Inspectors Find Mold Issues in Seattle Homes

Inspectors Find Mold Issues in Seattle Homes

Mold inspectors in the Seattle area consistently report mold issues in homes in the region. Seattle is notorious for its rainy, damp weather and it is therefore no surprise to experts that many residents of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest end up with mold in their houses.

Mold Solutions NW discovered mold in the homes of several Seattle residents. Sometimes there was even black mold inside of homes in the Seattle area. Black mold is especially worrying as it can be harmful to the health of adults, children and pets inside the home. The spores of black mold, when breathed in, can causes symptoms similar to the common cold or allergies. Black mold is not only an irritant, however. It can also cause damage to the foundations and walls of the home as it grows and eats away at the underlying structure of the building it has taken root in.

Mold inspectors such as the ones at Mold Solutions NW know how to find mold. Part of their expertise is in knowing the types of places where mold tends to grow, such as in basements and along window sills. Mold tends to take hold in these sorts of places within a home because they are dark and damp. Beyond that, they are also secluded. Mold can grow undetected and undisturbed in these sorts of locations, allowing it to spread vastly throughout the entire structure.

Mold inspectors do not only look at homes, however. In the Seattle area, all types of structures tend to be impacted by mold. That is why mold inspectors also canvas office buildings and businesses. Mold does not care about who occupies a building; it will try to find a way in no matter what.

Mold inspection is recommended by experts as the first step if someone in the Seattle area believes they may have mold growth in their home or business. Mold inspectors can assess whether there is a problem, the scale of the problem and the options available for remediation of the issue. This makes mold inspection a must-have for Seattle residents.

Mold Solutions NW are some of the leading experts in mold remediation in the Seattle area.

 

Metro Detroit family says contractor left them with chronic roof leak, black and white mold

Metro Detroit family says contractor left them with chronic roof leak, black and white mold

NOVI, Mich. (WXYZ) – A Novi family says a bad roofing repair job left them with unsafe living conditions.

Tamara Renard says her roof just won’t stop leaking, causing a mold infestation.

The Novi homeowner says it all started back in the spring, after a contractor, R & L Fire and Water Restoration, was brought in to repair their roof.

The job was all set up through the graciousness of a grant- issued by the Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency, or OLHSA.

But despite good intentions by the community action group, the job on behalf of the contractor–  the family said– fell short.

Shingles, the Renards said, were replaced on a portion of the roof that was never supposed to be repaired.

Buckets were left in the sunroom to catch the constant leaking from rain or snow. And even worse, the Renards said they were dealing with what they believe is white and black mold.

It’s causing quite a challenge for their daughter who already suffers from some major health issues, including congenital scoliosis and asthma.

Calls out to the company in the last month, they said, have gone un-answered.

So today, Channel 7’s Taking Action news team was on the case, reaching out to OLHSA, then to the contractor. Their stance is that they never repaired the part of the roof that’s causing all the problems.

The Renards say they have evidence to prove that’s not true.

OLHSA responded with the following statement:

We deeply value this family and every family that we serve. Tomorrow, an inspector will visit the home to determine what further services OLHSA is able to provide. We will do everything in our power to see that this family’s home is taken care of.

The contractor has also agreed to be back at this home tomorrow, showing some progress towards resolve.

Channel 7 will continue to follow the story until a solution is determined.

Cleveland homeowner’s basement flooded by neighboring, vacant home

Cleveland homeowner’s basement flooded by neighboring, vacant home

“I’m fed up and I’m tired because nobody cares about my basement getting flooded out.”

Imagine having a flooded basement during a Cleveland winter and while the culprit is so close, it’s a pain to fix it.

That’s been the story for Pamela Pitts, who said she’s tried everything she can to address the water in her basement caused by the vacant home next door.

“You got to come down here every 15 minutes trying to clear it up,” Pitts said, as she used her shop vacuum to clean up puddles on the floor.

She said she painted and renovated her basement in November, and in early January she noticed water creeping in.

“It’s still coming back,” Pitts said. “No matter how much I suck up.”

She said she didn’t even have to go into the house to hear the sound of the water dripping in an already full basement next door.

No one has lived in the home for months, but the water is still on.

The Cleveland water department confirmed there was a busted valve in the street, causing the extreme flooding.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the water department stated, “We need to put a request in for a dig up in order to expose the valve and have the water turned off at the street.”

They plan to do that on Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, Pitts said she’s had to remove water-soaked rugs and try to control the smell coming from her water damaged furniture.

