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KCMO mother's battle against apartment complex mold: failed inspections, respiratory illnesses

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Posted at 10:37 PM, May 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 23:37:33-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A paper trail shows how a Kansas City, Missouri, mother is dealing with failed inspections due to high levels of mold, doctor's notes of respiratory illnesses, and minimal action from management at the apartment complex where she lives.

Kymesha Swinton and her four kids now spend a lot of time outside, because she says the inside of their Canyon Creek Apartment isn’t safe.

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"There’s no way my kids should be uncomfortable in their own house," she said.

Swinton said for multiple weeks, she's dealt with mold in her unit in the bathroom and the room where her sons sleep in.

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"I put in maintenance request after maintenance request," she said. “Again, still nobody. I called over there and got hung up on. I physically went over there, and only then do they wanna send somebody over here."

Swinton said a maintenance crew removed her medicine cabinet, and the wall was full of mold.

Mold in woman's south Kansas City apartment

"He grabbed a thing of bleach, came in here, sprayed bleach on it, spray painted it, and then they went on their happy way," she said.

With walls turning colors and ceiling crumbling, Swinton called the Kansas City Health Department's Healthy Homes Rental Inspection Program.

The program's focus remains on making sure all KCMO renters have access to a safe and healthy home environment, and Swinton is fighting to stay in a safe place.

Swinton said city inspectors came out immediately to help take a look.

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"She came in and did the mold test on the wall," Swinton said. "There was mold everywhere in the bathroom, inside the wall."

The city filed a report with violations that are health hazardous conditions, and gave the apartment complex 24 hours to fix it.

Healthy Homes Rental Inspection Report
Healthy Homes Rental Inspection Report
Healthy Homes Rental Inspection Report
Healthy Homes Rental Inspection Report

Swinton said apartment staff opened the wall, sprayed down the mold, closed the wall, and left a fan.

The KCMO Health Department re-inspected the apartment on May 13 and the job did not pass its inspection.

"The maintenance man told me it’s a piping issue," she said. "If it’s a piping issue, it's going to keep happening till y’all fix the pipes."

Swinton said the problem became bad enough that they all went to see a doctor, who found all four of her children with upper respiratory illnesses.

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“My daughter's been staying at my parents house because she has a bad cough; all the kids have upper respiratory infections; I have one," Swinton said.
 
KSHB 41's Megan Abundis repeatedly tried to contact the leasing office and ownership group, Landmark Realty, through texts, calls, and emails, but was hung up on.

"That’s all I wanted is the issue to be fixed the right way," Swinton said.

Late Tuesday, Swinton heard apartment management would send a plumbing crew the next morning to open up the wall again.

“I still don’t let the kids go in their room," she said. "I noticed their room color is changing; it’s like a darker yellow."