"It was really a safety hazard," said homeowner Sarah Reale, reflecting on an abandoned home that use to sit on a waterfront lot next door to her.
The two-story Cape Coral home was bulldozed after mold began to sprout up. The problem is that it was so widespread, it wasn't worth saving.
"The roof was so bad we knew if roof was that bad, inside had to be worse," Reale said.
Mold is penetrating many foreclosed homes throughout Cape Coral.
"This is a new issue," said Marc Joseph, a broker and foreclosure tour guide.
He says he has seen the issue firsthand.
He says the average abandoned home sits empty for 300 to 400 days before the bank finally forecloses on the property.
During that time, the windows are sealed tight - leaving the stagnant air with no where to go.
"Banks that own these properties do not put water or electric on because it's a non-performing asset -- so mold," Joseph said.
The city building inspector is calling on the financial institutions who own the homes to turn on the AC in an effort to keep the mold from forming.
But running the AC inside at least some of the foreclosed homes may be impossible because many of them have had their AC units stripped."
So the solution, Joseph says, is to get the vacant homes through the foreclosure process quicker.
"The bank would actually get more money because they have to discount those houses for mold because of health issues," he said.
And a home filled with mold isn't exactly a selling point.
"It certainly does devalue property for people who live in this area," Reale said.