“Right here, there was some black mold and we had to cut that out,” Pitts said. “I have allergies and so do my grandkids.”

She also said she tried reaching the landlord for the property next to her, and while he promised to come out and help fix the problem, he hasn’t yet.

“You don’t care because if you did you would have came your butt back here today and took care of what you said you were gonna do,” Pitts said.

“I’m fed up and I’m tired because nobody cares about my basement getting flooded out.”

Pitts said she does plan to file a claim with the city for the water damage she’s gotten over the past week.

Foundation Danger: 5 Things Buyers And Sellers Need To Know

home that needs foundation repair

Cracks or problems in a home’s foundation might seem intimidating, but they’re not always as bad as they seem — for sellers or for buyers.


The foundation might not be the most exciting part of the house, but it is arguably the most important.

When you’re buying a home, there are plenty of fun things to focus on, like putting in an outdoor fire pit, chilling a bottle in that fancy new wine fridge, or relaxing in a soaker tub, to name a few. But before you start envisioning organizing your clothes in that fabulous walk-in closet, drop your eyes down a bit to focus on the home’s foundation. It holds up the house, after all. If what lies beneath isn’t good, it can cause lots of headaches (and cost you big).

Whether you’re a buyer with concerns about your potential new home’s foundation or a seller who has noticed some cracks, you’ll likely need to take some kind of action to resolve the issue (or at least know what you’re dealing with). Here’s what to do.

1. How to spot the signs of foundation damage

When you’re looking at homes for sale in Charlotte, NC, or any other city, you’ll need to know whether there truly is a bad foundation or whether those cracks are from normal house settling. Here are some things to look for that could indicate potential foundation problems, courtesy of Janine Acquafredda, a Brooklyn, NY, real estate agent.

  • Misaligned doors and windows (could indicate a shift in the foundation)
  • Doors that stick or don’t latch shut
  • Windows that are difficult to open or that have cracks in the glass
  • Sloping floors or staircases (indicates a probable pitch in the foundation)
  • Cracked drywall
  • Gaps between the wall seams or between the wall and the ceiling
  • Large cracks in the exterior concrete
  • Water in the basement, crawl spaces, or around the perimeter of the home

If you spot any of these issues, consider hiring a structural engineer in addition to a home inspector. “The average home inspector often won’t know the full aspect of the damages,” says Mayer Dahan, CEO of Prime Five Homes, a real estate development company in Los Angeles, CA. Hiring a structural engineer typically costs anywhere from $500 to $1,000, but if you suspect you need foundation repair, it’s probably worth the cost to find out for sure.

2. Should you buy a house with foundation problems?

In a word? Maybe. If the house you’ve fallen in love with has foundation issues, you might not always want to back away — especially if you live in a competitive real estate market. But don’t expect the purchase to be a cakewalk: Now that you’ve uncovered some real problems, it’s prime time to renegotiate the home’s price to reflect the amount of money you’ll have to put into it to shore up the foundation. “If you are getting a good deal and love the house, by all means, go for it,” says Acquafredda. “Foundation problems can be corrected.”

3. Foundation cracks? Beware, but be smart

Not all foundation cracks are created equal. Some point to normal settling, but others can signal a foundation problem. How can you tell the difference? Consider the size. “Thin cracks — less than ¼ inch — on foundations and walls happen as a house settles, and have probably been around for most of the house’s life,” says Kelvin Liriano, home inspector at Three Keys Home Inspections Inc. in the New York, NY, area. “They just have to be sealed to prevent water intrusion.”

But wide cracks or displacement could indicate a problem that needs to be addressed. Although it could be a costly repair, if you buy a house with a foundation problem, you should be prepared to take action quickly. “It will only get worse and more expensive to fix over time,” advises Dahan.

4. Selling a house with foundation problems? It’s possible

If you know that your house has a foundation problem, you might wonder if you should fix it before you list your home. Acquafredda says to be honest and upfront with buyers by disclosing what the foundation problems are, but not to fix them. Here’s why: “The history of the repair will most likely require permits to be pulled, and it will be documented and become public record.” The problem with that is, potential buyers will probably cross your home off their list if they see there have been foundation problems. And if buyers don’t even look at your house, you won’t have a chance to explain that you’ve fixed the issue. It might be better to not fix the problem but let the buyer know about it so they can bring in people they trust to do the job.

But as the saying goes, even a pancake has two sides. Dahan offers another school of thought on whether you should fix a foundation problem before putting your house on the market: “It is advisable to fix the foundation before selling. The warranty and reputation of the contractor will be a strong selling point to a potential buyer.”

