the landlord tenant statute that addresses mold? No."

That's not all, generally, Idaho law does not allow tenants to withhold rent based on unsafe living conditions and it does not allow renters to fix a problem and deduct the repair bill from rent.

To increase protections from mold for renters, any change would have to come from the Idaho Legislature in the form of a new law.

For Hutton, she couldn't wait for a new law out of the statehouse. She packed up and left.

"I'm relieved to be out of that situation and exercising a lot of discernment in looking for another house," Hutton said.

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