A Brevard County man just broke his apartment lease and moved out fearing dangerous radon gas. He claimed apartment managers refused to tell him there was a radon problem, so he called Action 9.
Consumer investigator Todd Ulrich got answers and found out what rights renters have If there's a radon threat.
William Garside unpacked in his new apartment after breaking his lease at Clearlake Isles.
He moved fearing a health threat. “I'm not knowingly going to expose myself to the second leading cause of cancer,” said Garside. He's convinced risky radon gas was detected in first-floor apartments like his after management at his last residence installed some equipment labeled “radon reduction system.”
“If it hadn't said ‘radon’ on the motor, we really wouldn't know what was going on. I can read,” he said. According to Garside, apartment managers would only say the new equipment improved air quality. But a Cocoa City Building permit shows Clearlake Isles ownership had hired a contractor, Radon Mitigation Services.
“Never once did they use the word radon, they continue to refuse the word radon,” said Garside.
Garside said the Florida Department of Health told him radon levels at Clearlake Isles required remediation and the agency recommended he buy a home test kit. That test found a 3.9 reading, a fraction below 4, when the EPA recommends fixing your home.
“It's not a health risk I'm willing to take,” said Garside.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas from the ground, and when concentrated inside, it can be a lung cancer risk.
Ulrich went to Clearlake Isles for answers.
“Don't renters deserve that information? Shouldn't they be given that information?” asked Ulrich.
Managers at the complex could not comment.
Company officials later told Ulrich that the lease discloses the possibility of radon, which is a clause Florida requires, and that radon mitigation has the gas well below risk levels.
That was more information than Garside said he ever got.
“They want to keep it a secret,” said Garside.
The building's owner, Royal American Management, told Action 9 that all necessary upgrades have been done and Garside’s deposit will be returned.
Landlords need to tell tenants about risky levels of radon gas if it's been documented and is not being corrected.
If you're worried about radon gas, home test kits are easy to order and cost between $15 to $25.
You can also contact Florida's health department.
Royal American Management, Inc Response:
Mr. Garside's security deposit is being refunded in full and he is not being charged any fees.
As I mentioned previously, the air quality of all of the first floor units has been tested, measured and verified by a state-licensed, third-party lab and all levels are well below the acceptable limit, which is 4.0 pCi/L.. The highest level of Radon in any of the units is 1.6 pCi/L , with the majority of the units testing below 1.0 pCi/L.
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