5. You can turn cracked lemons into lemonade

Sellers can market a foundation problem as a good thing. (Yes, really!) After coming down on the price of the home, let potential buyers know that while they’re fixing the foundation, they “can easily add new amenities to the property,” says Elizabeth Jenkins with Source Capital Funding, Inc., a San Diego, CA-based real estate lender. “People like to create their own personal paradise, and this will attract buyers who have a can-do attitude.” Further proof: Atlanta, GA, real estate agent and attorney Bruce Ailion advises people to buy homes with fixable foundation problems. Why? “The discount to buy is perhaps 20% to 25%. The cost to cure is usually about 10%,” he explains.

Woman concerned that mold in her apartment may be making family ill

Woman concerned that mold in her apartment may be making family ill

Woman says mold is growing throughout her apartment
Steve Jefferson

Published:
Updated:

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) – An Indianapolis mother wants to know if her family is in danger after discovering they were living with mold in their apartment.

The family moved into a unit on the sixth floor of a complex at 36th St and N. Meridian a couple of years ago.

Marcya Hill-Brown started noticing the mold a few weeks ago and became really concerned when people of the household mentioned not been feeling their best lately. She is waiting to hear back from the health department about questions she has about the mold.

“It started up in the corner of her exercise room,” she said. “I just saw little spots.”

After an initial cleaning with bleach, it just got worse so she reported it to her landlord.

“I let them know I called emergency maintenance, ‘I think I have some black mold in my apartment.” She said they told her they would send someone.

She said the mold has spread in just weeks.

“I take pictures every week and there is more mold,” Hill-Brown said.

A section of wall behind her desk is full of fungus.

“My daughter has reactive lungs. I have had a sinus infection almost every other month,” she said.

Mold and mildew can cause some illnesses to people who are exposed to the fungus. According to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, symptoms for exposure include rashes, watery eyes, a runny nose, coughing and other signs. But the CDC says there are no government standards established for household mold levels or mold spore levels, making it almost impossible to enforce health regulations.

Officials said that during normal business hours they could research if there is an official complaint filed with the county about mold and mildew concerns at the Meridian St. property, but that the health department was closed on the Monday holiday.

Burlington Oaks resident says her windows are covered in ice and mold

Burlington Oaks resident says her windows are covered in ice and mold

BURLINGTON, Ky. — Amanda Trotter says the windows in her apartment have been covered in ice and mold since winter started.

Trotter says mold is on her front door and on the corners of her windows of her Burlington Oaks apartment, and she isn’t the only resident who’s had issues with icy windows.

“I have three kids here,” Trotter said. “I don’t know if it’s black mold, dangerous mold. For all I know it could be mildew.”

The mold, Trotter said, has been an issue since she moved in over a year ago.

“It’s very frustrating feeling like you’re living under somebody’s roof, and they don’t care about you,” Trotter said.

Trotter said she voiced her frustration on a Boone County Facebook page, and her landlord left a letter on her door soon after.

But Amber, a manager, said the notice was not related to Trotter’s windows.

“It’s due to the cleanliness that she doesn’t keep her apartment,” she said.

Amber said Trotter has 14 days to clean her apartment, and the office will work with tenants to reseal windows in the meantime.

Elizabeth Wetherell says she put plastic over her windows, and she hasn’t had any issues.

“You have to be proactive if you want something like that not to happen,” she said. “I went to the office because they’re single-paned windows and asked what I could do.”

But Trotter says she feels like that’s not her responsibility.

“That isn’t what you’re supposed to do when you own a place. I can’t go through and replace the windows myself. It’s not my responsibility. That’s why I’m renting and not owning a house.”

Murrells Inlet Garden City fire station temporarily closed after black mold discovered

Murrells Inlet Garden City fire station temporarily closed after black mold discovered

When in operation, Station No. 2 in Garden City houses three firefighters and two EMS workers. For the time being, crews have been relocated to Station No. 1 in Murrells Inlet, about 2.5 miles away.

The department is working with a local mold remediation company to remove the mold and anything else harmful to workers at Station No. 2.

City has little recourse when homes sit vacant

City has little recourse when homes sit vacant
 

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The house at the corner of Sieberg and Arnold Street in south Keizer looks abandoned from the street. Several of the windows are boarded up and “Black Mold” is scrawled across plywood in black Sharpie on the main entry, a warning to those that might try to gain access. However, the most cursory of glances shows the tell-tale signs that not everyone has heeded the caution.

