Now begins the lengthy and costly legal battle to make this right.
My name is Karla. I am a 32 year old small business owner. I have worked in my trade for over 14 years. I founded my company 6 years ago. It has been my dream to create an equal opportunity work environment that focuses on craftsmanship over production. I have poured my heart and soul into my business, working over 16 hours a day for heaven knows how long. I've gone months without taking payroll to invest in my team. All of this to create something bigger than myself.
As some of you may know, owning a business can be incredibly rewarding, but also comes with high risk. It took me four years to align my financials in order to get approved for a mortgage. Banks don't like self-employed individuals, we don't look good on paper. I was so excited on the day I took possession of my home. I did it on my own, no co-signer. I was so proud. That was September of 2016. I did all the right things, ticked all the boxes. I had hired an inspector, realtor, mortgage broker and lawyer to advise me throughout the process. The first home I put an offer on failed inspection. The second passed with flying colours. On June 23, 2018 I was sitting on my couch, when I saw an ant. I picked it up with a piece of paper and I set it outside, thinking nothing of it and continuing on with my day as usual. The next day, I saw three ants. At this point, I realized that I might have an ant problem. I went searching and found a little pile of what looked like sawdust in my living room. I did some online research and quickly called an exterminator. I had carpenter ants! He sprayed my home on June 26th with a product called Dragnet, and I noticed a few days later that there were now ants in my basement. I contacted the exterminator and he came back to spray again, this time both the interior and exterior perimeter of my home. He told me to wait 2 weeks and then start searching for wet wood as that was what was attracting them. Well... on Thursday July 19th I went searching. I found a MASSIVE carpenter ant colony in my living room wall as well as black mold. ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼I spent my evening banging the walls with a hammer and vacuuming up the ants and rotting wood. I contacted my insurance provider and they promptly informed me that I am not covered for this kind of damage as the wood rot was caused from a slow leak over many years and they don't cover infestation or mold of any kind. None of this showed up in the inspection as it was under the exterior flashing. I have absolutely no recourse and after a visit from several general contractors and a remediation specialist, I now know that I can't even afford to remediate the mold let alone repair the giant hole in the side of my home before winter comes, and now the exterminator won't return my calls. I am so afraid that I am going to lose everything. I have worked so hard to get here, to earn my way into my own home. To lose it all to ants?!?! I can't sleep at night and when I do, I dream of them crawling on me. The remediation specialist is the only one to give me a semi-solid quote so far and his cost will be approximately $6,000.00 for just remediation, not for repair. The new exterminator quoted me up to $700 for a guarantee that the carpenter ants won't return this year, but I may need to repeat the treatment for up to two years. General contractors have given me ballpark quotes of $15,000.00 to $30,000.00 to replace and repair damaged framing, replace insulation and vapour barrier, replace all flashing boards and flashing, replace all exterior siding, remove stucco and replace water damaged OSB. The price may increase if we find another colony or if the colony or mold moved into the attic. Once I have written quotes I will certainly post them here.
July 25, 2018: The remediation specialist took some samples and it turns out that I have asbestos in my home as well. The only thing protecting me from it is a thick plastic sheet I taped up myself with duct tape. I was given a revised quote of 12-30k for asbestos and mould remediation depending on how much of my home has been exposed. I will also need to see if I have been exposed. I am at a total loss for what to do next. Thank you for your time and understanding. Any help is greatly appreciated and I will find a way to pay it forward.