In Your Corner: OK senior can’t rebuild because of mold

OKLA. CITY – Two years ago, fire put Peggy Thomas out on the street.

“[There was] smoke damage everywhere, upstairs, downstairs,” she said.

The senior’s been living with family ever since.

What’s keeping her from rebuilding her home and life is what’s been growing in the condo next door.

There’s black mold and lots of it!

Bank of America owns the foreclosure property.

Jeff Scott and Lisa Loven were hired by Peggy to do her fire rebuild and they discovered the mold outbreak next door. They took pictures.  

“[I] looked into the window and we saw mold coming through the seams of the hardwood floor and throughout there,” Scott said.

Loven says, “[It was on the] cabinets, up the walls and [I] looked over and that’s when we saw the water supply line constantly running.”

Peggy paid an engineer and air specialist to do mold testing in her unit.

She says she sent Bank of America the results of those tests, but so far BOA hasn’t remediated the mold in either unit and instead had their own contractor do repairs to cover up the mold.

“They’ve stonewalled,” Peggy said. “They sent a contractor to paint the walls. I compare that to putting a band-aid on cancer.”

“Investors go and sit in these auction rooms, they buy these houses,” Scott said. “They know they’re buying as is. They’re going to have issues with it. The problem is that property is sharing a wall with hers’.”

For more than a month now we’ve been in talks with Bank of America about the mold.

BOA spokesperson, Rick Simon, tells us they’ve only had access to their unit since January shortly after the foreclosure was finalized.

Bank of America’s statement:

Until the foreclosure sale was completed in December 2013, Bank of America did not have legal possession or access to the foreclosed unit, which is in a gated community.  The bank first gained access and was able to inspect the foreclosed unit in January 2014. Since then, the repair and remediation of the mold damage that our vendor and Ms. Thomas’ contractor identified in each unit has been progressing and is close to completion. The bank’s contractor initially took appropriate steps to remediate visible mold in the foreclosed unit, and later determined additional work was necessary.

 

We understand Ms. Thomas’ unit caught fire in 2012 and that the mold in her unit was identified thereafter. Although Bank of America has had control of the foreclosed unit for just a few months and it is difficult to conclusively determine the source of the water that caused the mold or when the water damage took place, we have undertaken the remediation of the mold in the identified adjoining area of both units at our expense. We wish Ms. Thomas well.

- Rick Simon, Bank of America Home Loans & Servicing

The In Your Corner bottom line is Peggy’s contractors can’t get to work, until the mold problem goes away, which means a move-in date for Peggy is still months away.

She said, “They don’t realize the extent of what they’re putting me through by keeping me out of my home.”

Additional mold testing was done.

Bank of America should have the mold remediated in the coming weeks.

Peggy’s contractors hope to start construction on her rebuild shortly thereafter.