A detached storage shed door is cracked open, but there isn’t anything of value in sight even after it’s opened further. Cast off tools and buckets along with what looks like a furnace all appear to have seen better days. Another open entry in the rear of the house grants a clearer perspective on the likely condition of the main living space.

Even before sliding the door further ajar, the smell of mold and mildew is overwhelming. A mattress lies rotting on its fame, on top of that a bright red pillow chair is turning black with decay. The ceiling, aside from one stalwart patch, has all fallen in on the room.

The home is owned by a Salem man, but there hasn’t been any regular occupancy in a while. In the intervening time, it’s become the “creepy house” for local youth, said one neighbor. Students from nearby Claggett Creek Middle School dare each other venture inside, others abscond with schoolmates’ backpacks and notebooks at school and then toss them into one of the open doors meaning the victim has to summon up the courage to retrieve them, he said.

Vacant and abandoned properties are not an albatross around the neck of Keizer as much as other cities, but when problems do arise, city officials don’t have the tools to correct the problems that some other jurisdictions do.

“It’s difficult because whenever we are dealing with property rights, we have to walk a fine line,” said Community Development Director Nate Brown.

At any given moment, Keizer Code Enforcement Officer Ben Crosby is trying to oversee activity at about six vacant or abandoned homes and the livability issues that tend to crop up around them.

“Typically, we have two types, ones that are being foreclosed on and then empty rentals,” Crosby said.

Attending to the needs of the properties is only one of Crosby’s many duties and he splits his time between working for the city and the Keizer Police Department.

While the problems occurring at the Sieburg home are relatively low-key and the structure itself appears unsafe for any occupancy, Keizer police ended up clearing out squatters at two other abandoned homes in 2017.

In February 2017, KPD officers executed a search warrant on a home at the corner of 14th Street Northeast and Mistletoe Loop Northeast. Two sisters and their families along with others were found inside. Crosby found solid waste violations, piles of trash in and around the home and a busted pick-up with expired plates as some of the most prominent violations. The women were cited for criminal trespass and hit with $35,000 fines. The house had been in foreclosure.

In August 2017, police rousted squatters from a home on Rivercrest Drive North where a woman had not only moved into a foreclosed home, but also began subletting other spaces inside and running a daycare on the premises. By the time police were able to get a search warrant, the occupants were in the process of creating additional, walled-off living spaces in the garage.

The problem is two-fold, one that Keizer doesn’t have much say in and the other which could allow the city to track the problem better if the city council chose to adopt new ordinances regarding such homes.

The first problem is tracking ownership.

“In some of the cases, the bank starts the foreclosure process and starts sending notices to the families who abandon the home knowing they aren’t going to be able to pay for it,” Crosby said.

That leaves the property in limbo. While the family might still have their name on the deed, the bank typically isn’t in any rush to assume ownership and all of the associated maintenance costs. Even if the city had the authority to hit the owner with penalties or fines for excess trash, noxious vegetation or disrepair, it would soon become a question of where to send the bill and no assurance that it would ever get paid.

It would also require the city to adopt an ordinance enumerating the standards that must be abided by and the requisite penalties for noncompliance. Keizer doesn’t yet have such an ordinance.

The closest the city got was a discussion at a Planning Commission meeting in August 2015. Commissioners considered an ordinance that would have put standards in place along with fees and fines, but it never made it to the city council. In retrospect, Brown thought the city had the cart before the horse. The proposed ordinance even included watering expectations, but commissioners balked at that.

“We kind of threw everything into it and when the legal department took a look at it, we realized it wasn’t going to happen,” Brown said.

Brown said recent discussions about other aspects of the city’s development code have tried to address precisely what current residents want to see when properties are developed, but those have also run into headwinds. For example, a discussion regarding establishing a public amenity fee on new and remodeled commercial properties died at the feet of the Keizer City Council amid pushback from the business sector.

Brown said he’s open to directing some resources to addressing the question of what is acceptable as far as vacant properties, but even those simple discussions quickly devolve into a question of money and staff time.

“We can talk about things like specific penalties, but any time you are dealing with enforcement, you are dealing with expenses for staff to have the time to do it and possibly more if it ends up in court,” Brown said. Penalties could be made stiffer for repeat offenders within an ordinance.

Keizer could also look into creating vacant home and rental registries. Creating such a database would allow the city, and specifically Crosby, to check in on homes on the list to make sure they are up to snuff. The registry would also include a point of contact for when things go awry.

According to the website for the Center for Community Progress, such registries can be both a carrot and a stick. Some have employed graduated fees for every year a property is vacant in hope of motivating owners to act more quickly and get them occupied. Others offer to rebate some of the registry fees when buildings are restored and put back to use.

