Dangerous mold not disclosed to potential homebuyer in Cherry Creek

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DENVER -- Buying a home in Denver’s hot housing market can be difficult.  Many homes are sold before they are even listed.

So when a couple found a townhouse at 238 S. Garfield St. in Cherry Creek North for a price they thought was too good to be true, they jumped on it.

The couple offered a contract on the property listed for $772,000 but soon learned of dangerous mold inside the townhouse.

They contacted the FOX31 Denver Problem Solvers so they could warn other buyers about the hidden dangers. The couple said they were concerned the listing agents would fail to disclose the toxic mold to the next buyer.

"This isn’t a missing door knob, this isn’t a broken water heater. This is a health hazard," said the former potential buyers, who did not want to be identified.

The Problem Solvers went undercover with hidden cameras to see the dangerous mold found inside and how it could be cleaned up.

Realtor Kim Lackey and her associate Jesse Handley were showing the Garfield Street home.

Handley showed the four-bedroom, four-bathroom Tuscany-style townhouse located in the heart of Cherry Creek.

"And the inspector said it’s not bad mold. It’s just moisture mold," Handley said.

The realtor also suggested that anybody could clean it up with some bleach.

“It would just take some bleach and water,” Handley said.

The potential buyer had hired a mold specialist for $500 to see how to fix the problem. The specialist said he found high levels of stachybotrys, or toxic mold, in the ceiling and in the air.

"The listing agent basically dismissed our concerns even though she was given a copy of the report," the potential buyer said.

The mold remediation report was extensive on how it should be removed.

Since the agents had been tipped off by the mold testing company, they handed another FOX31 producer a disclosure statement that read “mold may exist on this property” and “may cause physical injuries.”

“We wanted to ask you whether you are misrepresenting the mold problem in this house," Lackey was asked.

"Yeah, I don’t have any of the rest results back, so there is no representation," Lackey said.

The potential buyers said they provided Lackey with the mold report. The couple said they came forward because, “The price is enticing and someone would easily think that’s an amazing deal. That’s my main concern.”

The price has since been reduced to $733,000. The Colorado Division of Real Estate confirmed state law requires realtors to disclose toxic mold or any other adverse condition in a home.