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  1. #1
    Amanda Stephens's Avatar
    Amanda Stephens Guest

    Default Desperate for Answers

    I bought my manufactured home April 2007. My son and I have been sick for the past 2.5 years. I knew it was something in the trailer that was making us sick. I had an Environmental guy come and test the trailer and he found mold in my HVAC unit. He cultured it and it came back showing high contamination. It is all in my duct work. I have blinds over my windows and I pulled them up last night and found mold all over every window in my house. It is only 3 years old. I went in the bathroom and the window is rotting and is covered with black mold.

    I went to the doctor 1/15/10 and she told me that I need to get out of the house until it is fixed. I can't afford to make my mortgage payment and pay rent to live somewhere else, nor do I want to pay for a trailer I can't live in.

    I filed a claim with my insurance company and they denied it saying they will not pay for a problem that is a result of a manufacturing defect.

    I called the manufacturer and talked to a Greg Speer. He informed me that they will not provide any relief until the manufactured housing commission does an onsite inspection.

    I filed a complaint with the Alabama manufactured housing commission on 1/19 and talked the director, Jim Sloan, informing him of the severity of the situation. He informed me that they will do an inspection but it could take up to 8 weeks or so before it is completed and there are six complaints ahead of mine.

    I called HUD in Washington and talked to a Mr. Wallace requesting that a federal inspector be sent to inspect the home and he informed me that the federal government doesn't have inspectors. I asked him who enforced the federal regulations and he said HUD depends on the manufacturer and the state to do it. I told him about my conversations with Greg Speer and Jim Sloan. He said he has dealt with Greg Speer before. I thought that was odd seeing as he is in Washington DC and Greg Speer is in Addison, Alabama.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Desperate for Answers

    Unfortunately, I think it is unlikely that anyone on this board will be unable to help you. You seem to have taken all of the right steps. Unfortunately, these kinds of things take time.

    Did your "environmental guy" give you any remediation recommendations?
    Generally, an industrial hygienist will provide specific documentation that will put you on the right track to clean up the problem and make repairs to prevent this from happening again. Unfortunately, many home inspectors sell mold detection services, but are not qualified to make any remediation recommendations. An industrial hygienist has that sort of training and knowledge.

    It seems to me that your next step may be to contact an attorney. An attorney may be able to help speed things up.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Desperate for Answers

    AMANDA

    did you have a home inspection done when you purchased home. if not why. hopefully your real estate agent recommended this to you. those pictures show visable defects that should have been seen at walk thru or inspection time. the important thing now is to get out and away from the toxic material and get fixed. document everything and take lots of pictures and make sure you have the hvac paper on the mold in ducts

    charlie


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Desperate for Answers

    I think Gunner gave you some good advice. Manufactured homes are notorious for water/moisture problems many times it revolves around the marriage wall where the two halves are joined.

    If you must live in the home till it is resolved, you can do a few things. Most notable would be to clean the areas that you see the mold growing, again the EPA site will tell you how to do this. The EPA site has some information that might help U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

    You might be able to find an attorney that will take you on a contingency basis, but don't be surprised if most want to charge you for their services. Unfortunately this sounds like it is headed down the path of litigation. Do not count on any government agency(local, state of federal) for help, it is your home and not the governments.

    Amanda, I'm sorry that you are facing this type of problem in your home.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Desperate for Answers

    Quote Originally Posted by Amanda Stephens View Post
    My son and I have been sick for the past 2.5 years. I knew it was something in the trailer that was making us sick. I had an Environmental guy come and test

    All of the above replies are good, but I have a question about the above: What type of "environmental guy"?

    A certified industrial hygienist or just someone who advertises themselves as a "mold expert"?

    I ask because, unknowing to you, there are A LOT of people who profess to be "Mold Experts" and have no real or proper training in it.

    Before condemning the mold as the cause of your problems, which is PREMATURE at this time, but probably what you have read and what your "environment guy" told you, your first real step is to find out is you and your son are allergic to moulds and, if so, what types, and then (and only then) does it matter what type of mold that is, black, brown, pink or any color.

    Some people are mildly allergic to specific moulds, other people are not allergic to those moulds at all, and a very few people are highly allergic to specific moulds.

    Are moulds present in your house? I can tell you without 100% clarity and knowledge, without even visiting your house, and before having seen those photos, that, yes, there is mould in your house ... just like there is mould outside your house, and mould in your neighbors house, and every single building in your town, mould is EVERYWHERE, all kinds of mould, the problem, then, is whether you and your son are allergic to what specific moulds and if those specific moulds are present.

    At this point you are in panic mode as it appears your "environmental guy" scared the daylights out of you with the MOLD IS GOLD thing and that you have succumbed to the hype about mold, without having any knowledge of whether or not it is a problem.

    First Thing - see your doctor and be tested to see what you and your son are allergic to. If moulds do not show up high on the list of things you are allergic to, *your problem may well be environmental*.

