Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

Article and Video Courtesy of Channel 8 -- WFLA

By Shannon Behnken  

Published September 1, 2014

 Watch VIDEO


ST PETERSBURG, FL -- Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers.    

She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes. There's mold covering the countertops and the walls, and it's slowly creeping into other condos. 


"This is not just my life," she said. "There's other people that live here."


The condo next door is empty. Her former neighbor walked away in the middle of a foreclosure in June 2013, according to public records. So Ramos called the condo association. She says she called the bank listed as trustee of the condo, Wells Fargo. She called the Realtor trying to sell the condo. The condo at Windward Pointed is listed on for sale. The listing mentions nothing about the mold. And nothing has happened to contain the mold or start to remove it. 

Ramos is worried about her health now, and in the future. 

"I don't know from 6 months to a year from now, and how long it's going to take them to actually do action," I'm calling you guys because they're not taking action."


The Pinellas County Health Department confirmed the mold problem and told Ramos it's even bigger than she realized. 

Environmental Specialist Julie Longen didn't even have to go inside the moldy condo to discover big problems. 

"I just looked through the window which is as close as we want to get ever without any sort of equipment or respirators or protection."


She tested the air quality in Ramos' condo and said the humidity is elevated and she needs to fight the mold quickly with a dehumidifier. But that will only buy her some time, Longen said. Mold always takes over, unless it is killed. 

Longen said removing this kind of mold can be a serious process that could be very costly. 

Ramos called 8 On Your Side and we tracked down the servicer in charge of caring for the property, Nationstar Bank. Spokesman John Hoffmann reviewed the photos for News Channel 8 and read Longen's inspection report. Hoffmann said bank executives agreed that this is a serious problem, affecting the health of nearby residents. He said a management team would visit the property tonight and come up with an action plan. They could start tearing out the mold next week, he said.