Jonathan Hankins of Klamath Falls, Oregon thought he was getting a good deal when he bought a house from Freddie Mac for only $36,000. What he didn't know, however, was that he'd bought a former meth lab.
The family moved into the home the third week of June. Within days, Jonathan began experiencing severe dry mouth unlike he'd ever had before. He initially thought it was allergies, but soon his wife Beth, an emergency room nurse, also got severe dry mouth and developed sores.The Hankinses moved in with Beth's parents, and a test found 38 micrograms of meth residue--more than 80 times the legal limit. They've since rented another house. However, they not only face having to still keep up the mortgage on the meth-contaminated house, but have to replace several household items that were so badly contaminated that they're unusable. Jonathan's also worried that his son may be at risk for developmental problems later on, even though they found out early on why they were getting sick.
Jonathan's symptoms progressed to sinus migraines, while Beth developed breathing problems. They both felt disoriented and their 2-year-old son Ezra was also acting strange.
Jonathan wasn't sure if Ezra was just uncomfortable with the move or sick. On his last night they lived at the ill-fated house, the boy kept telling his parents he was thirsty, but when he tried to drink water, Jonathan said his son threw it across the room because it burned.
"The neighbors said it's probably the meth," Jonathan said of the symptoms.
Now they want Freddie Mac to not only cover the cost of decontaminating the house and reimburse them for the loss of their household items, but start testing all of their houses for meth contamination. Sign here.
Jonathan said he was prompted to start the petition after getting the run-around from Freddie Mac. He didn't hear from them for seven weeks after someone took his information, and was frightened by the amount it would take to fight Freddie Mac in court.
For its part, Freddie Mac says this really isn't its problem.
Brad German, a spokesperson for Freddie Mac, told CBSNews.com that when a house comes into its inventory, the company looks to listing brokers to disclose information about the property's history so the company can get an idea of its condition and value.The problem with German's claim is that it shouldn't be the buyer's responsibility to foot the bill for testing a house for hazardous materials. You don't expect someone buying a car to pay for making sure it's safe. Should a home be any different?
"On this particular property, no such information was provided to us," German said, saying there were no police reports, odd smells or drug paraphernalia reported. If the company had known, it would have "certainly" disclosed such information, he said.
"We're very empathetic, this isn't what we look for in a sale," said German. "But the buyers were given every opportunity to do an inspection or conduct any test they wanted to conduct."
I hope the scumbag who put this house on the market is proud of himself.