A couple who moved from Austin, Texas, to Portland to be closer to their first grandchild are suing their former landlord — claiming that their $3,000-a-month rental was plagued by ants, mice and mold.

Christine and Michael Moser were promised a “high-end home” when they rented the Northeast Portland Tudor sight unseen in the city’s hot rental market, according to the $14,382 lawsuit filed last week in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

Photos currently on Zillow.com show warm-toned hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings and intricate tile work in the home along stately Alameda Street.

But when the Mosers moved into the three-bedroom, three-bathroom home in April, they “were dismayed at the state of the premises and duly noted the issues in the initial walk-through,” according to the suit. They stayed because they had no where else to go.

The suit claims the home had a long list of issues: 55 burnt-out light bulbs, questionable electrical wiring in the basement, an upstairs plumbing problem, “a significant amount of mouse droppings throughout” its heating and ventilation system, “obvious signs of an ant infestation,” “a very obvious mold and mildew issue in the garage,” mold and mildew in the home’s basement in-law apartment and garbage inside it from the previous tenants.

“At no time did they consent to live in premises with these issues,” the suit states.

Because the Mosers believed the home’s issues would be resolved, they spent more than $2,600 on paint and plaster repair and $792 to hire an ant and mouse exterminator, the suit says.

They made several requests for a professional to take care of the mold. A month into their tenancy, an expert arrived and sealed off the basement and the garage, the suit states. The expert hooked up a noisy “air scrubber” that ran around the clock, almost doubling their electricity bill, they claim.

Because the mold problem remained unsolved, the Mosers hired a mold abatement company at their own expense, the suit states. The couple finally gave up on the home and moved out at the end of June — less than three months after they arrived.

According to a rental website, the home was put back on the market for $3,150 per month — $150 more than the Mosers were paying. The home has since rented.

The couple seeks $14,382 — which includes $8,800 reimbursement for the rent they paid, more than $2,100 in moving expenses and several thousand dollars for the money they say they sunk into the home in trying to bring it up to standards. The suit also seeks attorney’s fees.

The suit lists the property management company BB Management Group of Tigard and the home’s owner, Tracey Turkoly. The management company declined to comment. Turkoly didn’t return a request seeking comment earlier this week.

The suit was filed by Portland attorney Sarah Silberger.

— Aimee Green




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