Living next door to a "unsound" house
September 27, 2013 11:58 AM Subscribe
About a year ago, my wife and daughter leased a house in a new housing complex. We didn't realize it at the time, but The House* next door has large holes in the roof (only visible from the side), and my wife is worried about mold/health issues. I'm also not quite sure how to google this as details (which may or may not be pertinent) abound.
*I am told by my wife it must be referred to as "The House"
posted by Debaser626 to health & fitness (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The House is a neighboring two-story, wood frame house (ours is one story, wood frame) in a HOA-run neighborhood in South Florida, inhabited by two quiet (but strange) people, and there is about 15 feet of space between us and this house. After months of periodically talking to the neighbors about The House we found out through bits of information that:
1. The House has had large holes in the roof (now about six feet in diameter) for about five years. There are currently two holes at this size. One hole has a family of ducks that lives in it). Being South Florida, it rains quite a bit and is very hot/humid.
2. We were told that the neighborhood pooled a few thousand dollars together a few years ago so they could fix their roof, but apparently they took it without doing any repairs.
3. They have not had running water or electricity for at least 5 years.
4. They occasionally open one upstairs window a crack, but other than that The House remains sealed (windows/doors) except when they leave.
5. As of about two months ago, they have begun to mostly sleep in the car outside, but whether due to heat or other issues is anyone's guess.
6. The HOA has tried to auction The House, but the word is no one will buy it due to the roof damage visible from the exterior.
7.The HOA has also firmly stated to the neighborhood that The House doesn't present any health risk or danger of collapsing.
I'm OK with the general oddness of the situation with regards to the people next door, and they pretty much keep to themselves; though we're on a casual "wave/nod" basis. They have occasionally stolen our water out of the spigot and offered to pay when we have walked up on them doing it, but they mostly buy water from the supermarket, and honestly, an extra few bucks a month in my water bill isn't a big enough deal for me to involve myself with. I'm also not worried about property values or increasing weirdness, as we're just renters and we will move at some point.
However, my wife recently brought up the fact that she has had a spate of allergies/sinus infections recently (though as I pointed out, there were many occurrences of which pre-existed moving here), but in her opinion they are happening more frequently and the House is to blame.
After she expressed her concerns initially, I installed two true-HEPA air purifiers in the bedrooms which run 24/7, but she still insists the house next door is moldy-evil.
I believe that if there is in fact any incidental "cloud of mold" which surrounds The House, between the filter in the AC and the air purifiers, and the fact that we keep our windows and doors sealed as well we're pretty much OK.
Granted, we spend plenty of time in our driveway, but I wouldn't imagine this would be any worse than a walk in the Everglades with regards to mold-type issues.
So... I guess my question is two-fold.
1. Is this as relatively innocuous (to my family) as I think it is, or should I be more concerned?
2. If I should be taking additional steps other than the true-Hepa filters, what should I do?
I am hesitant to contact Housing Authorities as the neighbors are already in a shitty situation (though it appears it is at least partly self-imposed), but I don't personally want to make it worse for them. If it's really bad health wise for me and my family, however, I would like to know.