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Real estate industry conjures up foolish marketing plot to avoid liability   PDF  Print  E-mail 
Thursday, 30 June 2005

6/30/05

 

By Cheryl Stevens, Guest Commentary

 

Washington, DC ? ?Buy land, Will Rogers once said. They ain't making any more of it.?  What Will Rogers didn?t know about at the time was that lobbyists for the real estate industry would assist in forming laws that are not only beneficial for realtors, but negative for the public. 

 

Case in point, embedded in the fine print in a standard earnest money agreement contract lies a little clause that states if anything goes awry with the purchase of a home, for example, the buyer or seller are signing their rights to litigate away.  Instead, they must rely on the fate of a hired arbitrator to make the final decision in any suit arisen from the purchase of that house.  Let?s say you purchased a home where the sellers or builders failed to disclose a known mold problem or construction defect.  Would you prefer a retired lawyer or a jury to decide your case?  Anyone who purchases a home has a legal right to X out that clause and refuse to agree to a binding arbitration agreement, but few do since it is not explained in full detail during the time a bid is made on a prospective home. Many realtors rely on the ignorance of the buyer to do as they may.

 

This efficacy of realtors has being challenged recently due to the barrage of litigations involving fraud, misrepresentation, and conflict of interest as a result of household mold.  Over 40% of all mold problems in homes are the result of a real estate transaction, involving thousands of realtors and brokers into costly defense litigation. Therefore, they have united to create new public relations operation aimed at homeowners with the appearance of an ?education campaign.?  As of July 1, these public service announcements will hit the airwaves sponsored by the National Center for Housing and the Environment (NCHE) and supported by the National Association of Realtors.

 

This promotion appears to be very one-sided; only telling one side of the untold mold story.  Creepy mold creatures lurking under a leaky sink illustrate how moisture can lead to serious damage in the home. Viewers and listeners are goaded to visit a strange website where they can ?learn? more about the causes of moisture problems in the home and how to solve them. 

 

What they fail to address is that many mold problems have nothing to do with maintenance, but are the result of construction defect, shoddy materials, and acts of God.  Additionally, one of the links on the website is infamous and controversial Institute of Medicine Damp Indoor Spaces and Health Report which is incomplete and only studies non-infectious diseases.  This paper is very misleading as it fails to cover the important health hazards of fungal exposure.  ?They (the authors) purposely left out the neurological health issues that have been disabling mold patients,? states Dr. Robert Johnson from Newport News, Virginia. ?I suppose the government doesn?t want to tell civil service employees, prisoners, military personnel, and students that their public buildings could be the culprit of autoimmune disease and cognitive problems.?

 

Physicians are not the only ones who question the validity of this report.  Due to the deceptive content, is in the process of being disputed.  Scott Whitenack, an attorney from California is in the process of trying to have the IoM Paper and ACOEM Report de-published. ?These papers were clearly written for defense attorneys in courtrooms across America,? states Whitenack.  With over 3,500 published papers available that explain the permanent neurological, immunological, pathalogical, and psychological damage that mold can cause, it makes one suspicious why organizations such as this resort to using incomplete and questionable data such as this.

 

Due to the unethical nature and motive of this website, we do not endorse any alleged good faith attempts of www.stopmold.org.  We urge you to give your opinions.  You may also send your comments and feedback to the head of this "task force" (below).

 

Sharon Oxley, Executive Director
National Center for Housing and the Environment
1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 510
Washington, DC 20008
202-822-4645
soxley@housingandenvironment.org

 

Discuss this topic here.

 

Disclaimer: This article is solely the opinion of the above credited author, therefore, does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Mold Help; its contributors, writers, advisors, or affiliates.  Mold Help is not liable for the content of this commentary.  MH provides this public service as a right to freedom of speech but by doing such; assumes no responsibility of this submission whatsoever.  Any inquiries to the author can be sent to this site and will be forwarded to the author if deemed appropriate.

 


Last Updated (Friday, 09 September 2005)

 
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