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Family who purchased mold-infested dream home receives $300K to rebuild

What was supposed to be an Ontario family’s dream home ended up turning into a nightmare when they discovered toxic black mold contaminated the entire property.

The Austin family – Bridget, Mike, and their two young daughters – moved from Grimsby, Ont. into what they truly thought was their dream home in Port Sydney, about a two hour drive north of Toronto. The family was excited about the move and couldn’t wait to start making lasting memories there.

While they surely made lasting memories, it wasn’t exactly what they were envisioning. Within the first few weeks of moving into their new home, the Austin’s young daughters began to develop consistent fevers. In one of their girl’s, the fever got so bad that she was admitted to the hospital, where it was determined that she had strep throat.

Despite taking medications, however, both girls continued to run moderate to really high fevers. They didn’t know why. In the not so distant future, however, they discovered the cause.

When Mike Austin and his father began pulling up vinyl flooring in the kitchen, they discovered that the subfloor was covered with black mold. They also found black mold growing in several other areas throughout their home including the basement ceiling, behind the baseboards, and even in the cold air return.

Horrified, the family wanted to find out what they were dealing with, so they hired a specialist, who confirmed what they suspected: stachybotrys, or toxic black mold, was growing throughout the house. As a result, the house was deemed unsafe to live in.

“The basically deemed our house a tear-down,” said Bridget Austin. “They said there is no amount of remediation that can be done to fix this home”

The family moved out and into a rental unit in Huntsville, a town not too far away. Bridget Austin said that they found out the home wasn’t as new as they were told it was. Their relator said the home was built in 2016, but in reality, it was constructed in 2006. Neighbors said that the house sat there, partially constructed, and exposed to all of the elements, for years, without siding or any other protection I place.

Bridget Austin said that their insurance company denied them coverage because mold existed in the home before the purchased it. Austin said that they had a home inspection done before they bought the property, but the inspection did not reveal mold growth.

The family didn’t have much recourse, so they filed a lawsuit against the builder, accusing him of covering up the mold in order to sell the property.

During the months after the tragedy began to unfold, the family had a hard time making ends meet, as their expenses were astronomical.

Their luck changed, however, when a private, non-profit organization, Tarion Warranty Corporation, which was created by the Ontario government in the 1970s, to regulate builders and protect homebuyers, told the Austin’s that they had accepted their warranty claim and they will receive a maximum payout of $300,000 to rebuild their home.

Mold Inspection & Testing Toronto strongly recommends that all house hunters arrange for mold assessments before purchasing or renting a home. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 855.600.6653.

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