Mississippi Officials Warn Against Buying Cottages in Auction

March 16, 2009

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is discouraging people from purchasing Mississippi Cottages for housing at an auction in Louisiana next month because the units were damaged by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

MEMA Director Mike Womack wants to caution potential buyers that these units are not safe to live in. “Buyers need to beware,” Womack said of the Gustav damaged units. “These units are not safe for housing because of water damage and mold, which can be dangerous to a person’s health. The damage might not be readily visible to onlookers or potential buyers.”

Last week, MEMA transferred titles of 232 Gustav damaged units to Louisiana-based Henderson Auctions. All titles were stamped as “salvage.” The units were condemned by qualified insurance company adjusters because of water damage and likelihood of hazardous mold and mildew.

The two and three bedroom units no longer bear a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspection label since they are not considered fit for human habitation.

Also, the RV Association inspection labels, RPTIA, for the one bedroom park models were removed for the same reason.

Henderson Auctions intends to auction off the units in Louisiana in April. The auction company attempted to hold an auction in Mississippi in January. That auction was called off because the state had not yet received payment from the insurance company, according to officials.

Secondly, the state fire marshal’s office sent a letter to the company saying that the damaged units could not be sold in Mississippi as livable cottages.

Womack and other officials are concerned about mold, which can adversely affect human health.

“The state would prefer that these units were only sold as scrap,” Womack said. “We don’t want the public to buy these units without knowing about the hazards and adverse health impacts they might experience if they try to repair and live in them.”

Source: MEMA

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