America's Foreclosed Homes Are Literally Filling With mould

Moldy wall

Photo: editor b via flickr

As the nation’s foreclosed homes sit unoccupied they’re becoming host to a growing mould problem.According to NPR, the normal process that keeps mould at bay called the “stack effect” occurs when residents enter and leave, allowing the ebb and flow of air to cycle through the home and through the roof. In foreclosed homes without electricity and no one coming and going, the air sits, with mould often settling in. Getting rid of it is expensive.

With crews wearing full body protective suits, even minor mould abatement will run in the thousands of dollars plus the cost of replacing floors, walls, and carpets. Bob Bennet, a specialist interviewed for the story, said one-in-four of his jobs in Ohio are now mould abatements in a foreclosure.

NPR talked to Realtor Rebecca Terakedis:

“I have a release form that I use, and if the property has got a lot of mould in it, I don’t even let my own husband go in it without signing this disclosure because I don’t want the liability,” she says. “I had one really interesting [one]. It was the middle of winter. There were icicles coming out of the windows above the garage, no heat, but it was 80 degrees inside of the house because it was self-composting.”

This is just one of the many astonishing costs in holding foreclosed homes. Fannie Mae, for instance, spent $36.7 million in six months mowing lawns.

Don’t miss: A Satellite Tour Of America’s Foreclosure Wastelands >

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