In the 1990s the Texas Supreme Court changed insurance law making bad faith cases extremely difficult to pursue. In response, insurance companies changed the way they did business and began to delay and deny legitimate claims. By denying and delaying claims that they would have paid and taken care of in the past, insurance companies could keep money longer and pay out less money. These delays and denials were not only frustrating to home owners, but created problems especially in the area of plumbing and other water intrusion claims. In short the delays and denials created mold problems in many homes across Texas. Thus, it was not surprising that a few years after this shift in the law, widespread mold problems hit the state of Texas.
Instead of dealing with the problems or changing the insurance law back to allow bad faith cases, insurance companies started a misinformation campaign that all mold even toxic mold cannot hurt you. They also were able to change the Texas Homeowners Policy to exclude mold, thus shifting any liability for mold from themselves on to the Texas homeowner. Thus, Texas homeowners have been given the misinformation that toxic mold is not dangerous. Additionally, the liability for repairing any water or mold damage was transferred from insurance to the homeowner. Needless to say this again made insurance companies more wealthy, but it created a growing wave of liability of homes with mold problems.
After seeing the success of big insurance companies making millions by protecting themselves from water and mold claims, Texas builders decided to protect themselves from liability from construction defects causing water and mold claims. First by insisting all construction defect claims go through arbitration and then by setting up the Texas Residential Construction Commission or as many people call it the Builder Protection Act. This Act allows builders to delay or block homebuyers seeking redress from builder mistakes and construction defects from getting into court. Thus, a wave of homeowners with water and mold problems that cannot seek redress from the people that caused the problem.
Now a home is typically the biggest asset a person will ever have. What happens when this asset has a defect that will cost tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands to repair? Most people do not have that kind of money. Unfortunately, some of those people instead of taking a big loss will cover up the defect and pass it on to the next homebuyer hoping that they will not get caught.
First time home buyers are especially vulnerable to toxic or defective homes. They typically do not know what they are doing and have to rely on the expertise of a real estate agent. If they have a real estate agent that is more interested in a commission than helping a buyer get a good home, they can get caught by the system. Buyer beware, there are more and more toxic and defective homes on the market and the avenues to take care of these problems are being closed by big business. Worse than that there is a multimillion dollar misinformation campaign saying water damage and toxic mold are just fine.
If you have been sold a home where the seller has failed to disclose significant problems or even worse has painted over or hidden significant problems with the home, you may have a cause of action against the seller and the real estate agents involved in the transactions. If you need an Austin real estate lawyer or an Austin attorney to advise you on business development, contact Austin real estate lawyer Jason Coomer.