ORLANDO, Fla. — A 72-year-old Orlando woman is begging for compassion from her condominium association and code enforcement after a leak from the unit above hers made her home unlivable.
That leak knocked out power to half her unit and created a dangerous mold problem. Investigative Reporter Karla Ray saw the problems firsthand and found out the woman couldn’t smell the mold growing in her place, because she’s missing part of her brain.
Around her ground-level Thousand Oaks condominium, 72-year-old Judy Young leaves herself reminders. Those notes include details of when she’s scheduled to meet with her pro-bono lawyer. They’re scattered alongside the mold that’s been growing out of sight in her walls for just more than a year.
“That's when all those leaks started,” Young said.
The notes and visible damage help her remember the danger she’s living in every day.
In 2013, part of her brain was removed, along with a tumor back, taking with it her short-term memory and ability to smell. That means she did not know how bad the mold problem was until it was too late.
“All this mold, I don’t smell it. And I’m not able to sleep,” Young said.
The water damage from her upstairs neighbor has caused Young’s ceiling to sag, and even knocked out power to half her unit. That means more problems you can’t see, but you can feel in Florida’s heat.
“No air conditioning, no electricity in half of her unit. Just deplorable conditions,” attorney Andrew Lannon said. Lannon is an attorney for Bogin, Munns and Munns, and is helping Young pro-bono.
Now, Young is now facing a code enforcement case and a demand letter from the Thousand Oaks Condominium Association. Despite acknowledging in the letter that the deplorable conditions are not Young’s fault, the Association wants her to pay more than $6,000 to make repairs to her hazardous home.
“Unless they fix what's upstairs, whatever we do down here will get wet again, if they don't fix the upstairs,” Young said.
No one was upstairs when 9 Investigates was inside the gated complex Monday, and when Ray tried to speak with someone with the association, she was told the person in charge is out of town.
“When I look at the mold, and I realize I didn't do it, and it came from upstairs, what would you do?” Young asked.
9 Investigates reached out to the attorney Yeline Goin, who sent the demand letter on behalf of Thousand Oaks. She responded Monday afternoon.
"As you may be aware, every owner moved into the Condominium agreeing to maintain their Unit in accordance with the Condominium Documents. Under Florida law, the Board is required to enforce the Condominium Documents, and has been pursuing enforcement against both Owners. That being said, the Association is reviewing Ms. Young’s circumstances," Goin said in an email.
Young’s attorney admits his client doesn’t have much of a legal claim, but he’s hoping someone will step in to help her find a new place to live or make the repairs, which she cannot afford.
Young is scheduled to go in front of Orlando’s Code Enforcement Board in January, and the owner of the upstairs condo is scheduled for later this week.
Cox Media Group