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5 on Your Side: Basement air hard to breathe

10:36 PM, Oct 3, 2012   |    comments
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By Mike Rush

St. Louis (KSDK) - Bad blood between a tenant and landlord leaves what the tenant considers a dangerous situation unsolved, until 5 on Your Side's Mike Rush stepped in.

The 5 on Your Side team was on this story for several weeks, and at one point, it didn't look like we'd get results. But persistence paid off.

Finally, a landlord who seemed to be dragging his feet in helping a tenant that he says complains too much took the first step to help that tenant breathe easier.

To explain what's up with Terri Tate's heating and cooling system, we have to take you down to her basement.

"They refuse to come down and clean it up," said Tate.

Months ago, Tate's landlord, Kenneth Carter, had part of the concrete floor torn up and then patched back after a drainage repair. But afterward, the basement wasn't properly cleaned.

The dust in the air in the basement appears to be traveling up through the air ducts and into the house. Tate says her granddaughter's skin started to break out and the family was having trouble breathing.

"I almost lost my daughter to asthma two years ago and so I tell him, I've told him several times I do not take this as a joke," she said.

She says Carter would not clean her basement and ducts. "He's saying you take care of it. It's your problem."

So Tate called in a professional. Scott Ballard with Person Mechanical confirmed the ducts were clogged.

"At that point when I walked upstairs and then with the air blowing, you could actually see the dust coming out of the vents. So I could tell that all the ductwork was just contaminated with all the concrete," said Ballard.

Carter refused to meet with Mike Rush, but over several phone conversations, he and his handyman promised Mike they would send out their own professional to assess the situation. But weeks went by.

So, Mike kept calling and then, "the landlord finally got a company out to take care of cleaning the ducts," said Tate. "With you constantly staying on him, being persistent with contacting him, communicating with him, I guess he felt that there was nothing less that he could do."

While the dust has settled, Tate believes the basement still needs cleaning. She says the landlord plans on having that done too.


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