Forced Out: Family Displaced By Mold

By: Kim Bedford, Reporter
By: Kim Bedford, Reporter

A West Knoxville family is displaced from their brand new home after they say mold from a leak in the bathtub took over and made them sick.

Kim Bedford takes a closer look at the house and the family who says no one will claim responsibility and pay for the repairs.

Cherie House and her husband, Neal moved into their brand new home June 15th.

Neal used the bathtub two weeks later and they noticed a white powder on the floor beneath the bathroom.

They say they didn't think anything of it until their son used the tub again and the problems started pouring out.

Cherie House says, "I went downstairs to my office and as soon as I got there, water was pouring out my window frame like a cascade waterfall. It was a solid sheet of water. You couldn't even see outside."

House says she immediately called the developer that night, John Luttrell.

"The next morning he sent the on-site builder to check and come out and verified it had run through the window and said that he would take care of that, take care of me, and he would paint that."

John Luttrell told us in a statement today that the actual source of the leak was a small gap in the putty that sealed the drain to the tub. He says he fixed that as soon as it was discovered, but House says he did nothing to fix the water damage in the walls.

"Meanwhile, during that time, we had been sick. We had missed a lot of work, we hadn't felt good, we were too sick to move our stuff in."

So they called a home inspector to come out and Luttrell agreed to pay for the mold test.

"We tested positive for three of the four most toxic molds and that we needed to get out of the house immediately."

They've been living out of a hotel since Friday with their eight year old son and twelve year old daughter, while the mold lives inside the walls of their home.

"We looked back and realized we'd been taking flu medications for eight weeks and we couldn't function at all if we didn't take our flu medications."

House says insurance companies don't want to cover what could cost up to $40,000, and Luttrell told her he's not responsible.

"We're under a warranty for a whole year and if they won't take care of the warranty, what good is having one."

"We would not have had mold if they would've come out and fixed the water damage to start with."

Luttrell also tells us he understands the family's frustration, but feels he has acted correctly and hopes that her insurance company will take it upon itself to satisfy the claim as soon as possible.

But House says this is not her problem and her insurance will not cover the repairs.

Insurance has paid enough to cover the family's hotel costs for thirty days, but time is running out and the mold is not going away on its own.


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