I have to tell this mould inspection story. I got called by a realtor last week explaining that one of her deals was in jeoporady and she needed my help. Her clients had put an offer on a home and when they brought their home inspectors through, the tenants in the basement had left a note on the fridge. The note was simple and to the point, “IF YOU DON’T GET RID OF THE MOLD WE STOP PAYING OUR RENT”. Of course this alarmed the buyers and they had second thoughts and wanted to pull their offer. The realtor called me because I had just informed her that we now do Mould inspections. We went down and did the inspection, found mould on the bottom of drywall in the laundry room. We did a swabe sample and sent it to Pro Lab on the first day they opened. The sample came back with 3 types of mold including what I like to call “stinky butris”. Anyway the seller admitted that their had been previous water come in the basement and that it had been repaired. They would all have to sort that out. The bottom line was the mould sample gave the realtor enough to go back and lower the offer by about $7,000.00. The offer was accepted and the mould inspection saved the day. Thank-you NACHI and Thank-you PRO-LAB! The buyers will take the money and deal with the issues nowing full well what they have to deal with.
Grear job George.
That’s funny. I always think is sounds like “stacking boxes”
Do you use a separate contract for your mould inspections? If so did you develop it yourself or download it from a site somewhere?
This is interesting, and just wanted to add my opinion, and no offence to George is intended whatsoever, or anyone else for that matter, but the question begs to be asked.
If the visible signs are indicating that there has been water in the basement and the drywall is stained and has mould growing, what is the purpose in having the stain/mould analyzed? You have only proved what the mould is. All mould should be considered bad given the reported conditions. Having said this the recommended course of action would warrant removal of damaged/mould/stained drywall and insulation, correction of conditions which have created the mould problem and then replacement of interior insulation and drywall.
I follow CMHC IAQ guidelines and in my opinion you have a lot less liability because they think the best course is removal, clean, correct.
Fwiw and discussion purposes.
I don’t think it makes a bit of sense to have a lab rip someone off to tell them there is mold, which is apparently clearly visible.
No offense to George either, but it really blows my mind…:shock:
The collecting of samples and then testing by a lab gives documented proof that the mold was present. A photo alone doesn’t show anything except that someone used some markers on the wall.
It is more of a piece of mind kind of thing. Without the lab results do you think that the buyers would of had as strong of a case to get the asking price lowered that much. Possible, but not likely.
Also with the lab results, the sellers would have to add to their disclosure that they have known Toxic Mold/Mould. If not and they sold the house to someone else, what kind of a law suit do you think the seller would be fighting later?
Oh, don’t forget that the selling agent would also be involved in the law suit, not to mention the home inspector for the new buyer.
Thought this was of relevance:
SOMMERS, SCHWARTZ, SILVER & SCHWARTZ
JENNIFER M. GRIECO
2000 TOWN CENTER, SUITE 900
SOUTHFIELD, MICHIGAN 48075-1100
Direct Numbers Firm Numbers (248) 746-4083 (248) 355-0300 (248) 936-1973 Fax (248)748-4001 Fax
[RIGHT][RIGHT]December 5, 2000[/RIGHT]
VIA FACSIMILE AND U.S. MAIL
Dear Mr. XXXXX:
It was good to speak with you again on Monday. In response to your request for information about the amount of litigation taking place with respect to residential mold related issues, I can tell you that I have filed three cases against home inspectors this year in Michigan and am currently investigating additional cases. I have been recently approached by a potential client to start litigation against a home inspector in Indiana. In addition, I am currently co-counsel in a case with a New York attorney who has had similar litigation experiences in New York. Furthermore, it is my understanding that there are hundreds of similar cases against home inspectors currently pending in California. As more media attention is given to toxic mold and its effects, the number of cases against home inspectors will rise significantly as they are a necessary party to any litigation involving the sale of a used home.
As I explained to you, I believe home inspectors have an enormous amount of exposure for liability when they fail to properly notify the homeowner of sources of water damage and a potential for a mold problem. We have recently settled one case against a home inspector for $250,000. The home inspection therein cost $300 and lasted only four hours. However, the home inspector failed to notify his clients of the absence of brick flashing, which absence allowed water to penetrate into the home. The inspector failed to notify the homeowners of grading problems surrounding the grounds of the home or to fully enter the crawl space for an inspection. Had he taken that additional step, he would have seen standing water in the crawl space and visible fungi. In addition, the inspector failed to inspect the roof of the home because of alleged weather conditions. However, the additional step of a roof inspection with the aid of binoculars would have saved my clients from incurring a substantial loss.