    "*your problem may well be environmental*"

    I will explain:

    I lived in Gainesville, Florida for 20 years and had bad allergies the entire time there, then I moved to South Florida and my allergies lessened - so my thinking was "Hey, this is great, I have finally outgrown my allergies." ... but then I moved up to the Daytona Beach area and my allergies came back!

    Okay, #1 *I* did not outgrow anything; #2 The environment here is essentially the same as the environment is around Gainesville; #3 The environment in South Florida WAS DIFFERENT than the environment here or in Gainesville, thus *it is the "environment" that I am allergic to*. So I went to an allergist to get tested to see just what it was I am allergic to ... note the *I* *am* *allergic* *to* ... not what was out there which should not be out there. As it turned out, *I* *am* *allergic* *to* many of the plants and trees which are "up here" and which were not down in South Florida.

    Thus the Second thing - where did you live before, what did you live in before, what was around you now which was not around you before? Check at home, at work, at school, new industries which may have moved in, did Katrina go over your area (hurricanes have this nasty habit of taking unwanted things, meaning plants, animals, birds, etc., and spreading them around where they were not found before). Use an open mind and evaluate what was around your in 2007 and before and what IS DIFFERENT now.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
    Amanda Stephens's Avatar
    Amanda Stephens Guest

    Default Re: Desperate for Answers

    Thank all of you for your replies.

    Yes, the house was inspected by the Alabama Manufactured Housing Commission when it was installed. I custom ordered the home, which is a single wide. I have always lived in Talladega and no I did not have the problems until moving into the home.

    Approximately a month ago my son came home from school (he's 12 years old) and called me at work saying he was "peeing blood." I immediately left work and took him to the doctor. They tested his urine and it was not blood it was urobilinogen. They tested his liver and his bilirubin and alkaline phosphatase were three times the high normal reference. I am someone who believes that I have to take care of my son and myself because I always have had to... so, I immediatley came home and researched causes of elevated liver enzymes. The causes were cirrhosis, hepatitis, severe muscle injury and poisoning. I questioned my son thoroughly to make sure he hasn't taken anything from anybody at school that could have contained poison. He said no so I started thinking about what could be poisoning him and I remembered the first time I walked in the trailer after they set it up there was a piece of paper taped to the refrigerator that informed me of the Formaldehyde warning, which is required by federal regulation. I wish I had been told about the hazzard when I was looking for a home, but nonetheless I assumed it must be safe or the government wouldn't let them sell them.

    I then researched to see if formaldehyde fume exposure could cause his problem and there is medical research that indicates it can cause renal failure. So when I contacted EnviroTek I wanted the air quality tested in the home to see what the formaldehyde level was. I will admit that I was suckered by the guy, who was very nice, because I never got a report with a reading of the levels of formaldehyde in the air. He found the mold on the HVAC unit did a tape lift and a swab culture and sent it to the lab. He did not see the mold on the windows and neither did I until last night.

    The lab reported the mold to be cladesporium with TNTC (too numerous to count) colonies per cfu.

    My son and I have an appointment tomorrow with an allergy specialist to be tested for an allergy to cladesporium. There currently are no tests that can be performed for formaldehyde exposure according to my doctor.

    Safe State, a department at the University of Alabama is coming Feb 2 to do some testing. I wish I had contacted them first but I guess better late than never.

    I really appreciate all of your responses and advice. It is nice to know at least someone cares about other people.

    What makes me even madder is the fact that the retailer I purchased the home from was contacted via letter by the AMHC and told to "resolve any issues before they come do their inspection." The retailer called me yesterday and asked me if he could send someone to put plastic underneath my home. I told him I did not want any alterations done until the state did the inspection. I don't want the root of the problem covered up without being resolved.


  7. #7
    bill cook's Avatar
    bill cook Guest

    Default Re: Desperate for Answers

    Amanda
    Who determined that he cause of loss was a manufacturer defect?
    What was the indicated defect?
    Is it possible that the setup man did not properly join the units properly?
    Consider that the insurance claim is not for the remedy to a manufacturer defect but is for resultant water damage. (You are not making a claim to fix the manufactuerer defect)
    What is the amount of your property damage?
    Why did it take 2.5 years to find rotton wood in a window sill?
    What causational realtionship did the doctor determine that you health issues were mold related? (no court has ever allowed testimony from physicians that attaches mold to health issues other than allergenic issues)
    Answers get answers
    William S Cook
    Public Adjuster


