Resident worries mold infestation in apartment complex a health hazard for tenants

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — Leaks at the Alex Place Apartments in Colorado Springs are causing the spread of black mold, and the problem remains unresolved after months of complaining from tenants.

One of the tenants, Walter Hillery, walks into his bathroom and pulls away the tile to reveal rotting floor and black mold. Just on the other side of the wall, on the outside of his apartment, reads a note in black marker, “Tub Leak.”

“When the living conditions are like this, it’s totally unacceptable,” Hillery said.

Hillery moved into the Alex Place Apartments at 1009 North Alexander Road, east of Downtown Colorado Springs, in 2016. He said there were problems from the beginning that only required minor fixes.

It wasn’t until the historic amount of rainfall in May and June, that Hillery started realizing the structural deficiencies of the apartment complex. Videos from recent storms show rain leaking through his doorframe and windows and running down the inside of his apartment.

He said the balcony above his apartment slants backwards, toward the building, funneling all the rain right to his apartment. In the last two months, black mold has started growing underneath his living room carpet and in the floors and walls of his bathroom.

The property management company, Griffis Blessing, only did “band aid fixes,” according to Hillery. They sucked the water out of the carpet and blow dried the apartment for three days. But another storm ruined any temporary fixes.

“It became critical two months ago with the amount of rain we had and all the storms back-to-back,” Hillery said.

He filed complaints in May with both the property management company and the owners, Grand West Properties, but no long-term fixes were ever done, he said. 13 Investigates contacted both Griffis Blessing and Grand West Properties but we never heard back.

Then in June, his apartment tested positive for black mold and asbestos.

“There was mold in my building so there’s got to be mold in many of these others as well,” he said. “It’s just total negligence and disregard for the health and safety of the tenants.”

His apartment isn’t the only one with mold infestation. A couple of months ago, Hillery walked into a vacant apartment at the other complex building across the parking lot.

“It’s disgusting,” he said. “The whole inside is just covered in black mold. Just absolutely covered. Every room.”

Pictures he took show the place with black mold, from floor to ceiling.

“My concern for the people on that side is that mold is spreading throughout the entire building,” he said.

Despite positive test results, neither the management company or the owners fixed the problems, so Hillery just left. He said he also filed complaints with the City of Colorado Springs.

“I still had no word from them to do anything,” he said. “That’s when I decided to leave the property. I’m not going to be exposed to toxic mold and asbestos.”

He stayed with friends for awhile until he learned his apartment was going to be remodeled on July 13 — two months after he raised concerns about the leaks and mold. In the meantime, the property owners are paying for him to stay at a motel.

Once the remodel is done, Hillery said he will move back in because he has no other choice.

“I just don’t have the finances to move into a place that’s going to be $400, $500, $600 a month more,” he said.

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