Disclosure? - Posted by Mainer

Posted by Mainer on April 13, 2006 at 06:22:53:

I’m sorry - I forgot to mention that this home is on rented land, so the rules of the Maine Real Estate Commission do not apply. There is absolutely no entity to regulate or police these people. So I don’t think the “Dual agency” issue has any bearing.

The Town Board of Realtors has the authority to slap their wrist and impose a small fine, but they refuse to. People in this area stand up for one another no matter what, and I’m a (hated) outsider.

So in Maine, a realtor can put his sign on the lawn of any mobile home in a park, and then proceed to break any law they wish with full impunity.

The only people who appear to know this, are the Real Estate Commission, and the (many) dishonest realtors themselves.

The cost of litigation is generally more than any mobile home is worth, and the man who owns the park is the town’s biggest taxpayer —they say he also owns the whole town. (This area is known for its long time graft and corruption).

The first lawyer with whom I spoke just laughed and told me I was going to lose. And every local I ask tells me that no judge will rule in my favor, no matter what.

Maine is starting to become infamous for this sort of thing.


Disclosure? - Posted by Mainer

Posted by Mainer on April 12, 2006 at 07:37:06:


I recently bought a mobile home in a park in Maine. I bought it with the help of the seller’s agent, who filled out the inspection report for me. This report was one of those generic things that had been copied, and it had a long list of issues with little check boxes next to them.

We were going down the list, and he was checking/not checking the boxes. When we got to the “Mold” square, I said “Yes” quite loudly, because I had researched mobile homes online, and learned of potential mold problems.

It was then that there was a strange 5 second pause, and he got an odd, narrow look on his face. But he finally shook it off, put a check in the “Mold” square, and went on down the list.

The inspector, who was also recommended by the seller’s agent, completely ignored the “Mold” square, and wrote nothing next to it, so I assumed the home was safe. But not surprisingly, once the weather changed (it had been a very cold winter) I started to smell mold very badly, and later found out that the home is uninhabitable because of toxic mold.

I did not know that a mold inspection in this state is supposed to be done by a CERITFIED mold inspector. (There are no requirements at all for general house inspectors, like the one whom the agent recommended).

Every other realtor to whom I have spoken knows the requirement for a CERTIFIED mold inspector. It is now very obvious that the agent was thinking about this during that strange, odd pause. This would have been the point at which he disclosed the certification requirements, and we arranged to get the separate mold inspection. But he obviously decided against informing me of the necessity, and I remained clueless.

Did he have any legal responsibility to disclose this necessity to me? I asked for a mold inspection, and he deliberately did not tell me. Should he have told me? (Morally - yes, of course he should have. But - legally - was he required to?)

Thank you very much.


Re: Disclosure? - Posted by John Merchant

Posted by John Merchant on April 12, 2006 at 09:57:46:

I know you New Englanders aren’t known for being wild spenders ;), but it strikes me that a little money spent now on lawyer’s fee would be the better investment than being stuck with a moldy tin can.

If I were your lawyer I’d want to examine some issues you raise including the possible liability of the “dual” (?)agent, whom you say “helped” you; the possible liability of the so-called inspector; possible liability of the Seller who may have given you a phony or inadequate disclosure of the mold situation.

In most states your case would allow a claim or suit against 4 parties here…the Seller, the Agent, the Broker and the Inspector.

It’s always fun to sue a bunch of defendants like this in one suit because invariably they then begin to squabble and fight among themselves and that’s fun to watch.

Re: Disclosure? - Posted by Mainer

Posted by Mainer on April 12, 2006 at 15:36:45:

Just the thought of that scenario makes me shiver with happy anticipation.

But lawyers aren’t so easy to come by around here. The realtor in question has bought up every one for miles and miles. The others are a bit…vague…?

In fact, the last lawyer I just paid to consult with didn’t know the answer to my original question, which is why I posted it here.

The one before that thought that a printed web page would stand up in court, and also chided me because my blog was full of “vin-di-KAY-shun” and “HY-per-bowl”.

The one before that told me I’d have to go on “60 Minutes” and “20/20” to get any justice.

The one before that made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

That’s why I’m online. This part of Maine may not quite be the Ozarks, but we’re sure not in Kansas anymore.

Thanks for your reply.