Burst pipe, mold close West Newbury school

Burst pipe, mold close West Newbury school

  • By Jennifer Solis Correspondent

 WEST NEWBURY — A bad situation became worse at Dr. John C. Page Elementary School this week when efforts to clean up after a burst water pipe Tuesday revealed black mold in one of the affected areas.

After consulting with town Health Agent Paul Sevigny, school Superintendent Jeff Mulqueen made the difficult choice to relocate most students and staff to other schools within the tri-town Pentucket Regional School District for approximately six weeks until remediation is completed in West Newbury’s only elementary school.

Several thousand gallons of water damaged the first two floors of the school building when the extreme cold caused a water pipe to burst and trigger the fire suppression system in a bathroom on the first floor.

“The timely response of West Newbury’s emergency responders, the District’s facilities team, and Servpro minimized the damage to the school and, initially, resulted in a more optimistic prediction in the time frame needed to reopen the school,” Mulqueen wrote in a press release issued late Wednesday afternoon. Page School was closed Tuesday and Wednesday due to the flood and subsequent cleanup.

But when black mold was discovered, Mulqueen determined that moving classes out of the building temporarily would be necessary.

While there is always a little mold everywhere, indoor exposure to mold can be linked to chronic upper respiratory tract problems such as coughing and sneezing; as well as irritation to the eyes, nose and throat; rashes, chronic fatigue and persistent headaches, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

People with asthma or hypersensitivity pneumonitis may see these illnesses worsen. In extreme cases nausea, vomiting and bleeding in the nose and lungs may occur.

“The health of students and staff is paramount in the decision-making process,” Mulqueen stated, “it became clear that the safest approach for recovery is to relocate the Page students and staff to other schools in the district for the next few weeks.”

Starting Monday, fifth- and sixth-grade classes will be held at Pentucket Regional Middle School. Classes will be grouped together in an area partially separated from the middle school population.

They will be traveling on the school bus with secondary students, with an earlier arrival and dismissal time. Middle school begins at 7:35 a.m. and is dismissed at 2:15 p.m. Mulqueen encouraged parents to review the bus schedule on the district’s website (www.prsd.org) for details about bus stop locations.

Students in grades 3 and 4 will attend Donaghue Elementary School and students in kindergarten, grade 1 and grade 2 will attend school at Sweetsir Elementary School. Both schools are in Merrimac.

Only preschool classes will remain at Page School and conducted in the cafeteria.

“The cafeteria and gym at Page School have a separate air handling system and can be isolated safely from the main structure,” Mulqueen explained.

Students in preschool through fourth grade will not experience any time changes or alterations in transportation routes. Students who attend district programs for special services will attend Bagnall Elementary School in Groveland and receive more information in a telephone call from Page School principal Dustin Gray.

“While this plan will require many adjustments, it will ensure the safety of students and staff,” Mulqueen stated.

“It is my hope that we can reopen Page School within the next six weeks,” his letter stated, but Mulqueen cautioned, “It’s too early to predict given the current circumstances. As always, the patience and understanding of parents and staff members is appreciated while we address the circumstances of this dilemma.”

When reached Wednesday evening Selectman Glenn Kemper said although the damage appeared to be extensive, the building is fully insured with a $10,000 deductible for the town. Replacing or repairing damaged contents inside the building is the responsibility of the school district per the regional agreement, he added.

Kemper, who toured the building yesterday, had praise for all parties involved in the response. He approved of Mulqueen’s plan to temporarily move the West Newbury students and teachers to other buildings and insisted classes would not resume until all testing for mold or other contaminates came back negative.

Selectmen have added a discussion on the Page School repairs to the agenda of their next regular business meeting Jan. 8. They meet in the first floor hearing room of the 1910 Town Office Building.

Mold closes West Newbury’s Page School

Mold closes West Newbury’s Page School

KBA ARCHITECTS
The Dr. John C. Page Elementary School campus.

A burst water pipe at the Dr. John C. Page Elementary School in West Newbury was only the beginning of the bad news.

While trying to clean up the several thousand of gallons of water, officials discovered black mold. School Superintendent Jeff Mulqueen has decided to relocate most students and staff to other schools within the Pentucket Regional School District until remediation is completed.

Only preschool students will remain at the Page and they will be housed in the cafeteria that has a separate heating and ventilation system.

“It is my hope that we can reopen Page School within the next six weeks,” said Mulqueen. “It’s too early to predict given the current circumstances.”