What are a residents rights when their mortgaged home is found to be full of mold?

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What are a residents rights when their mortgaged home is found to be full of mold?

My elderly parents recently discovered mold was absolutely rampant in their home – walls, under the floor, everywhere. My mom has cancer and it is simply not safe for her to be in there. Their property includes 5 acres of land in a fairly rural area. My father wants to tear down the home which is an old double wide modular and build a house. Is he allowed to do that? The property is worth about $30,000 more than they owe on it.

Asked on July 6, 2017 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The lender has no responsibility for a mold condition: all they did was lend the money for this. This means, among other things, that they do not need to forgive any part of an existing mortgage, refinance a mortgage, grant a new mortgate, etc., even if such is necessary as a practical matter to remediate the condition or build a new house--again, it's simply not the lender's concern. (They can voluntarily *choose* to do one or more of these things, but do not have to.) So as a property owner, your parents can legally do this, but will remain responsible for all amounts due under the mortgage and will have to find financing, if they need it, for the demolition and construction. Your mother's health issues are legally irrelevant: the lender has no duty to her in regards to health. The lender is only a lender--nothing more--and has no responsibilities other than to honor the terms of the mortgage (and can insist that your parents honor the terms, too).


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