Mildew in the common area of a condo I'd like to buy.

Asked by Jo Erne, Washington, PA Thu Sep 26, 2013

I am interested in buying a condo in New York state (not NYC). I would be paying cash. The price is reasonable, and the place is perfect for me, except for one problem: there is mildew in the common area. This has been verified by an independent specialist. Abatement and preventive measures are apparently possible, although I don't have a price estimate yet. There is reason to believe that the condo board may not agree to pay for this. Is the board legally required to pay for this abatement? Can I pay and arrange for the abatement myself, and does that create liability problems for me? Is this a valid reason to ask the seller for a reduction in the price? Thank you so much for your help.

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7
Suzanne MacD…, Agent, Morristown, NJ
Thu Sep 26, 2013
I would suggest you ask the seller for a copy of the Condo Association rules. That should tell you whether or not the association is obligated to pay for the remediation. If not, ask if you can have it remedied. In contract negotiations you can ask the seller to do just about anything, however, if I were the seller I would not agree to remedy any situation that was the responsibility of the association, nor would I agree to a price reduction. I think your first step is to get the rules and find out who is responsible for what.
2 votes
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Thu Sep 26, 2013
Management can better help with all your questions, consider a call...
1 vote
Christopher…, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Thu Sep 26, 2013
Hi, I don't think it's valid to ask the seller to reduce the price of the home because of mildew in common areas. I would address it with the management company, see how they handle it, and base your decision to buy in the building on how they handle the situation. If the mildew is that bad and requires abatement it's a health issue, especially if it turns to mold and spreads. You share a common interest in the areas outside the home so it needs to be a group/board effort.

Christopher Pagli
Accredited Buyer Representative
William Raveis Legends Realty Group
914.406.9023
1 vote
Masha Sales, Agent, NY,
Thu Sep 26, 2013
it should be stipulated in condo offering plan if the board is responsible or not.
good luck
m
1 vote
Jim Olive, Agent, Key West, FL
Thu Sep 26, 2013
My take on this is a bit different than Janet's and Suzanne's. First off, I assume we're really talking about mold and not mildew. In either case, it is most likely not a major issue, or other residents in the condo would already have taken issue with it. If you are one of the VERY FEW people who are sensitive to mold, then it COULD be an issue for you and cause respiratory problems, but not for anyone else. In that case, I would suggest that you do one of two things: ask to have it corrected at your expense, or choose another property to buy.

Mold remediation is a huge hot button topic these days, and one that is driven by fear. As someone who paid tens of thousands of dollars for remediation myself, I think I understand it better than most, and my opinion is that it is MOST OFTEN not an issue that should cause people a lot of concern. See my blog on the subject here:

http://www.trulia.com/blog/jim_olive/2012/12/key_west_real_e…

Best of luck with your purchase...
1 vote
Actually -- I'm having a hard time distinguishing between mold and mildew. I thought mildew was caused by moisture (leaks onto dry wall or wood, e.g.), though that seems to have been the source of your mold problem. (Congratulations on getting through that with an intact house!!).
Flag Thu Sep 26, 2013
Thanks so much for your answer. It actually is mildew.
Flag Thu Sep 26, 2013
Janet Nation,…, Agent, Baldwin, NY
Thu Sep 26, 2013
I agree with Suzanne MacDowell except that I would like to add, the monthly maintenance fee may increase as a result of the remediation temporarily or permanently. If you have the option to remediate at your personal expense, and for the benefit of all residence in the building at no expense to them, you might want to consider purchasing elsewhere.
1 vote
Robert Krava…, Agent, New York, NY
Sat Oct 5, 2013
I would be hesitant to purchase an apartment in a building with such a red flag.
0 votes
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