By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
According to a report on KSHB news, Mortgage lender James B. Nutter & Company had promised Aimee Patton that she would be able to return home to her condo with her daughter Amelia before Christmas. But it appears that isn’t going to happen.
The condo nightmare began for Patton in July of 2017. Heavy rains flooded a nearby creek and caused the Johnson County sewage treatment plant to back up into the several basements in her Overland Park, Kansas, condo community – not once, but twice in two months.
Patton endured two cleanups in her basement, including removal of drywall and bathroom fixtures. However, no one cleaned up the condo unit next door to hers. The vacant unit is a bank foreclosure owned by James B. Nutter & Company.
In August, Patton reported to her condo association manager, Lindsey Anderson of Young Management, a moldy smell coming from the vacant unit. Young and a few board members visited the vacant unit and discovered black mold. The condo board advised her to move out of her home until the unit next door could be cleaned.
Then in October, Patton was told she could return to her home. But not long after her return, Patton and her daughter, who has asthma, began to experience a variety illnesses. In November, Patton discovered the condo owned by Nutter was still infested with black mold.
This time, Patton took pictures and provided them to KSHB.
Losses for the Patton family are huge: at least $20,000 in repairs, loss of possessions, and medical bills; the death of their 2-year old cat from exposure to mold; continuing health issues; and ongoing $1,400 monthly costs for a condo they have not been able to live in since August.
Everyone is giving Patton the run around – her condo association, the management company, and the lender that owns the mold-infested condo next door.
The reader may wonder, why isn’t Johnson County Environmental Division intervening on behalf of Patton and her daughter? According to the agency’s website, mold is listed as one of the top three indoor air pollutants.
But nothing can be done because mold contamination is not regulated in the state of Kansas.
Molds are a natural part of our environment. They reproduce by means of tiny spores which are invisible to the naked eye and float through the air continually. Mold may begin to grow indoors when the spores land on wet surfaces. There are many types of mold. People who have serious mold allergies have severe reactions and people with chronic lung illness may develop mold infections in their lungs. Mold can primarily cause respiratory health problems such as allergies, inflammation, and infections. Coughing, sneezing, eye irritation, sore throat, skin rashes and shortness of breath are some of the symptoms. While much of the media attention has been focused on “stachybotrus” or the “black mold,” any excess mold, no matter the color, can be a problem. Mold problems are not regulated by the federal Clean Air Act. There are no established maximum exposure levels of mold as there are with the criteria pollutants in outside air. There is a great deal of research being done on the subject to try and establish standards, but as there are thousands of types of molds, this will take time. As a result, there are few, if any, local or state regulations specifically addressing mold problems.
As this story illustrates, multifamily housing presents increased health risks for residents, because of shared walls. And when you own a condo, as opposed to renting an apartment, you cannot easily walk away from your financial obligation to pay a mortgage, taxes, insurance, and condo assessments.
The next time you read a real estate promotion for “affordable, carefree, low-maintenance” condo living, remember the story of Aimee Patton and her daughter Amelia.
And be aware that condo and HOA horror stories are becoming more common. They are no longer isolated incidents.
Mom says neighbor’s black mold forced her family from their home
Pet cat died from exposure
6:00 PM, Dec 21, 2017
10:30 PM, Dec 21, 2017
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Aimee Patton and her daughter haven’t lived in their home full-time since August.
In July and August, nearby Indian Creek flooded, causing the Johnson County wastewater system to back up into her condo twice.
She cleaned it up both times.
“This whole thing has been about so much loss,” Patton said.
She wiped away tears talking about all the possessions she’s had to throw away.
Four black plastic garbage bags filled with damaged and irreplaceable items such as her wedding dress, high school prom dresses and her daughter Amelia’s school projects sat in her garage.
“I just can’t bring myself to get rid of them yet,” Patton said.
But the damage to her own property from the flooding isn’t Patton’s biggest problem.
“I was concerned that the clean up was also taking place next door in that vacant unit,” she said.
The vacant unit belongs to mortgage lender James B. Nutter & Company, who bought it after a foreclosure.
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