Homeowner loses home and belongings to toxic mold

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) – Lisa Browne bought her mobile home without a home inspection, which in most cases can save a homebuyer from untold heartache if the house has serious defects, but Lisa’s case is extraordinary, and there are serious questions about whether a home inspection might have uncovered the threat to her health.

Shortly after moving into her home, at The Woodlands residential development in the Town of Lockport, last October, Lisa and her cat got seriously ill, and her doctors said it was due to mold, “hives, could not breathe, burning sinuses, bloody nose—everything.”

Browne then hired a contractor to find out what was making her sick, and that is when the mold was discovered.

“It was in the walls, it was in the insulation, and he said there was well over 20 different leaks in the whole place. So where I was smelling it most was in the bedroom and the master bathroom.”

But Browne said when she told the managers at the Woodlands about the toxic mold, and asked if they could remediate it, they told her that she bought it and that she owns it.

Adding insult to injury, when Lisa filed an insurance claim to fix the mold problem, her insurance carrier said she was not covered for mold, and now her furniture, clothes, most of her belongings, she can can’t even use.

Retired home inspector Randall Bolam said mold insurance can be a pricey proposition, “Some insurance companies may not even offer that. If you wanted a mold rider it would probably be pretty expensive.”

Browne admitted she made a mistake not getting her home inspected before she paid cash for it, and Bolam said banks and mortgage companies require it.

“It is very important. When you are spending that kind of money on a home or a piece of property, you’ve got to cover yourself.”

Lisa Browne and her cat are getting along well in the apartment she is renting, but she can’t afford to pay rent to live in her apartment, and lot rent at The Woodlands for her home, after shelling out $13,000 for the mobile home she can’t even live in.

News 4 reached out to The Woodlands management in Lockport and a spokesperson for the Chicago-based company that operates the housing development, Equity Lifestyle Properties, Inc. did respond.

The spokesperson said the company is investigating Lisa Browne’s issues, and will have an answer in the very near future.

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