Mold Cover-up

by Lori Faulk
(Santa Rosa, California)

I live in a mobile home park where I know we have a problem with mold. Last year an elderly neighbor suffering from health issues had a mold inspection done and it was found to be uninhabitable due to the mold...she moved and her mobile home was dismantled and hauled off. Recently another elderly neighbor with a host of health issues, as well as being a hoarder for many, years passed away.

Apparently having no family remaining and no money it seems as though the bank now owns this home. I was friendly with this woman, had known her for years prior to living in the same mobile park. She was eccentric, in very poor health, had breathing issues and was horribly dependent on pain pills. Over the 12 years being neighbors I can attest that her two-bedroom mobile home was in horrible condition. She was a hoarder extreme. There were over two thousand dolls that took up the living room (there was very little room to walk and you had to walk sideways down her hallway because of all the boxes and newspapers). The dolls had once been a beautiful collection. Some may have been worth something at one time, but she never ever cleaned in any manner. There was a dog that peed all over for many years, and a couch I discovered urine soaked after I sat down on it. Apparently, she just kept laying blankets on top. The house smelled so heavily of cigarette smoke (she was also a three-pack a day smoker) as well as a heavy mold odor, it made me gag. There was a urine stench, both human and animal, throughout. One bedroom housed as many as ten pair of parrots and the floor was completely covered with bird crap, feathers, and seeds. One wall where the cages with the birds had been kept was covered with not only years of bird shit, but also a black mold. It was absolutely horrific.....needless to say I spent little time inside her home bathroom was also not working, something about the pipes, and I was not about to go in and look.

Anyway, the house sat completely closed up for at least four months. About a month ago, a crew came with two giant garbage containers and three men geared up with special masks and clothing, and took about two weeks to remove the doll collection, and boxes upon boxes of everything from Christmas decorations, pink plastic flamingos, to hundreds of empty prescription pain pill bottles. Some of the dolls literally were rotten with mold. After that, the house again sat for about a month with all the windows open. We looked through the windows and you could see the mold growing thick in the window runners, the screens were ready to disintegrate with filth. Did I mention she had lived in that mobile home for 20 years, the last ten in the shape I am describing? You can smell the heavy mold odor standing outside. Last weekend two guys showed up and in about two days they had repainted both the inside and outside, and to my utter disbelief, it looks as though it will be up for sale......HOW CAN THIS BE OKAY?????

I have not one doubt that home is a toxic horror. The bank just wants to make back their money. I believe both the space rent and the mortgage were months behind as she was horrible with money. She would spend hours buying from catalogs, and there is no way she was paying anything the last year. Her power was always being shut off etc. etc. She constantly bothered neighbors for loans to buy cigarettes or pay for her cell phone, and I never saw her eat anything but toast. She didn’t own a car so she took a taxi everywhere spending as much as seventy dollars to have a cab take her for cigarettes and to cash her check. Her last months she was finally put in a convalescent hospital. I think a health inspector should have been called in long ago and now it looks like the bank just did the minimum and that all they care about is getting an easy 150 thousand by selling. It is highly likely a family will move in there. What if they have babies or young children.......I wish I had photos but there are at least five or six people that will back up this story and who saw inside that house.

One neighbor actually got in there within a week of the owner passing away and made off with a beautiful jukebox, some collectible china pieces, the dead owners jewelry, which she bragged about finding hidden under the mattress, as well as a laptop computer and a 52 inch big screen tv, none of which she had any business taking, but we won't go into that. Honest to God, she removed the doorknobs and got into the house and boldly wheeled her items right down the driveway to her house, claiming she had permission. Most of us that knew the owner well can tell you that she could not stand this woman who did this, they were not friends. She is not friendly to anyone here in the mobile park, whereas many of us are friendly and visit back and forth.

So what, if anything, can be done to keep some young family from buying their first home and not know that it is probably very toxic? From what I saw first-hand, that black mold has got to be all in the walls and it will come back if they just painted over it. This whole thing just seems morally offensive and if it isn't illegal to cover up a mold mess like that it darn well should be. I plan on calling the housing authority, but would love some input after finding this website.

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Is it safe to paint over mold

Can I safely paint over mold? Will that "lock-in" the mold spores?

Editors Response

It is not safe to paint over mold, and you should definitely not do that. Here are two helpful articles:

Encapsulating Mold
Using Mold Resistant Paint

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Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Mold Stories.