Real Estate & Property Law

Snake infestation forced home buyers from house, $2M suit alleges

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Home buyers in Maryland claim in a $2 million lawsuit that they were forced to move out of their Annapolis home after spending nearly $60,000 in a fruitless effort to eradicate snakes that were nesting in the walls.

The suit by Jeff and Jody Brooks, filed in Anne Arundel County, claims real estate agent Barbara Van Horn of Annapolis did not disclose the snake problem to the Brooks when selling the home on behalf of her mother, report the Capital Gazette and ABC News.

The suit says Van Horn showed the home personally, rather than keeping a lock box with a key for agents, so she could “check for snake activity before anyone entered.”

The couple says their 4-year-old son found the first snake, seven feet in length, months after they moved into the home in December. The family moved out in April after finding more snakes, and about 13 to 15 snakes have since been found, lawyer Matthew Evans told ABC News. Previous renters told the Capital Gazette they also had snake problems, spurring them to leave a dead snake at Van Horn’s door.

One pest control expert said the problem could be solved if the family burned the house down and let it sit for 15 years, the family says. A pest control company that gutted the basement found snake tunnels throughout the insulation.

Van Horn told ABC she thinks that “everybody’s sensationalizing this.” She declined to comment when contacted by a reporter for the Capital Gazette. Her lawyer, who also represents her realty company, also declined to comment to the newspaper.

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