What Would You Do?

By
Real Estate Agent with Real Estate and Financial Services

I need your help.  I had a lengthy post prepared, but let me boil down some issues and tell me, what would you do?

 A homeowner bought a condo.  Three years later he discovered mold seeping through a wall and ordered a mold inspection which revealed three types of mold.

 After continued disagreement with the builder as to the source of the mold, (and who is responsible), the builder sent someone unannounced, to make some repairs to the exterior wall.  On discovering the scope of the problem, the repairman was directed to cut out the damaged wood and close up the wall.  All of this was done without a permit.

 Still concerned, the homeowner ordered a complete home inspection to determine the source of the mold.   The inspection revealed ongoing moisture problems due to poor exterior maintenance, including a large crack in the exterior wall, areas that were not properly caulked, and sprinkler heads located within two inches of the building.

 The condo association, (still under control of the builder) also ordered a mold inspection and as a result, sent someone to repair a section of an interior wall which was damaged by mold.

 When the homeowner called attention to the large crack in the exterior wall, the repairman said that repair to the wall was not needed.  When the homeowner called attention to the fact that when a section of the interior wall was removed for repair, revealing mold and mildew extending into the adjacent condo, the homeowner was again told that further repair was not needed.

 The builder sent someone to address the poorly caulked exterior walls and a subsequent water test conducted by the association manager, revealed a remaining leak.  The exterior crack was then repaired, along with more damage repair to the inside wall.  Chimney leaks were treated piecemeal.

 The builder has agreed to address a few more issues, and is handing off the condo association to the homeowners.  The homeowner has not been able to rent or sell his unit because of the extensive damage.  He has been partially compensated for water damage to the flooring that had to be replaced.

 The homeowner is now in a position of having to disclose an ongoing mold problem that is extending into at least one other unit, with his direct knowledge.  He has consulted an attorney who was happy to chew up a retainer with nothing to show for it.  The association has also consulted an attorney.  The cost of a lawsuit would probably exceed the value of the condo.

 I have a few ideas, but I would like to know...what would you do?

Comments (4)

Wanda Thomas
Montana Homestead Brokers, Broker, CRS, GRI, SFR, RN - Billings, MT
Billings Montana Real Estate

Oh this sounds just terrible.  Is the market in this area under pressure as well?  The builder probably wants to just get the heck out of here, have you directed the builder to this blog?

Kinda makes me wonder how important word of mouth (blog) and pictures can be, both to the seller of this condo and to the builder of this condo.

I think the association has an interest in this outcome as well since they all can be painted with the same brush.  Hopefully they will all get together and overcome/repair the condo damage as protection for their property value.

Feb 18, 2009 12:52 PM
Terri Hattaway
Real Estate and Financial Services - Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
PONTE VEDRA BEACH REAL ESTATE

Thanks Wanda.  I think you may be right about the builder wanting to wash his hands of this mess. This builder is having issues with other projects as well.   And I agree that the condo association has an interest and an obligation to protect its homeowners and their property values.  This is a beautiful area, walking distance to the beach, but there is a glut of condos on the market.  I really hope this gets resolved to everyone's satisfaction.

Feb 18, 2009 02:23 PM
Deb Brooks
Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas - Wichita Falls, TX

Terri, one quick bankruptcy and the builder is OUT of there. Has he had a quote for remediation? The neighbor must be brought into this also. Now, the neighbor will most likely blame everyone else too but the mold needs to be stopped or you can simply call a demolition crew! I don't have a good answer for you on this except the problem must be stopped in its tracks now.

Later, after a clean bill of health is the time to go to court. Not now.

Good luck and let us know what happens...

Later in the rain~Deb

Feb 18, 2009 02:25 PM
Terri Hattaway
Real Estate and Financial Services - Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
PONTE VEDRA BEACH REAL ESTATE

Deb, you are so right.  This homeowner is not interested in court.  He just wants the nightmare to end.  And the neighbor is putting his head in the sand, won't answer the door, won't answer the phone.  It is frustrating.

Feb 18, 2009 02:36 PM