Broadway man says apartment mold made him sick and killed his cat

The Highlands Apartments in Broadway.
The Highlands Apartments in Broadway.(WHSV)
Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 9:10 PM EDT
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BROADWAY, Va. (WHSV) - A Broadway man is sharing his story after leaving his apartment due to mold spores that he said made him sick and killed his cat. William Jackson said that the management at The Highlands Apartments in Broadway did nothing to fix the problem and terminated his lease because of his complaints.

“I didn’t cause the water damage, I didn’t cause the mold and mildew, now I’m evicted and I’m the bad guy? I haven’t done anything but just tried to live here. I even asked them if they could put me in another apartment and they wouldn’t do that,” said Jackson.

Jackson has spent the last two months living out of his car and staying with friends. He said he had to leave his apartment because of lingering mold spores that took a toll on his health.

“In June, I started noticing I was having breathing problems, coughing, sick, my cats were laying around. I said ‘Ok maybe it’s just my sinuses blah blah blah.’ Well come to find out it was mold and mildew,” said Jackson.

Jackson lived in the apartment from October 2020 until July 2022. He said the mold problem began with two incidents of water damage. The first incident occurred in November when an electrician accidentally broke a water pipe that flooded Jackson’s apartment and displaced him for three and a half months.

Then in April, the apartment’s hot water heater busted and Jackson had to go back to a hotel until late May.

After he returned to the apartment and eventually realized that mold in the walls and under the carpet was causing him to feel sick, Jackson said he notified The Highlands management of the issue but nothing was done even after he sent a sample to a lab that confirmed the presence of mold spores in his apartment.

“I would go to the office and I would ask them about it and they wouldn’t do anything. They said the maintenance man said he doesn’t smell mold, so that was the end of that,” said Jackson.

Jackson is disabled and has asthma. He said the mold spores made his health significantly worse and he is still being affected by it even after moving out.

“I can’t breathe. I’ve taken antibiotics for it. I’ve been to the ENT. I’ve been to MedExpress. I’ve been to the emergency room, so basically I keep taking antibiotics to get what mold is still in here out,” he said.

For Jackson, the worst of it came in July when his seemingly healthy four-year-old cat Binx died. He took it to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Harrisonburg Regional Animal Health Laboratory which performed a necropsy on the cat.

According to Jackson and the Necropsy report from the lab, it was determined that the otherwise healthy cat was killed by mold spores in its lungs and kidneys.

“When I went to the office I said look this is enough, my cat’s gone, I’m out of my place and I’ve paid rent but I’m living here, there all over the place and they said, ‘Well ok we’re not going to renew your lease now since you want to keep complaining about this,’” he said.

Jackson said he isn’t the only one at the apartment complex to have dealt with these types of problems.

“The maintenance man on this property told me, ‘You’re lucky, there are apartments here that have mold all over the place in different parts that you can see.’ He wouldn’t tell me which ones but that’s basically how they look at it. They just say ‘move’,” said Jackson.

WHSV spoke briefly with a member of the management team at The Highlands Apartments on Monday who said they couldn’t comment on issues involving individual tenants but claimed they did everything they could to address the situation.

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