Mold Myths Part 2
The following are 7 more mold myths, provided by the California Association of Realtors:
7. Both the EPA and California Department of Public Health recommend mold consultants.
There is no recommendation in any state or federal web site that the property owner or resident needs a mold consultant to respond to a mold incident.
8. Mold consultants are carefully monitored and licensed by both the federal government and the state.
There is no state or federal licensing for mold inspectors or consultants. Typically, such consultants hold credentials in trade organizations, organizations which serve the trade – not the consumer.
9. Mold cannot be caused by the resident
Mold is often caused by a resident’s failure to keep a room properly ventilated. Mold can build up in stuffy bathrooms, or any area where the temperature is mild and the area is not frequently ventilated with fresh air. Before the mold scare started in 2000, many people would from time to time see black mold on the grout in their shower enclosures – and would simply wipe it off with a cleaning solution – before it became known as “toxic mold”.
10. Insurance never covers mold claims.
Property insurance policies do not normally cover mold, fungus or dry rot. If a water damage claim occurs, and the damage is not discovered or stopped quickly enough, mold can result (as can dry rot). The property insurance will normally refuse to cover the cost of mold remediation, but will still typically cover the rest of the repairs. If the property owner is sued because of water damage including mold, the liability part of the policy (the part which defends lawsuits) ordinarily will defend the claim.
11. An emergency contractor is always the first step.
Because of the panic associated with mold, often the first reaction is to call an emergency contractor to handle the situation. Such contractors are much more expensive, because of their readiness to respond almost immediately. It is very important to stop the leakage of water, and begin to dry out the living space – and that is often something the emergency contractors are needed to handle. However, all too often, the emergency contractor is allowed to demolish walls and remove cabinets or other expensive items. This risks demolishing items which may not in fact be necessary, raising the cost of the water leak repair. The final cost-increasing item is allowing the emergency contractor to handle the restoration of the space – instead of soliciting competitive bids for the work.
12. Keep demolishing walls until you find no mold.
Panicked residents often ask a landlord, seller or HOA to start opening walls to look for mold. However, this is almost always a waste of money. Since mold is a respiratory irritant, why open the walls and disturb any mold inside the wall? If it is inside the wall, it is probably not bothering or affecting anyone – so opening up the wall is a waste of money as well as possibly stirring up more mold in the air.
13. Mold damage situations should be expected to cost a minimum of $10,000 per occurrence.
- The cost of mold skyrockets due to several reasons:
- Unnecessary mold tests
- Unnecessary consultant expense
- Delay in responding to the water leakage (which ordinarily is the cause of a mold buildup)
- Excessive demolition
- Searching for mold
- Foregoing competitive bids for the repair, and instead using the more expensive emergency contractor.
Reject these myths, and educate your client. Panic is never good for anyone.
Kelly G. Richardson, Esq. is Managing Partner of Richardson Harman Ober, is the Association’s legal counsel and is a member of CAR.