Beware of Mold in Foreclosed Homes

Beware Of Mold In Foreclosed Homes

MIAMI (CBS4) ― Mold and foreclosure–they might not seem to be a correlation between the two at plain sight, but if you’re talking about South Florida’s foreclosure crisis you might see that sometimes they go hand in hand.

Because of recent skyrocketing short sales and foreclosures in Miami’s real estate market, many high rise buildings now have mold growing inside. If you’re on the flipside of this crisis, and you want to buy a foreclosed condo, or one going through a short sale, you might want to get a good mold inspector first. Once you’re ready to sign the contract with the bank, you’ll want to fight clauses that release the bank from any liability if mold is found in your condo—even if it makes you sick. Phillips says regular owners can be held liable for that, so you shouldn’t do the bank any favors.

Even some of the most luxurious condos in town have been affected. This often happens because owners who are going through short sales or foreclosures end up cutting off their AC, sealing up the unit, and never looking back.

“These enclosed spaces, you have high temperature, stagnant air, you have high humidity,” said Samir Elmir of the Miami-Dade County Health Department.

“It’s a perfect ground for mold basically to grow,” he said.

And mole doesn’t respect property lines, especially in buildings with central air.

“There is an opportunity for the mold to disperse through the duct system,” said Elmir.

Condo law lawyer Kristy Phillips says new complaints of mold are filing in. So what are your rights if you live next to a mess like this? Phillips says to head straight to your condo association.

“Make sure they’re aware that unit is vacant and is in foreclosure, and then the association has the legal duty to actually maintain that unit and check on it,” said Phillips.

Even if the unit owner is long gone, Phillips says once a bank takes over- legally it has to act like any other owner. This is something she says many banks are resisting.

“They’re not paying their assessment the majority of time; they just leave the units vacant, they don’t turn the power on or anything.”

So Phillips recommends keeping records of every complaint you make in case you have to go to court, and keep your eyes open at home.
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