Family gets no help from landlord to fix house covered in mold and electrical shortages

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CANTON, Miss. (WJTV) – A family in Canton feels they’re trapped in a rented home covered in mold and electrical malfunctions. For almost four years, Johnnie Mae, her three sons, and granddaughter have lived off Caldwell Lane paying $600 a month in rent. Up until this month never missing a payment.

“My check got stolen in the mailbox and came up missing at the bank and my son gave him $300,” Mae told us. “So I owe him $300 more. He said he wasn’t going to fix anything until I paid him that money.”

But all over her home the conditions needing to be addressed stem back well over this past month. In the kitchen, mold has grown out of the walls spreading all across the ceiling and surfaces behind the kitchen counters. Even after being cleaned once.

“The man came and mopped it down with some bleach,” Mae explained. “The mold came on through the bleach he isn’t doing anything for my house.”

“I have asthma and I’m allergic to mold so for me personally it’s a health risk being around this much mold,” Alexandria Watson, Mae’s granddaughter said. “So I keep my inhaler with me, and I try to sleep with as much air circulation as possible.”

But the problem doesn’t stop with the mold. Many outlets around the home experience shortages forced the Mae family to run extension cords across every room to keep the fridge working and do laundry.

“We got extension cords running from the refrigerator to the microwaves,” Mae stated.

“We take the plug out of the bathroom and plug it up where the microwave was plugged in,” Watson added. “Then put it through the little window in the kitchen to the washing machine in order to wash clothes.”

County land roll records show the property rented by the Mae family is owned by a man named John and Dexter Caldwell. Under the Mississippi Bar Association if a landlord has not made requested repairs within 30 days a tenant can fix the issues themselves then seek reimbursement deducting the costs from the rent. Or seek other legal actions against the landlord. Mississippi Legal Services Organization also states every landlord must keep their properties up to date with city or county building and health codes.

“I call him almost every day about my plugs and mold saying this house needs to be fixed,” Mae said. “He says well Johnnie I can’t do anything because I don’t have any money. I said stop lying you got money in the bank.”

We attempted to reach John Caldwell twice the past week but never got a response.

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