Mouldy wood in the kitchen, what to do?

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mrsli
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Mouldy wood in the kitchen, what to do?

Post by mrsli » Sun, 03 Aug 2008 1:53 pm

My husband and I have just moved into a brand new apartment in Novena. We had somewhat of an ant problem in the kitchen, and I traced their ant trail down into one of the lower cabinets, and decided to thoroughly clean it out to try and get rid of the ants. Well, imagine my surprise when as I vacuumed out the cabinet (and ant trail :)), the entire white lining of the cabinet started flaking up and revealed mouldy wood underneath! The entire kitchen started stinking like mould! On that side of the kitchen, there is a row of 3 cabinets and a drawer, and the other cabinets on that side are not so bad, but they all smell of mould.

Since the unit is brand new, it is under warranty for 1 year, so the developer was supposed to fix this. They came in, and took a look at it, and then said they'd come to fix it today (it took them 2 weeks to fix this, meanwhile we have all our kitchen things still boxed up, awaiting a clean, sanitary kitchen to be unloaded into). I pointed out the smell in the other cabinets that didn't look so bad, but the main guy in charge just said it was from being closed for so many months, and just needed to be aired out (even though none of the cabinets on the other side of the kitchen, or the wardrobes in the rest of the house, smelled like this). So this morning, they came to "fix," and all that was done is to glue down another sheet of white lining onto the floor of the two cabinets that looked the worst! We thought certainly they would replace the mouldy wood! They didn't even do any treatment to clean it (I don't even know if it is possible to clean mould off of something so porous as wood, we assumed it would need to be replaced). :(

Can someone please advise us what to do here?? The mould is black, and not really fuzzy but very pungent after being disturbed (although right now that smell is overridden by the strong chemical smell of the glue they used). Isn't black mould hazardous to your health? We have our first baby due in October, and I'm afraid this mould is not healthy -- especially in the kitchen. It seems to us that the developer does not want to go through the trouble to fix this properly, and we are to suffer as a consequence. Are we overreacting? Certainly mould is just something that must be dealt with living in tropical Singapore, but I don't even know how to clean mould off of wood, especially wood that is covered by white plastic lining already. Is there a health inspector we should contact to come and make the developer or landlord fix this for us? Any suggestions or comments?? :( :(

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sundaymorningstaple
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 03 Aug 2008 6:05 pm

Sounds like you need to talk to the landlord/developer to me......
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by mrsli » Sun, 03 Aug 2008 8:33 pm

Thank you for the support! Our housing agent seems more on their side, saying "well, you know, it's pretty difficult for them to replace all the cabinets..." and trying to make us okay with just covering it up and putting some perfume to cover the smell :?

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Post by pollyminaz » Sun, 03 Aug 2008 11:45 pm

Threaten them. Show that you are not easily bullied.

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Post by mrsli » Mon, 04 Aug 2008 12:58 pm

Hmm any ideas as to how to threaten them?

We can't really just not pay our rent, can we?

Maybe tell our housing agent we're moving in with him :)

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 04 Aug 2008 1:37 pm

If the unit was supposed to be in good condition when you took possession then I would withhold rent until said condition is obtained. It may be a good idea to see a lawyer however to ascertain just what your rights are regarding same. We are not lawyers here nor can we give you legal advice. This is best left to one of the three lowest lifeforms on the planet.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by mrsli » Mon, 04 Aug 2008 1:57 pm

Yes... was supposed to be brand new so we wouldn't have to deal with any issues like this :(

Thanks for the advice -- I'll update after the next development.

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Post by andy21 » Mon, 04 Aug 2008 2:22 pm

SMS, I believe withholding rent is not a good idea.

It is as unlawful for a landlord to lease out a property that is 'not fit for human inhabitation' as it is to not pay rent over any dispute. Both are equally fundamental breaches of the agreement.

Tell the agent he has 2 weeks to rectify the situation, or you will take speak to a lawyer. And do it if he really doesn't do anything about it. You have a good case.

Just carry on paying your rent though.

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Post by mrsli » Mon, 04 Aug 2008 2:41 pm

Hmm thanks Andy, we've e-mailed our agent again today about this issue and we'll see what he says. If he, the developer, or the landlord's agent again try and tell us they can't replace the cabinets then we'll do as you say and threaten to speak with a lawyer. I'm glad you think we have a good case! Hopefully a lawyer will too if this stupid thing is not resolved (not feeling very optimistic about it...) soon.

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Post by mrsli » Mon, 18 Aug 2008 1:23 pm

Just to update on what's going on with our cabinets, should anyone else benefit from the full story:

After my husband wrote a (strongly worded) e-mail to our leasing agent about how re-lining the cabinets was absolutely not enough, the developer and his men came back. This time he sealed all the corners of the cabinet with caulk/silicone sealant stuff. After he left, our agent called us again to check on things and we told him what had been done. After we got off the phone, I assume our agent called the landlord's agent, who called the developer and said this was absolutely not enough and the cabinets needed to be replaced. The developer guy came back and, having heard from the landlord's agent, told us he would replace the wood in the bottom of the two worst cabinets.

He came back later that week with a contractor in order to measure for the cabinets, and the contractor determined that the entire cabinet was all one piece, and the entire thing would need replacing. The following week, the developer guy brought in a second contractor (we assume he was looking for a cheaper route than replacing the entire thing). Last week we called to see what was going on and when our cabinets would be replaced.

So, they are supposed to come in tomorrow morning at 9 AM and replace the entire cabinet on that side of the kitchen. Hooray! I'll let you know how that all goes...

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Post by cbavasi » Mon, 18 Aug 2008 9:42 pm

good stuff!! glad to hear that it's all working out. mold is never nice and though it doesn't affect some people - i find i have horrible sinusitis when in contact with it. peace of mind for when baby comes too :)

lightblue
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Post by lightblue » Tue, 19 Aug 2008 9:05 am

Isn't there a superstition amongst Chinese that if a pregnant woman is offended it can spell the end of their businesses? I'm not sure, but I heard this from a housing agent quite some time back. Thought it would be interesting to share :)

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