After contracting respiratory sickness from living circumstances, DC lady sues building owners

A Southeast D.C. woman tells WUSA9 she developed a respiratory disease because of her living conditions.

We first met Vennetta Hamilton at her Southeast apartment earlier this month. WUSA9 cameras captured her floor covered in mold and water damage from a flood, she said happened weeks ago.

However, Hamilton says she has tried reaching out to her landlord for years but the conditions continued to get work and the repairs are piling up. She contacted the Department of Buildings, who issued a long list of infractions with a 60-day deadline.

Finally, the landlord sent in a repairman but when WUSA returned to Hamilton’s apartment the floor was still covered in mold and water from the earlier flood. Hamilton said the worker was supposed to fix the water damage, drywall and paint but instead just did some cosmetic maintenance on the walls while not addressing what she said was the real issue.

“Not just putting up bandages, really get to the root. The building itself is inoperable. The building has mold. Not just mine. It’s potentially other units.” Hamilton said.

In 2016 Hamilton was diagnosed with reactive airway disease. She went back to the hospital on Oct. 15, and her symptoms are getting worse. She said her son has been living with friends while she has been living in her car to avoid getting sicker.

Hamilton said the building owners need to make the necessary repairs and the city needs to hold them accountable.

“If I was to leave, they would make cosmetics and place someone else in there. The issue is ongoing, in the walls, pipes, plumbing, HVAC.” Hamilton said.

WUSA9 has reached out to the Department of Buildings multiple times. We have yet to hear back.

Hamilton will be in court on Nov. 14; she said she is suing the management company. WUSA9 has also reached out to them and we have yet to hear back.

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Sean O
Sean O

Sean thinks the world of Montgomery County, Maryland. She grew up in the area starting from Silver Spring and has been involved in various organizations around the County. With the transformation of downtown Silver Spring, She pioneered interest in online content specific to the area. Sean graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a focus in Economics and Geographic Information Science.

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