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Haven A.

Pascagoula , MS
April 16th, 2024|

I am sharing with you this concern for myself and my three babies. I am a 27-year-old mother of 3 children, and I’m also juggling school. The past four years I have resided in a rental house in Pascagoula, and in those four years I have met my landlord one time and that was at the time of signing the lease. I have never been a problem. When things break I fix them myself instead of calling my landlord (he lives 15 hours away). At the end of May, I contacted my landlord to make him aware of the mold, and he ignored the repairs that affected our health and well-being; he disregarded requests to repair the property to make it more livable.

The end of September (almost 4 months later), I went to code enforcement. They wanted to condemn it right then, but I would have been homeless, so they helped me out tremendously and they just sent him a letter stating what he needed to fix and how long he had to fix it. One of the things I went to code enforcement for, other than the mold, was my bathroom floor. When he came to fix the bathroom floor, he went under the house and put bricks under it to keep us up, and then put more flooring over the rotting floor. He also entered the rental property without my consent while I was at work numerous times without letting me know. The first time he did, it was the very first time meeting him again after 4 years. I had to rush home from work because my neighbor was texting me telling me a strange man was walking in and out of my house and checking my mailbox. So when I checked my camera and saw a stranger letting himself in and out of my home, I took off work and came home. I told him “next time bud have the respect to let someone know.” And he didn’t say much about that.

The second time, which was the following day, he unlocked my house and let himself in while me and my children were sleeping. He couldn’t get in the front door because I had it chain locked (I have young toddlers), so he went around back and unlocked the back door and let himself in. He proceeded to go to the front door and un-drill the door chain I put in there. (He was mad that it was locked and he couldn’t get in at 7am.) I didn’t know my rights, and I was so upset and wanted to keep the peace, so I just got me and the kids up and we left. I did not say one word. While he was there “fixing” these things, he worked inside my home, literally. He cut wood in my home and he used my children’s wooden kitchen table as his ladder and used my kids’ chairs as a step stool. Wood shavings were everywhere. Nails were everywhere. He purposely broke my plants (mad about me going to code enforcement). He disrespected my belongings, and I take very good care of mine and my children’s things.

He did anything in his power to evict me in retaliation against complaints made about the property’s condition. He knew I was not going to continue to pay if he wasn’t going to fix it. I didn’t stay there from September-December. Not to mention, I got up on my roof to put a tarp over it because my landlord wouldn’t do anything about it raining inside my walls. Of course while I was up there, I fell through the roof. I was concerned about the pervasive and toxic mold infestation that had taken over our living space. When it rained, we would get wet from it leaking from the ceiling and the air vents, so I knew if I wanted to help myself then I needed to do something.

Despite my consistent efforts to address the issue, including the use of a dehumidifier as recommended by the landlord, cleaning with a rag and bleach also recommended by landlord, the mold growth had continued to spread and had even worsened over time. In November, we went to court and I brought all my documentation and evidence. The judge wouldn’t talk to me. He just told my landlord if he’s wanting to sue me for November and December, he has to fill out another piece of paper because he did it wrong.

A few weeks after court, I got served again and we had court on January 3rd. I thought we were waiting on January 3rd to come around, but the constable came a few days before Christmas. My landlord agreed for a day that I could get the rest of my belongings, my kids’ outside stuff and the kids’ Christmas presents. But instead of doing what’s right, he threw everything to the road. People were going by there and picking it up – I don’t blame them. Then, the neighbors were telling me he was loading it up in his van and another truck of his. Another neighbor sent me a video of people loading my kids’ trampoline and their brand new swing set, and it wasn’t a cheap one either!

I’m just so hurt, and I’m so angry that a person has flipped my life upside down. This dire situation had and still has serious consequences for our health and also our living conditions. Both my children and I have experienced significant health problems. Moreover, our personal belongings have suffered irreparable damage due to the mold growth, and getting ruined in the attic by the rain. We are facing significant financial strain due to the necessity of having to move (U-Haul, 2 storage units, etc). All together, all of this has cost me over $1,500. Not only all of that, but having to take my children out of their schools and moving them to a school that they might not be in long because where we are staying is temporary. My son has gone from all A’s to all F’s (he has ADHD, and the teachers at his old school really helped him, we were blessed). The situation has become untenable. The financial burden is exacerbated by the fact that my job barely covers our basic living expenses, and I feel like he should be paying for us to relocate.

This is just a small sum up. I’m unsure of what to do. My life has been flipped upside down due to this. I went from happy and excited that I was on the path of succeeding to my whole house being packed up for 6 months and living out of boxes and then to homeless. The emotional distress is so severe that it has been difficult to carry out day-to-day functions.

Please help us, anyone with advice. We are homeless!!