very informative piece. thanks
Mold Poses Risk to Owners and Speculators
Profiting through foreclosure rehabs is a hot topic today. However, speculator beware! Banks typically shut off power, leading to moisture and mold. Read how mold is impacting the personal and financial health of some in Redmond.
Headlines regarding a mold invested condo development generated conversation, confusion and concern following a September 8, 2010, Seattle Times report. As more and more entrepreneurs look to flip foreclosure properties, the prevalence of mold often impacts the acquisition price of the property and creates downline exposure liability.
It will take a reported $4 million to repair the Riverwalk at Redmond condo complex where water damage has riddled some units with toxic mold. Members of the homeowners association appear to have little recourse for what it says is shoddy construction. Water has damaged 15 units, affecting three of the five buildings on Northeast Leary Way.
Alternatives appear few and far between for owners. According to reports, the developer has closed that business, the HOA may have difficulties securing a bank loan for repairs, owner assessments could reach $45,000 per unit, and unit-specific remedial plans have not solved problems. The HOA has even considered a mass default as many unit owners could be upside-down on their investments.
The Times article described the plight of the Dusi family, whose lives have been turned upside down by the severe mold in their unit. They have completely abandoned rooms, and ripped out and replaced drywall as mold has moved throughout their unit. Their 4-year old developed a spotty rash on her legs and has required frequent hospital visits for respiratory infections and allergies.
Although mold is a very common phenomenon in homes, apartments and commercial buildings, new stories such as the one affecting the owners of The Riverwalk at Redmond often spur interest and demand for more information on mold.
I thought some facts regarding how mold impacts the health of you, and or your potential tenant would be helpful…
- Mold growth in buildings is a symptom of water damage or moisture problems.
- Dampness in buildings can promote other exposure sources including dust mites, cockroaches, bacteria, and chemical releases associated with some building materials. Due to the possible presence of these agents, accurately attributing particular health issues specifically to mold may seem logical, but can be disputed.
- None-the-less, exposure to mold has been recognized as a potential health problem.
- The strongest evidence exists between indoor mold exposure and upper and lower respiratory health effects such as nasal symptoms and asthma exacerbations.
- Molds do produce volatile compounds, spores and other minute particles that can cause irritant and allergic responses ranging from annoying to serious depending on the amount of exposure and the immune system of the individual.
- Dead mold is still allergenic, and some dead molds are potentially toxic.
- The presence of toxic mold does not mean it will kill you.
Everyone’s immune system handles exposures differently. Thus, mold may affect members of a household differently, with some feeling no effects while others may experience possibly dramatic reactions.
“If you’ve got mold indoors, that needs to be dealt with,” says David Williams, an investigator for Public Health – Seattle, King County.
My personal advice – if you’re dealing with mold, either personally, in a property that you own, or speculatively through foreclosures - err on the side of caution and seek professional advice to reduce the possibility of adverse health effects and potential down-line liabilities.
Learn more about the author, Chris Heller.
Comment on this article
Posted by Elvis Arias, Jersey City, New Jersey |
Sep 27, 2010
Posted by Charles Waugh, Bellingham, Washington |
Nov 14, 2010
Amen! You don't have to be looking at foreclosed properties, either. You would not believe the stuff that I have seen inside the walls of poorly built condos (often quite expensive!) and apartments -- to the degree that extensive structural repairs were necessary. I have dealt with this problem many times in occupied buildings. Abandoned buildings are ticking time bombs.
- real estate
- bank-owned properties