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Bowmanville family signs apartment lease, discovers ‘a whole bunch of mould’

Ronnie Morrison says he has been taking many photos of his Bowmanville apartment, including this one pictured here of a ceiling damaged by a leak, to use as evidence in his case against his landlord. .
Ronnie Morrison says he has been taking many photos of his Bowmanville apartment, including this one pictured here of a ceiling damaged by a leak, to use as evidence in his case against his landlord. . Jasmine Pazzano/Global News

Ronnie Morrison lived in his Bowmanville, Ont., apartment with his family for two days before he discovered stains on his son’s bedroom ceiling.

“We moved in not knowing anything about previous leaks,” said Morrison, who started living in the apartment on June 1. “The water damage started getting worse and worse. It moved to other bedrooms.”

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Morrison says his family has been forced to move out of the apartment due to the mould that has built up throughout the space because it is in disrepair. He claims his landlord and superintendent have failed to permanently fix the problem.

“When I asked [the landlord] to come in and pull the drywall down to air it out…to allow the water to escape, he told me to go do it myself. So, I did that.”

It was then that he discovered many leaks and rust on the infrastructure that was behind the drywall as well as “a whole bunch of mould,” he said, gesturing to a metal beam spotted with fungus.

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He says the superintendent hired a roofer in June before he took matters into his own hands, but nothing was done to fix the problem.

Morrison says he brought in a friend to look at the roof with him, and he told the superintendent and landlord “that he could fix it.”

“They said, ‘Okay, well, let’s just Band-Aid it.’ He said, ‘No, I’m not putting a Band-Aid on that roof because I’m not [becoming] involved with any type of insurance problems if something goes wrong.'”

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His fiancĂ©e, Nicole Harrison, says their three-month-old daughter, Hazel, fell ill in June, and a doctor told them it was likely due to exposure to the mould. “She had a really deep cough, and I thought she was going to have to get a puffer,” she said. “There was goop all over her eyes and she had a really hard time feeding because her nose was stuffed.”

Morrison asked the landlord to pay for him and his family to stay at a hotel, he says, but the landlord only paid for a week’s stay, and the hotel was unlivable. They have since moved in with a family member of Harrison’s until they can find a new space to rent.

He says he has filed complaints with the Landlord and Tenant Board, and part of what he is asking for is his money back for renting the apartment. He’s still locked into a one-year lease, which requires him to pay the landlord $1,250 per month plus utilities, he says.

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Paralegal Lee-Anne Moore, whose primary area of practice is landlord and tenant issues, says the Residential Tenancies Act “is going to be their best friend.”

“[The landlord] is breaking a law if he is failing to repair,” she said, adding the burden is on the landlord to prove he has been given a reasonable opportunity to fix the apartment’s issues. “If their case is strong enough, they’ll get money back.”

Global News spoke with the landlord, who says he is open to speaking with the family to resolve the issues but has yet to hear from them.

Morrison says he and his family will never live in the apartment again. “I just hope that the next person [who] moves in there doesn’t have to go through the same problems that we’ve gone through.”