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Katie Reynolds – Berkeley, CA

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When I had initially decided to purchase the home I made sure to have a general home inspection done to make sure there were no problems with the property. The inspector reported that there appeared to be no damage to the home with the exception of some normal wear and tear. He did not a little mildew in the bathroom, but assured me that it was normal for any home.

At this time I had no real reason to worry about the “normal” mildew growth in the bathroom. I decided to go ahead with the purchase of the property. I want to note that even with the discovery of mildew in the bathroom; both the real estate agent and the inspector assured me that a mold test was not necessary. Approximately 3 days after I had begun to move into the home, I noticed what appeared to be black mold growing on the wall in the master bedroom. I decided to open the wall and see what was causing the mold to grow and found that the inside of the wall, drywall, studs and other building materials were literally covered with mold. I attempted to trace the growth back to its source and found that there was massive water damage throughout most of the wall. It appeared to have been the result of faulty construction and possibly the use of building materials that had been wet during the building process.

It is hard for me to believe that the previous owners had not known about this problem given the level of mold growth in the walls. The water damage I feel would have been viewable by the previous owners since even after a minor rain storm the water was literally pouring into the wall cavity. I have not begun to suffer from frequent nose bleeds and sinus infections to no end. I contacted Bay Area Mold Services who informed me that pulling down the wall was in fact not a good idea. I believe that the level of mold in my home is even higher since doing so. The smell has also begun to penetrate throughout the home. I honestly do not know what to do at this point. I feel that I should not be liable for the damage caused by the mold and that the previous owners should be required to fix the problem.

The previous owners did not sign a disclosure form indicating past problems with mold, so I am afraid they will try to blame the problem on me. Or say that I accepted the home “as is.” I feel that the real estate agent probably knew about the problem, but wanted to turn the house quickly so they convinced me to sign the lease agreement quickly. I also feel that the home inspector they brought in was not fully qualified to do a full inspection of the property.  Again that is one of the main reasons why I even agreed to purchase the home in the first place was because the home inspector indicated that it was safe. I would not have purchased the home had I known about this particular problem and I feel that the sellers and real estate agent were very aware of this.

Update from Katie:

Bay Area Mold Services came out and inspected the properly and gave me a report with all of the findings. They also told about some legal services I can pursue regarding non-disclosure of mold when buying a property.

I have since contacted the sellers and they have agreed to pay for the remediation work needed to remove the mold from my property. I will be using Bay Area Mold Services for the remediation project since they have been so helpful along the way, their estimate was the lowest, and the references they gave me all said great things about them.