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Citation: Nick French, () "Essays in Honor of William N. Kinnard, Jr. Research Issues in Real Estate Volume 9", Journal of Property Investment & Finance.
Table of contents
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- Essays in Honor of William N. Kinnard, Jr.
The results of this survey demonstrate the relative undesirability of residences afflicted with toxic mold.
Full information generally means that the seller would have to disclose the condition upon listing the house for sale and that the buyer would be provided with enough information to be considered well informed. The appropriate figure for a given situation would depend on supply and demand and would reflect postcure stigma. This reduction in bid value is a way to measure the reduction in housing utility, or the flow of enjoyment from owner-occupied housing.
It also assumes more complete information than is probably the case among actual buyers and sellers of homes in typical transactions where only sellers may know of selected defects but choose not to disclose them unless required by law. Within the marginal-bidder framework, an important issue is how to reconcile what portion of market bids should be considered.
For example, there are buyers in every market that self-select, use asymmetric information, or have different levels of risk aversion. But that does not mean that the average or typical market participant who purchases a home in that same market thinks and acts like the buyer who has an unusually high or low level of perceived or real risk. For example, a structural engineer with special expertise buying slide-zone property that others consider worthless would have a dominant bid for a property in a slide zone.
This situation is more relevant for a single or very small set of properties; however, even in this situation, market depth is an important issue. After the first house sells at or near full, unimpaired value, is there another engineer ready to buy the next house? More generally, there are information and search costs, and some high bidders also look at other properties. Thus, each high bid would not get assigned to each house on the market, and bidders below the top bid would be able to acquire properties with their bids.
This supports averaging the top of the market in those markets with few defective properties for sale. This is an example of a market with low supply and limited demand. Although it is true that in some cases groups of buyers may have less than full information about local market conditions e. In sum, because the CV survey results include a few full undiscounted bids on a property with toxic mold does not mean that every house affected with mold will trade at full value without a discount. How to determine which portion of the top of the market to apply in a given situation is an important matter for future research.
Rigorous case studies can also provide guidance in determining potential real property value losses. The case study property is an apartment complex originally constructed in When he purchased the property in , the unit complex had only eleven tenants and only seven of these were paying rent. The complex had poor-quality construction and lacked ventilation systems in the bathrooms and kitchens.
This resulted in continuous upkeep of the buildings and higher maintenance costs than the owner expected. This occupancy level had been maintained for the past decade with a rental rate attractive to a lotto middle-income renter pool. Although fairly typical, the recourse factor substantially complicates the analysis of this case. Discover y of Mold and Cancellation of Insurance In , the owner of the apartment complex evicted a tenant for nonpayment of rent, and the tenant notified the health authority that he was not paying rent because of claims of a toxic mold concern.
The health authority required the owner to open up the walls in the unit for inspection once the occupant had permanently vacated.
This action revealed a visible amount of mold inside the walls, alarming the owner and motivating him to investigate toxic mold issues on the Internet. He discovered pictures of toxic mold that resembled the conditions of the interior of the walls in the vacated unit. His further investigation revealed the growing number of litigation cases and claims of health effects from toxic mold.
The property owner assessed his options prior to having the entire complex investigated. If an investigation revealed a toxic mold problem throughout the complex, he would be obligated to notify each of the tenants. He notified his insurance company of the findings by the health authority.
Insurance company representatives came to the site and tested for toxic mold. During the visit, the insurance representative notified the owner that the policy on the apartment complex would be cancelled in forty-five days. The property owner was informed that a mold claim was not covered because it is considered fungi and thus excluded in the insurance policy.
The potential for tenant lawsuits based on health claims, the loss of revenue during the remediation, and the re-leasing of units to new tenants because the current tenants were likely to find other permanent housing in the interim were important issues. Also of concern was that public knowledge of the mold problems would result in higher vacancy or lower rents. The cost to bring the building up to current building codes was unknown, and it was unlikely that the complex would be able to get insurance after remediation. Any decision would prove costly.
