inspector missed major leak and mold issue

Am I as a client protected from the inspector missing major water damage and mold?

  1. Most inspectors do not inspect for mold. Testing is the only way to confirm that it is mold.
  2. You haven’t given us nearly enough information. Where is the “water damage”? When did the inspection occur? What caused the water damage? Could the water damage have been hidden? Was the area accessible? How much mold are we talking about? Are you sure it is mold? Can you provide photos?

Did you immediately call the inspector when the concern was discovered to enable him/her the opportunity to observe and investigate the concern in question?

What was his/her response?

Agree above. Inspection is a visual examination.
Unlike Mike Holmes we do not open walls with sledge hammers to view issues.

The crawlspace was inspected in February but it wasn’t noticed. Apparently a pipe burst because the damage was underneath the toilet area. New wooden planks were installed, as were a few 2x10s and 2x4s. Unfortunately the wood rot is so severe that the new beam is crushing the 2x4 and there is white mold, wood rot, black mold and everything in between. The bathroom floor has also been replaced.
I wish I could send photos. I have not contacted the inspector yet. I just found this yesterday when I had a mold remediation company inspect the house.

Depending upon where you live, there may be a variety of remedies to you resulting from a faulty home inspection.

Start with your state licensing board. If your state requires licensing, they may also require the inspector to post a bond or be insured for his errors or omissions. Seek the state’s home inspector licensing board (if one exists) to obtain this information about your inspector.

You may also seek advice from an attorney licensed to practice law in your state. There may be legal remedies available to you to recover for your loss from the seller, the real estate agent, the inspector, or all three.

Not all home inspectors are equal in talent, knowledge and skill. Good luck.

Read your contract. Many, if not most or all home inspection contracts, have a clause that requires you to notify the inspector should there be an issue. This is normally within a set period of time and is always prior to having any work performed that changes the conditions. Failure to follow this clause could remove any type of remedy you may have against an inspector.

Was the crawlspace accessible?

Was there any insulation in the floor joist?

Yes the crawlspace was accessible. He climbed in and inspected it, finding and noting some termite damage and repair work. He said there was moisture in the air, but no damage anywhere else. There is not any insulation covering any of the foundation. There is only insulation on the a few of the foundation cement blocks.

Please provide photos

Please provide photos to help with questions thanks

I don’t believe that photos can be posted in the Ask NACHI forum.

this blog doesnt allow for photos

No one here knows what happened, so we can not help.

He may have missed it, or it may not have been observable or even existent at the time of inspection. Home inspectors can only observed patent defects. You need to call your inspector.

Post them on photo bucket or somewhere, or email them to me at and I’ll post them on a page for you.

This could have happened a month ago with the same results you’re seeing today. February was a long time ago. It would be impossible to prove that 1) The condition clearly existed 8 months ago on the day of the inspection; and 2) That your inspector failed to find, and notify you, of the damage.

To re-iterate what everyone else said - there is not enough information to fully answer your question.

Could it be possible that the seller covered / hid the leak so the inspector did not see it. This is not an uncommon practice. You did mention that new boards had been installed. This post was written seven months after the inspection. It may have taken time for the damage you described to occur.

However - anytime you alter the foundation of the structure, and that includes the floor supports, all work should be done by a structural engineer to ensure proper stability, at least that is the way it is in our state. The seller should have provided these records and the home inspector should have mentioned the repair. Maybe some do and some don’t. I know I do. Did you get a sellers disclosure prior to closing. If so, it should have been on the disclosure. If not that seller committed fraud and you have every right to go after him.

You said the inspector mentioned moisture in the inspection report. Did he make any recommendations, and if so, did you follow them?

You may have recourse, but from the gist of his thread it sounds like the seller tried to hide something and lied about it. You may be able to claim it under your insurance, and you may be able to claim it under his insurance if you can prove the leak was there when the house was sold. Unfortunately, either way, you will most likely need an attorney.