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Spider infestation forces family to abandon their $450k home, legal battle ensues

After a massive spider infestation in a beautiful St. Louis home, a family has abandoned their home, and despite a judge’s orders, are not seeing compensation.

spider infestation

We have all had a spider or two in our home, and maybe a client panic that they’ve seen one during a walkthrough, but one St. Louis family’s story will make yours pale in comparison. A gorgeous home valued at roughly $450,000 has been abandoned and is now in foreclosure because of spiders.

Brown recluse spiders, to be specific. They are are not known for attacking people, but when they do bite, the venom can kill the tissue cells at the bite site, causing necrosis, and while not fatalities have been confirmed, it remains known as the most poisonous spider in the U.S. Most bites lead to intense pain, itching, and sometimes fever, chills, vomiting, and even shock.

You see one in your house and you call the exterminator. You see hundreds and you run like hell. The St. Louis family recently won a lawsuit against the previous owners for failing to disclose the infestation of thousands of brown recluse spiders.

Although the family saw no signs of spiders at the final walkthrough, not even webs, after they moved in, they began finding them everywhere – falling from the ceiling, bleeding from the walls, scattering themselves in their clothes, food, and other belongings.

The spider infestation gets more bizarre

If that isn’t enough to want to run away screaming, State Farm insurance defended the previous owners when the new owners sued them. This led to a jury trial wherein the new owners won a $472,110 award.

They weren’t able to collect.

State Farm refused to pay the claim and the previous owners declared bankruptcy. Why? Spider infestations do not fall under the umbrella of damage to a home. In fact, the policy excluded insect infestations. The new home owners’ lawyers argued that spiders are not “insects,” but they stood firm.

The home has gone into foreclosure and is now in the hands of Fannie Mae who is in the process of tenting and fumigating the home, a process normally reserved for termites, not spiders. “There’ll be nothing alive in there after this,” the exterminator told he St. Louis Post-Dispatch, adding that tenting houses is a new method for dealing with brown recluse spiders that was not in use three years ago when the family abandoned the house.

Burn it to the ground

It seems curious that State Farm still refuses a judge’s orders to pay out, given that the house still exists. At least the family didn’t use a self-made blowtorch like a Seattle man did this summer, nearly burning his house down in an effort to kill a lone spider.

It doesn’t appear likely that this family will be compensated for their nightmare, and this house might be a tough sell, but at least they escaped alive. Realtors should take note of this saga – buyers may have heightened spidey senses right now with a particular sensitivity about infestations, given this story.

Note: the freaky image above is of a wolf spider, not a brown recluse, but it scared us more than anything on the web, so it has done it’s job.

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