Mold: For many New York City Housing Authority residents, it’s a familiar tale:  Mold in the walls, under the floorboards, in the shower tiles, on the ceilings, behind the refrigerator…

Then next: That resident, along with his or her entire family suddenly begins to suffer from asthma, despite never having a family history of the condition.

But what made the situation so unbearably painful was NYCHA’s lack of response to residents’ complaints. And when NYCHA would actually come to clean up the toxic mold, the work was useless, said the residents, since all the agency did was paint over the mold and ignore the source of the problem.

NYCHA contractors conduct mold remediation at LaGuardia Houses , Photo:
NYCHA contractors conduct mold remediation at LaGuardia Houses

But it looks like relief may be on its way: On Tuesday, in an unprecedented decision, NYCHA settled a pending class action lawsuit, agreeing to judicial oversight of its mold cleanup efforts. That is, if a resident files a complaint, NYCHA has 15 days to fix the problem, or face massive fines.

Also, if necessary, the agency would be expected to relocate a person with asthma and his or her family to another apartment, or to allow extra air-conditioning units in apartments. Additionally, every three months, NYCHA will be required to provide detailed reports about what they’ve done to address mold complaints, including the number of repairs not effectively addressed.

US District Judge William Pauley will monitor NYCHA’s compliance for up to three years.

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