Troubled Minot homeowner faces foreclosure

A Minot homeowner is experiencing a situation he hopes others can avoid. Ryan Schweitzer purchased a new home in the Eagles Landing subdivision on North Hill last August. Soon he’ll be undergoing foreclosure.

Mold has been growing in portions of Schweitzer’s home. He had the home professionally tested to confirm the presence of mold and has been told his family is at moderate risk of ill health complications due to the mold.

Not all homes are built perfectly. Follow-up work is sometimes required to correct construction errors. At Schweitzer’s home two bathroom fans were not vented to the outside. A roofer had mistakenly shingled over the exhaust openings. Subsequently, moisture built up and formed ice in Schweitzer’s attic this past winter. When warmer weather arrived the ice melted. Water fell down from above throughout the home.

“It was raining. We had Rubbermaid containers all over the place,” said Schweitzer. “Our light fixtures filled up like fishbowls.”

With the home still under warranty, Schweitzer contacted Tollberg Homes of Minot. A roofer arrived a few hours later and installed bathroom fan vents on top of the roof.

“We’re the number one single-family homebuilder in Minot. We’re very well known for going back and taking care of issues. We don’t shy away from our warranty,” said Wade Tollefson, Tollberg Homes.

Among the issues cited by Schweitzer was wet attic insulation and speculation that insulation in exterior walls was also saturated. Water was dripping from a chandelier chain and from at least one electrical outlet. Schweitzer turned to his insurance company and received a claim for $20,000, $15,000 of which he used for mold remeditation and to remove attic insulation.

Tollefson emphasized that once an insurance claim was paid Tollberg Homes could no longer pursue repairs.

“That $20,000 was meant to replace sheetrock and none of that was replaced,” said Tollefson. “He hasn’t fixed anything. I can’t do anything now because it’s up to the insurance companies. It is no longer decided by me. We could have taken care of this in two weeks. Now we have no choice. His insurance fights with our insurance.”

Schweitzer counters that “catastrophic repair” is needed that will take 12 to 18 months to accomplish.

“If this was done correctly we could have taken care of it,” stated Tollefson. “It was a matter of the route he took.”

Schweitzer, who works for a road crew loading oil into tank cars in Tioga, purchased the home for $319,100. He says he has already explained the situation to his mortgage company and has informed them to begin the foreclosure process.

“The foreclosure will take almost a year, followed by eight years of financial hell,” said Schweitzer. “Sometimes dreams turn out to be nightmares.”