Beaverton, OR asked in Real Estate Law, Construction Law and Landlord - Tenant for Oregon

Q: I bought a home and did mold remediation in the attic - Found out later it was due to no soffit vents. Was that legal?

My question is regarding building code (for the most part).

Purchased an adult foster care home. Home inspection showed mold in attic, but seller refused to fix. During remediation, found out the mold was due to no soffit vents added to the 2003 construction - also no bathroom exhaust vents connected. I paid $7,000 for remediation, because it was either I buy the home and fix any problems, or he would stop renting to us and I lose my business (I was renting same home before the purchase).

I don't think I can do anything to the seller at this point, but can I go back to the people who built the home addition in 2003? Was it even legal for them to build an attic space with no ventilation, and leave 6 bathroom exhaust pipes disconnected? The mold tester guy said it was so hot the wood started splitting in some areas.

I could do nothing while renting, because if he did fix it by law - he could stop renting to us after repair. Is there anything I could do?

1 Lawyer Answer
Joanne Reisman
Joanne Reisman
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: Your best solution is to get bids to fix the problems. Adding soffits and vent fans is not extremely expensive. Oregon has statutes of limitation which prevent lawsuits after certain time periods and while there are many different time periods the statute of ultimate repose, which is the end all of time limitations, is 10 years. Sometimes there are exceptions to this 10 year limit, but you could spend a lot of money on Attorney's fees looking for an exception. Plus, no attorney is going to be interested in taking your case on spec, which means money up front. Finally, you may not have standing to sue the original contractor - the contract was with another person. I suspect all that is going to happen if you involve the City inspectors is that they are going to write you up for not being up to code.

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