After you answer Jim Walker's questions and you still want to move further... here's a company that I've used in the kind of circumstance that you are in.
In our case it was a Bank Owned/REO that hired a contractor to cover up the problem.
We used Environmental Services Inc... Don Fueling.. contact them at: firstname.lastname@example.org and have them evaluate your place if you haven't already contacted a company like this.
He's been involved in several cases and is an "expert" witness.
See how bad it is first.
Let us know what happens... We'd like to hear the feedback from you...
I hope this helps...
What was the property worth in 2005? what was it worth now? How much will it cost to remove all the mold permanently and completely repair the property. How much in actual damages have you suffered? (medical bills, lost work time?
Property owners have a duty to disclose defects that are known to them, if they believe that the defect materially affects the value, use or enjoyment of the property.
Has the former owner admitted to covering up the problem? Maybe he did not know about it. Maybe he thought he had fixed it. Maybe he was just the lying sack that you just accused him of being. You have your suspicions of the former owner,. but do you have proof of your suspicions?
Was the failure to disclose due to ignorance or negligence by the seller? Or was it a fraudulent intent to deceive?
Have answers to these questions and more ready for your attorney, because she charges by the hour, in six minute increments. ( after the expiration of the first half hour of free consultation ). That free half hour will go by real quick, if you haven't got all of your documents gathered up. and answers ready. Re-read everything in your file, and organize your file with labels, before that appointment, so that you know where to look when she asks you.
another question: the value of an option to buy almost any property in California in 2010 at the 2005 market value is worthless. Even if the property was totally free of mold it would today be worth only a fraction of the value it was in 2005. It does not seem conceivable to be economically sensible to exercise an option that was tied to those bubbly boom time values.
Here's one other issue to be aware of. Depending on the age of the house you may have to have a lead-based paint certified contractor do the work. As of Sept. 1, the law says that if the house is 1974 or older, you have to have that type of contractor. The fine is $37500 per occurance - meaning anywhere in the house you do work is an occurance.
Check out UPREI, United Professional Real Estate Inspectors, (google them) for more info on that. They also do testing for mold and other hazardous materials. if you want to know what other hidden items exist, this may be the way to start.
Hope that helps,
Krista Johnson, GRI, SFR
I'd suggest you get the scope of the damages, both to the property and possible health related issues, and then determine what you really want the seller to do to compensate you. If you can handle through mediation, do that. If he's licensed through the DRE, check out avenues that way for complaints that you can file there, but really think twice before going in for a long litigation process....sorry, but the only ones who normally win are attorneys....
To me litigation always seems to be the last course of action. Is there any way you can quantify the damages via getting estimates for repairs. That will go a long way towards settlement with the seller if that's what you and your legal cousnel decide based upon the documentaton for the transaction..
Keller Williams Realty
Listen.. I feel your pain... but how do you know that the previous owner covered it up...?
If it existed prior to the time you moved in...? how do you know that..? If you were living there under what appears to be a "lease with option to buy" type of situation, are you sure the mold wasn't created after you moved in.... It's been 5 years since you apparently moved in. You've been in possession all that time right...?
I think we'd like to hear a little more information before you start calling an attorney looking for some kind of remedy from him.
Have you had a Mold Inspection completed...? That would be my first suggestion. After that is completed then you might have some kind of remedy if it can be proven the owner covered it up.
Let us know...
I hope this helps...
Make it a great day....!
You will want to consult a real estate attorney. Check the Seller Property Questionnaire if there is one. You could also contact the agent that worked with you on the transaction to get a full set of documents. They should still have them.
I work with an attorney in Folsom who could answer your question. A free consultation can be scheduled by calling them. 866-904-4171 is the 24 hour number.
Best of luck to you.