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mold damage claims

mold damage claims

First of all, don’t panic!   Instead, take immediate action.  Within one week, you should have your own mold inspector preparing a report and providing a referral for mold remediation work.  Next, you should see a Plaintiff’s Real Estate Attorney who is intimately family with how to file a lawsuit based on the Illinois Real Estate Disclosure Laws.  Next, if you can afford it, have the mold re-mediated.  If remediation is not possible and the home is a loss, move out, move on and get your litigation going so that your claim is not barred by the statute of limitations.

How do I find an attorney who is a skilled Plaintiff’s Real Estate Attorney, visit IRELA, the Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association at http://www.irela.org/  and take a look at the membership.  You can also email the current President for referrals.

How do I find a good mold inspector?  First call the home inspector who did your original home inspection for a referral.  Then also consider calling two excellent long time home inspectors for their referrals:

1. Dan Brown, B & G Home Inspections, you can call him at:  312-558-1343

2. Juan Negron, you can call him at: 847-675-4613

Home much for a Mold Inspection?  $1000 or less.

Home much for remediation?  Sometimes as little as $500 depending on the severity of the problem.

Here is an example what can happen when action isn’t taken immediately.

Frank purchases a condominium for $200,000.  Unbeknownst to Frank, the Seller is Developer who is concealing a severe mold and moisture issue in the basement of the building being converted to condominiums.  Frank is buying a unit that has a first floor that is living space with all bedrooms located in the basement floor of the duplex.  Frank hires a home inspector who does not bring up mold at the time of the inspection.  Frank does a walk through of the condominium 3 days before closing and does not see mold.  Frank closes on the property.  At the closing Frank takes a out a $180,000 mortgage.  The monthly payment is $1500 including taxes and insurance.  The condominium association assessment is $150 per month.  Frank moves into the condominium 5 days after closing.  8 days after the closing, Frank smells mold, sees mold showing up through the painted drywall and becomes sick.    Frank moves out of the condominium 10 days after the closing and never returns.

The condominium association files an eviction action one year after the Frank left his condo and obtains an order of possession.  The condo association does not rent the condominium because it is unfit for habitation.  However, the condo association has possession of the condo and changes the locks barring the reentry of Frank.

Frank never speaks to his home inspection to ask about why the mold was not discovered.  Frank never hires a mold inspector and never obtains an estimated cost of remediation and/or determination of whether it is possible.

Frank does spend $5000 on a retainer to hire a law firm to sue the developer.  The law firm files a complaint and can never serve it because the Developer has fled the country to Tahiti.  Frank’s law firm has stopped work on the lawsuit because they need more money for legal fees.

Frank’s lender is threatening foreclosure and a deficiency judgment.  Frank makes $100,000 per year.

What does Frank do?  If his litigation fails, he will most like need to file for bankruptcy.  However, Frank will be forced into a Chapter 13 and with his income will most likely pay at least 40 cents on the dollar to his creditors including the mortgage for a period of 5 years.

Another option for Frank is to sue the attorney he hired for malpractice, however, this claim will be difficult because the attorneys filed a lawsuit within the time limits.

Frank is stuck in between some problems with very few good solutions.  The lesson is to immediate get the home re-inspected, get a mold inspection, get a remediation estimate and then interview 3 different attorneys to determine the best plaintiff’s attorney for the complex claim.  Although not always available, these types of lawsuits often benefit from being contingency fee suits.

For more information about this topic, general real estate issues, bankruptcy and other legal issues, please call NLO Nelson Law Office at 877-GO-GO-NLO or email to:  info@nelsonlawoffice.com

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