Mold in attic, not verified, but put in the report-Illinois

I had a circumstance were I was called for a reinspection of an attic for possible mold. The sellers (now my clients) were upset because there was a spot in the attic with darkened roof sheeting where they had a roof leak. Sure enough when I examined the area, it appeared to be just that, staining from a roof leak. By all means it was not conclusive to be mold, yet the clients showed me a copy of the report that was forwarded to them by the buyers attorney which clearly states in the “Structure” section, “roof sheeting condition: Mold” along with pictures that have the word “Mold” typed under them. (Why would he place it in “Structure” and not “Ventilation”) I instruct home inspection certification classes at local college and explain that as a home inspector we have to state that there is possibility that it is mold which has to be verified by a qualified industrial hygienist or a certified mold inspector. There was just an under cover report on NBC concerning the lack of competence of several home inspectors when an under cover test was conducted. Now I am in an awkward position of having to write a letter stating my findings that it is inconclusive that this stain is mold.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly About Home Inspectors - NBC Chicago

THANKS for sharing.
Is there a question here.

How come it is awkward. Looks like a licensed, qualified mold assessor should be hired if the owner wants a definitive determination

The awkwardness arises from the fact that this could be a legal issue that I might have to be involved in against another person in my field. If the owner chooses to have the mold tested and it comes back as negative for mold then the false claims of mold by an inspector not qualified to identify mold may cause a legal battle especially if the potential buyers back out of the deal because of a mold issue when there is none.

Don’t know the law where you are, in Florida a licensed home inspector is NOT allowed to make a “mold” determination. He can take a pic & state something like "suspected biological growth (or simply say suspected mold) may exist, recommend further evaluation/scope of repairs/costs by a sate licensed mold assessor.
Then let’s say I went there… I may tell them it does or does not resemble mold growth but I would first have to collect a sample using a sterile surface swab, send it to an EPA certified lab for analysis.

So… did the home inspector violate any law by making a mold determination? If so, the owner could make an issue with the licensing authority he was out of his category.
What use is it if you charge a fee to go there to say it may or may not be.
Most likely if I collected a swab, tape lift, etc. on roof sheathing with water stains it would come back as something, like Penicillium/Aspergillus, Cladosporium -common stuff but still mold.

Oh… & welcome Michael. :slight_smile:

I do a ton of expert witness testimony for a few different law firms that specialize in mold issues. It’s easy money. Anyway if it wasn’t tested by a competent mold assessor then all of you have no place saying what it is other then than recommending it be tested by a certified and competent mold tester. That is the only true way to actually know what it is, anything else is pure guessing.

If you are not qualified to test mold, my advice is to stay out of the whole thing.


I am a lic mold assessor :slight_smile:

Make sure you are right that it is not mold before writing your letter, or you will be in bigger trouble than what you think that inspector is in now.

With out a test it can not be clamed as mold, , I tell this to home inspectors all the time. did the inspector even check for moisture? you can call it Discoloration, microbial growth, anything but mold if not tested.

I’m not a licensed mold inspector and fully agree with everybody about not sticking your neck out BUT using words like … Discoloration, microbial growth, etc BUT being so old sometimes I forget and use bad words like …

You Folks Got a Little Mold Problem I think!

Guess its cause I’m old and folks feel sorry for me BUT so far never had anyone challenge me (buyer, seller, buyers agent, sellers agent, insurance company, etc) when I mess up and drop the “M” word out there in a report.







I don’t know where the buyer’s attorney got the report, but unless the report included the results of lab analysis of submitted sample… it is just “discoloration and possible microbial growth”. You could call it “possible dirt” for that matter (not recommended). It’s not mold until a sample has been analyzed and identified as mold by a certified laboratory.

Whoever wrote “mold” under untested discoloration doesn’t know what he’s doing and shouldn’t be taking people’s money and you have a duty to set things straight. No need to feel awkward about that. You’re doing the industry a favor. Apparently the NBC report was about incompetence and that’s what you’re helping to fight by stepping up.
And… as far as I know, a certified mold inspector may be qualified to perform sampling but the only "verification " he’ll do is through submitting samples for lab analysis, and the same with the industrial hygienist.

It’s kind of a moot point anyway if the leak had been fixed. With no moisture, even if it was mold fungi, it would not be putting spores into the indoor air. Did you explain to your client the limitations of the health hazards from mold? No toxic mold (diluted gaseous mycotoxins aside), and that the dangers are related to high concentrations of spores in indoor air by those with asthma, allergies, lung disease, or compromised immune systems?
A large part of the problem is the misconception on the part of the public that mold fungi themselves are toxic or poisonous.

I hear ya Dan.
I’ve used the M word too. :slight_smile:



That would be FUBAR

Marc … Yep looks like a discoloration stain OR possible microbial growth. Yep