By Jane Akre
Monday, February 04, 2008 11:40 PM EST
Beverly and Robert Speight knew they had a problem when they could puncture the waterlogged siding on their $250,000 Iowa home with a fingertip. It is the unspeakable word to builders, insurers and home inspectors. “M” for mold or mildew—no one wants to cover it or take responsibility for it.
The owner of a moldy home may discover multiple exclusions in the contract with a home inspector or that their homeowners insurance has dropped or capped mold claims. Homeowners often run into a brick wall they have to remedy with their own bank account.
Just ask Erin Brockovich, of the film by the same name. She had to move out of her California home after mold, found growing in the floor and walls, caused her family’s health problems.
The CDC says there is no such thing as “toxic mold” but mold impacts those with asthma or a compromised immune system. The Institute of Medicine reports allergic and non allergic reactions in humans exposed to spores. All agree it should be removed.
Now the Iowa Supreme Court has issued a ruling that gives homeowners living in moldy conditions some hope. Home builders can be held responsible for poor workmanship that leads to mold and mildew from water seepage, long after the original buyer has moved out.
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