Testing and Lab Analysis of Mold

621 S Log Haven, Crystal River, Florida 34429

These documents were provided to Birgit Hutchcroft at the time.

 

The wooden log cabin sits in a low lying area. In heavy rain, standing water would accumulate under the log house. The area directly behind the cabin floods and quickly becomes mosquito infested. Increasing respiratory problems and mold musty odors caused us to hire a company to test the interior air for mold counts. Mold, including black mold, is a serious problem in this area, particularly for property that is on often wet land.

We also found a visibly apparent severe and large mold (black in color) infestations on the wooden floor and framework under the house. We determined to our concern level that the house was not safely inhabitable without a mold cleanup, which could be extremely costly particularly if it has permeated the heavy wood structure throughout the entire interior of the house. The design of the house would not readily allow just replacing areas of drywall and wood framing as it is not constructed in such a manner. It could be particularly costly given it is nearly an entirely heavy wood structure for which removal of the wood could possibly equate to a near total demolition. Mold can not be eliminated by merely painting over it or just removing it from the surface by my understanding and past experience. However, we did not explore contracting for mold remediation as the property came into litigation for many reasons.

I am not an expert in regards to mold as the reason to hire an outside expert for testing. That the air throughout the house tested for significant  mold content, the mold infestation appeared not limited to just under the house but potentially throughout the entire structure.

A subsequent occupant claiming to be one of the subsequent purchasers also told of experiencing health respiratory problems.

The below documentation is of the testing we had done by a company that specializes in such testing. The results and a copy of all below were provided to Birgit Hutchcroft at the time so such issue and problem were and are fully within her knowledge. I do not know if she discloses this to potential buyers other than 2 subsequent buyers told me she did not disclose it to them.

Possibly she has documentation of a subsequent mold eradication program she had undertaken or contrary documentation.

Ethics and possibly civil law require the seller to disclose of a known or potential mold issue to potential occupants and/or purchasers of residential property that may not show up in an ordinary inspection. Additionally, a mold problem can be temporarily hidden by superficial cleanup actions that only temporarily hide the mold odor or otherwise temporarily hidden by superficial clean-up. While we were present, the mold was very visible if a person crawled under the structure. While painting or superficial cleaning over embedded mold may hide the mold, temporarily, generally mold can not be contained by paint or surface cleaning for long.

I am concerned as particularly people from other regions may find the charm of the house inviting, while not knowing of the severe  potential health harms, which can be life threatening and may cause permanent health damage (particularly to children and the elderly by my understanding). A person also may not know of the possible extremely high costs involved in an extensive mold removal, particularly if it has been allowed to continue to grow for many years. Mold removal potentially can be more costly that replacing the entire structure. However, I am not an expert on the topic and any potential resident, tenant or purchaser should consult an expert as to the current situation of the log cabin and mold as to whether any mold danger is present.

A mold expert could explain the degree of severity of the testing spore counts results (air) and possibly estimate how this might increase over years without professional mold remediation action.

The seller could provide any documentation concerning any potential mold issue and action taken regarding mold.

I would strongly advise any potential buyer have a specific and expert inspection of the property in relation to mold before a final purchase of the house. It is questionable if insurance would cover any mold issue if the mold issue was known and not disclosed at the time the policy was issued as another potential concern area of a potential purchaser. This mold documentation has been publicly online since 2010.

Generally, I would advise any potential buyer to exercise reasonable caution in regards to the property and structure. It is a very charming log cabin visually, making it easier to set aside realistic concerns. The house purchase was a very bitter and costly experience for us, and subsequent purchasers have told us of similar experiences and economic loses for various reasons.

ADDITIONAL COMMENT FOR ANY POTENTIAL PURCHASER:

Without making any accusation, based upon my experience and speaking with 2 subsequent purchasers and others in the area familiar with the property and the seller, I STRONGLY advise the following:

1. SURVEY: That a survey be done of the property PRIOR to final closing to assure that the legal description of the property matches what the purchase believes to be buying and to not solely rely upon representation by the seller. A surveyor could advise if the legal description matches the expectation of the purchaser. It is the written contract's legal description, not verbal statements by the seller or seller's agent, that defines the purchase.

2. SECURITIES GIVEN TO SELLER: Any cash or checks given to the seller towards purchase should be accounted for in the final sales document. Any uncashed checks in possession of the seller should be either returned prior to or counted towards the purchase in the final contract, as should any deposits. For real estate purchases, do not rely on any verbal representations by the seller or seller's agent.

3. EVERYTHING IN WRITING: The Buyer(s) should not rely upon any verbal promises by the seller or seller's agent. Verbal promises generally are not enforceable in land sales even if the verbal agreement could be proven.

4. DEFINE OWNERSHIP OF ALL PERSONAL PROPERTY IN CONTRACT: The contract should state that all personal property including, but not limited to, furniture, appliances, pictures, plants, knickknacks, kitchen items, and every other item of any kind on the property of any kind becomes the property of the buyer unless specifically otherwise excluded in the contract. This avoids post sale disputes over items at or in the property.

5. CHANGE LOCKS: I advise the purchaser promptly have the locks rekeyed or replaced upon taking possession of the property. This is for many reasons, including there have been many occupants and seemingly buyers of this log cabin.

6. FUTURE AGREEMENTS: I advised any buyer(s) to not enter into any loan, contract or business deal with the seller without it being in writing and if of substantial value reviewed by an attorney, title company or other expert. Do not rely upon oral promises and representations.

BELOW ARE TESTING RESULTS OF THE AIR IN VARIOUS AREAS OF THE LOG CABIN ON THE DATE STATED 
We contracted with James Ferguson for air testing, who had employed EDLab, Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory conduct the lab testing of samples

NOTE: The very high level below #7 Tub Drain corresponded to what appeared to be a visible enormous mold infestation - black in color - under the house in the same area.

That there was a notably higher count at the upstairs bathroom also caused us concern that the mold issue may be throughout the entire structure and not just localized.

 

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