The owner decided that the way to minimize losses was to demolish the buildings. He notified the tenants by letter that he would be asking them to leave but was allowing them to stay rent-free for two months while they searched for replacement housing. After the property was vacated, the insurance company sent the owner the results of its testing, which showed mold levels inside the buildings to be from 1, to 5, times the outside measurements. As of February , the buildings had been demolished and the land was being prepared for redevelopment.
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The losses in this case can be looked at several ways. It is more likely for debt-averse investors such as pension funds that do not have the tax advantages of debt. However, this would have been the best outcome for the owner and reflects loss to the property rather than to the owner. Thus, the decision to demolish the building appears to have been the best alternative under the circumstances.
Cleveland is the central city in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, with a population of about 1. Toxic mold is not a particularly well-known problem in Cleveland, but it is nevertheless a concern. Over the past several years, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health received calls about mold and conducted home visits.
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A total of homes qualified for and were enrolled in a program designed to determine the health effects of mold on children with asthma. The sales data is too sparse at this point, however, to draw any conclusions concerning stigma or other discounts on sale.
Little empirical information is available to determine the effects of toxic mold on property values. While some appraisers may have data in their personal files, no peer-reviewed evidence is available on the extent of property damage caused by toxic mold. To partially remedy this situation, this article presents a report of non-empirical literature available on toxic mold.
Also presented is research in different parts of the United States that provides some measure of empirical results: legal case outcomes, contingent valuation surveys of post-remediated residential homes in South Carolina, a case study of an apartment complex affected by toxic mold in Washington state, and a public health study of mildly affected residential property in Ohio.
These studies address different parts of the mold issue and do not provide a clear answer, but they are the best data available at this time.
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Table 2 summarizes the findings. The ten legal case outcomes documented since show very substantial losses due to toxic mold contamination, with the settlements often being many times the value of the property. Both individual plaintiff lawsuits and class action lawsuits have been tried and settled, and there is a very large backlog of cases.
These results present a very wide range of outcomes, which can be expected to narrow somewhat as data on mold cases becomes available, mold prevention strategies are developed, and public awareness increases. All that can be inferred at this early stage in toxic mold research is that property values of units previously contaminated with toxic mold would suffer from a discounted sale price and a smaller number of interested buyers compared to similar homes without mold related histories.
This suggests that more research on the cleanup costs and long-term property value effects of toxic mold is urgently needed. Proper study of this problem will provide more guidance to appraisers and other real estate market participants on liability and valuation issues related to toxic mold. Research could provide information on several related topics, including determination of the following:. This research could take the form of open-ended questions or focus groups. Research is also needed on how to reconcile supply and demand issues to determine discounts for contaminated properties when using survey data and other techniques in markets of various sizes.
Rober t A. He teaches courses in real estate development, market analysis and finance, PhD research methods, public economics, and environmental finance. His undergraduate degree in anthropology was earned at Colorado State University. Simons has published over 40 articles and book chapters on real estate, urban redevelopment, environmental damages, housing policy and brownfields redevelopment.
Essays in Honor of William N. Kinnard, Jr.
Contact: T ; E-mail: rob y urban. Contact: T ; E-mail: Ron mundyassoc. Despite widespread recent interest in toxic mold, real estate literature has provided limited guidance on valuation issues for properties affected by it. To advance knowledge of this topic, this article first summarizes the scant quantitative data available on the effect of toxic mold on property values.
A report on the non-empirical literature available on toxic mold is provided along with a summary of the settlements and verdicts in ten legal cases.
Some new research conducted using contingent valuation analysis CV is described and more evidence of the effects of toxic mold on real estate values is revealed through study of a contaminated apartment building and a synopsis of the results of a city-led mold remediation program. The summary of the findings from these studies reveals a considerable range of potential outcomes, which suggests an urgent need for more research on the effects of toxic mold on property values.
Background Mold is a very common occurrence in homes. Legal Outcomes in Toxic Mold Cases Large settlement awards in toxic mold lawsuits have raised expectations in mold-related litigation. Contingent Valuation Analysis of Toxic Mold Another mode of investigating the effects of toxic mold on property values when sufficient market data is not available is a form of market survey known as contingent valuation CV analysis.
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Survey Methods A survey research firm from Columbia, South Carolina, was engaged to contact a stratified random sample of homeowners in South Carolina.