Most of us would laugh at the idea of mold entering into a real estate transaction. I mean, who ever heard of a home not selling because of mold or a "mold contingency?”
A few years ago, no one ever heard of such a thing. But today mold is getting more media attention, and homes on the market need to have a mold inspection. And here’s why.
Mold litigation is on the rise. More and more attorneys are handling cases relating to mold exposure. In these cases some pretty hefty judgments and settlements have been awarded.
Realtors need to inform their sellers that, legally, they need to disclose any mold problems. This is especially true if that homeowner knows there is a mold problem that may not be apparent from a basic home inspection.
Although mold exists everywhere, it prefers dark, moist places, such as inside your wall cavities. A roof that has slowly leaked for a long time creates moisture and encourages mold growth. By the time you see mold growing on the outside of the wall it’s usually pretty thick on the inside. When you combine an elevated mold condition, with a particularly sensitive person and you may have a lawsuit.
Mold has a necessary place in our environment. Without it we would be overrun with debris, such as fallen leaves. However, there are some times that mold can be a problem for us. This includes when mold invades our indoor environment (homes, schools, or workplaces). When mold enters these environments we can suffer from adverse physical symptoms ranging from respiratory problems (sneezing, runny nose, or asthma) to headaches and memory loss.
According to research, approximately 10% of the population is severely allergic to mold. Children under the age of 5, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems, such as chemotherapy patients, can be severely and even fatally affected. Susceptibility varies with the quantity of mold present and length of exposure.
The media likes to blame “toxic mold,” also known as “black mold,” for mold-related illnesses. Just as I, a scientist, would not report on a high speed chase, it befuddles me as to why a reporter would claim expertise in an area unrelated to his/her training. Stachybotrys chartarum is the mold they are claiming to be the “killer mold”. This particular mold, although possessing many mycotoxins (a chemical released by the mold that has the potential to cause illness in humans and/or animals), is no more toxic than, let’s say, Aspergillus or Trichophyton rubrum, which can also be found in homes.
Please tell us of your experiences. We’d love to hear from you.