Mold a growing problem in foreclosed homes
Sep 16, 2011 5:53 PM EST
Foreclosed homes in Cape Coral need airing out. With many homes
sitting stagnant for years, a new problem is festering - mold. The
city building inspector wants banks to preserve the homes by cranking
on the AC.
"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
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
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,"