“I’m forced out of my house,” says woman who is fighting Westminster Canterbury about mold issues

Posted at 9:31 PM, Sep 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-15 21:40:10-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A woman living in a condo at Casa del Playa said she’s been battling Westminster Canterbury Retirement Community for almost a decade over mold issues in her home.

In Darlene Stevenson’s home, bedroom walls are stripped away to nothing but bare bones. Her kitchen is cut in half by plastic, outlining the part of her home that’s now quarantined off. Stevenson told News 3 this is because of mold damage in her home.

“It came down into my house from the third floor, the second floor,” said Stevenson, who says her third-floor neighbor is to blame.

The problems started nine years ago in 2007.

“After that, I started getting more sick and more damage, more damage, 2008, 2009, 2010. Then in 2010 at my own expense, I redid the house,” said Stevenson.

Ben Unkle the CEO of Westminster Canterbury told News 3 over the past nine years, there have been five leaks. Three of those were the fault of someone living above Stevenson. In a statement to News 3, Unkle said:

The leak was a plumbing equipment failure, not human error, and repaired promptly. Westminster then offered to repair the walls and ceilings ourselves, or by contractors of Ms. Stevenson’s choice, including air quality/mold testing.

The results from the mold test said the sample taken is within suggested guidelines, but Stevenson says if that were the case, why is she sick.

“This is the mold report. I’ve had damage from mold being in here. My doctor wrote a letter saying I should not stay in this building,” said Stevenson. She said she wants the third-floor neighbor gone because the elderly man can’t take care of himself and causes the leaks.

Westminster Canterbury said they’ve done tests and he qualifies to live on his own. Stevenson wants it all to end, but is afraid she is being pushed out. Westminster Canterbury does own 22 of the 30 condos in the Casa del Playa complex.

“When his answer to me was do you want to die in the building? No I don’t want to die here. This place can catch on fire, give me a marshmallow stick I’m staying. I love where I live,” said Stevenson, who is currently living in a hotel because being in her home burns her lungs.

Westminster Canterbury said the person living between Stevenson and the third-floor neighbor has no complaints.