Take a long hard look at that condo before you buy it. That is the moral of a recent Chicago Tribune article by John Bryne. The article focused on Dorothy Rush, an 86 year old woman who initially rented, and then purchased one of the condominium units at Village Centre, a 206 unit development in Mount Prospect. Rush thinks that water is seeping into the walls of her unit becuse of poor workmanship when the place was built in 2003. The mold she thinks is inside the walls irritated her eyes, throat and chest, eventually causing her to simply leave the unit.
And a 2007 assessment of the property by Raths, Raths & Johnson, an engineering firm, seesms to confirm Ms. Rush’s suspicion. It was the recommendation of Raths, Raths & Johnson that the entire brick facade of the three building development be rebuilt in order to prevent widespead leakage and stop mortar and masonry deterioration.
Apparently, Rush is not alone. Lots of folks who purchased units during the building boom in the late 1990’s are now having problems. Real Estate experts think that builders either 1) didn’t do a good job building or 2) simply ran out of money. Either way, condo owners are caught in the middle, without many options.
There may however, be some hope for future condo buyers. Representative Harry Osterman, [D, Chicago] recently sponsored House Bill 3955, which required builders to set aside a portion of the sale amount of the unit for repairs. Not suprisingly however, the bill met with stiff opposition from those in the building industry and it died in Committee. But the Association of Condominium, Townhome and Homeowners Association is vowing to continue fighting for legislation protecting the buyer in the next session.
As for Ms. Rush, she no longer lives in the unit and is paying to live in an apartment. She is reluctant to move possessions out of the condo as she is afraid they may be contaminated by mold. Ms. Rush is part of a lawsuit filed by the Condominium Association th against a variety of defendants, including the general contractor, developer and eight subcontractors. The Association is seeking $8 million dollars in damages. Presently the parties are in mediation.