  8. #8
    Amanda Stephens's Avatar
    Amanda Stephens Guest

    Default Re: Desperate for Answers

    Quote Originally Posted by bill cook View Post
    Amanda
    Who determined that he cause of loss was a manufacturer defect?
    What was the indicated defect?
    Is it possible that the setup man did not properly join the units properly?
    Consider that the insurance claim is not for the remedy to a manufacturer defect but is for resultant water damage. (You are not making a claim to fix the manufactuerer defect)
    What is the amount of your property damage?
    Why did it take 2.5 years to find rotton wood in a window sill?
    What causational realtionship did the doctor determine that you health issues were mold related? (no court has ever allowed testimony from physicians that attaches mold to health issues other than allergenic issues)
    Answers get answers
    William S Cook
    Public Adjuster
    The insurance claim was for mold remediation. An adjuster came out and determined that the mold was caused because there was no vapor barrier under the home (which was not a law in 2007 but is now). Safe State is coming to assess the home Feb 2 and I am hopeful they can tell me exactly what the problem is. I believe the "whole house ventilation system" isn't properly designed. It is a singlewide and there are no obvious vents other than the a vent in each bathroom (2) and one over the stove. There is perforated soffit, which according to federal regulation can account for 40% of the ventilation system but at least 50% has to be ridge cap ventilation and there is no ridge cap ventilation that I can see. I will be interested to see what the pressure envelope is because I am almost certain it is not right.

    My physician is an allergy specialist and she said our problems are due to a mold allergy but to confirm her diagnosis my son and I are being tested tomorrow.

    The window is behind the toilet and is covered with a blind. I have never lifted the blind, for privacy reasons, until last night because I inspected all the windows to see if I could see any mold. The windows are double paned windows and there is mold growing between the windows, which to me indicates the windows were not sealed properly, which I believe is a manufactured defect. The home is a singlewide so there were no units to join.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Desperate for Answers

    Quote Originally Posted by Amanda Stephens View Post
    My physician is an allergy specialist and she said our problems are due to a mold allergy but to confirm her diagnosis my son and I are being tested tomorrow.

    A VERY IMPORTANT step as only after that can things be tied together ... or isolate apart.

    Glad you have already scheduled to take that step.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
    bill cook's Avatar
    bill cook Guest

    Default Re: Desperate for Answers

    Amanda
    It appears that you have diagnosed the problems with a sophistication that is beyond the skill of the average homeowner. If your diagnosis are factual and well founded you will be able to take the MH builder to the woodshed.
    Goodluck
    William S Cook
    Public Adjuster


  11. #11
    Amanda Stephens's Avatar
    Amanda Stephens Guest

    Default Re: Desperate for Answers

    Quote Originally Posted by bill cook View Post
    Amanda
    It appears that you have diagnosed the problems with a sophistication that is beyond the skill of the average homeowner. If your diagnosis are factual and well founded you will be able to take the MH builder to the woodshed.
    Goodluck
    William S Cook
    Public Adjuster

    Thanks for the vote of confidence. We'll see. Problem is the manufacturer has been sued over 600 times in Alabama and has only lost once. Might have something to do with the fact that Warren Buffett owns the company.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Desperate for Answers

    In addition to the great advice by others, consider
    - researching the names of all the parties you mentioned in your previous posts, any product names or the model name of your unit. This may pop up other cases that have occurred and give you some background ammunition.
    - I highly doubt it is 'by chance' that Mr. Wallace and Mr. Speer already know each other. There probably have already been issues.
    - Is this particular home popular in your area? Are there many? If you could talk to other owners and find out if they have similar problems, that might get an attorney interested in a class action suit. It is very probable that the same crew put the other homes together as well.
    - If you know someone who has access to Westlaw or other legal databases run all the names through those also.
    - Can you put a free ad in your local paper, say in the personals section asking , Do you have problems with your X home?
    - As you seem to know, information is the key.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  13. #13
    Cobra Cook's Avatar
    Cobra Cook Guest

    Default Re: Desperate for Answers

    For to be only 3 years old the trailer appears to be in bad shape. It would not be unusual to find MOLD growing behind a closed shade in a bathroom. The shade needs to be opened some what to allow the vapor to dissipate more quickly. If MOLD is growing between the two window panes then yes the seal is broken which allowed the inside of the window to collect moisture, combine that with the shade staying closed is a perfect mixture for MOLD to grow. Does the bath have a vent fan? The inside of the air handler looks to be much older than three years old, is it a possible that the home contains Chinese drywall? That is what has been confirmed as making people sick also. Cladosporium is a common out door fungus and should be lower inside the house. The only way to confirm this is to compare the indoor and out door samples. This mold will grow on any moist items ie: around refrigerator doors, windows behind closed blinds in a bathroom, inside ac coils, ect. It is a common allergen and can cause mycosis, common cause of extrinsic asthma, all the way to 8 syllable words too hard to pronounce. I feel your mold tester did not do a very good job if they did not take cultures to determine live samples or the difference between the indoor and outdoor concentrations. You also have to accept responsibility for not seeing this happening sooner, especially around the windows and refrigerator doors ect. How do you know there is no vapor barrier? It should not be able to be seen as it should be facing the bottom of the floor, was it installed backward and facing the ground?




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