Michigan requires sellers of homes to provide the prospective purchasers with a Sellers Disclosure Statement, disclosing all known conditions. However, many of these cases revolve not around what was hidden or not disclosed by the seller, but what was there to be seen by the home inspector as the expert, but which was simply missed. I would ask that you stress to your home inspectors the seriousness of the home inspector’s duty. The home inspector IS the buyer’s due diligence when determining whether or not to purchase a home. Subject to that home inspection, the buyer purchases the home AS IS. In the case that recently settled, my clients pay a substantial amount of money for their home. Not only did they lose the value of their home, as it is currently only worth the land it sits on, but also all of their porous personal belongings that could not be cleaned and decontaminated. In addition, these toxic fungi affected their health and the health of their children. We sued the home inspector for the loss of the value of the home, the loss of the personal belongings, their personal injuries and emotional distress. Luckily this home inspector had insurance.
While the case against the home inspector settled in part only because of the Michigan Court Rules and their requirement for mandatory mediation, we were disappointed that we were unable to present this case to a jury. The majority of jury members are homeowners who like my clients, trusted the opinion of their home inspector as to whether or not to purchase their home. There is no doubt that a jury would be sympathetic to a family in this situation and award substantially more than the $250,000 settlement amount.
At mediation the inspector’s attorney attempted to argue that the inspector should not be responsible for all of my client’s losses because the inspection fee was only $300 and the inspector was only in the home for four hours. Therefore, the attorney argued, how could the inspector be held responsible for their losses? This argument was shot down by the mediators. Just because a home inspection service is provided at a low cost does not limit the inspector’s responsibility for all of the damages that result from the inspector’s negligence. If my clients would have paid $600 for the home inspection would the inspector have detected these deficiencies? Does the fact that my clients only paid $300 for an inspection entitle the inspector to perform his services in a negligent manner? The mediators held that it did not. The inspector was responsible for a complete and thorough home inspection and for any damages that resulted from this failure to provide such a competent inspection.
I have been approached to provide a news story here in Michigan regarding this recent settlement. I believe that the “angle” for the story will be how homeowners can prevent this from happening to them. Some of the helpful points we have discussed are;
Not using a home inspector recommended by their real estate agent or the seller’s real estate agent;
Asking if the home inspector is a member of ASHI;
Asking if the home inspector has errors or omissions liability insurance and how much the policy is worth;
Requesting that their home inspector use a moisture meter;
Asking if the home inspector has any experience or training in detecting evidence of water leaks and/or a potential for a mold problem; and
Having the home inspected or re-inspected by a contractor or architect who comes highly recommended from an outside source.
While these pointers may assist purchasers in the future when hiring a home inspector, people continue to purchase homes on a daily basis relying upon the assistance of home inspectors. If their inspectors either lack the proper training or choose not to take the extra steps to perform the best possible home inspections for their clients, the potential home purchasers, they are subjecting themselves to potential liability for a negligent home inspection. If the home becomes contaminated by a toxic fungi as a result of water leaks or other moisture problems which could have and should have been detected by a home inspector, the home inspector will be named as a defendant in litigation seeking redress for real and personal property losses and any resulting personal injury.
It is my understanding that you are currently training home inspectors regarding the detection of mold problems in homes that they inspect or the detection of a potential mold problem from water leaks and/or moisture intrusion. I hope that by relaying some of this information to them, these home inspectors will understand the serious consequences of a negligent home inspection and become educated as to the extra steps that can be taken in order to avoid causing these types of losses and the resulting litigation.
If you have questions regarding any of the foregoing, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Very truly yours, SOMMERS, SCHWARTZ, SILVER & SCHWARTZ, P.C.
But I like reading Caoimhín P. Connell’s posts to keep my mind right…
But only one test was conducted? What about other allergens in the house from pets, plants, mites, et ceteras. One test on a section of drywall is not definitive enough to say that mould would be the sole cause of illness or will be a health concern. The sample only says what was present in one area, it does not address the issues which caused the problem in the first place.
I have been following Mr. Connell’s post’s and I still wonder who is going to be the first one in court and how it will shake out .
I have taken some mold courses and want to learn as much as I can but I do wonder if I will ever take any mold samples .
I expect I will do Radon but again trying to get the feel is it worth the effort and risk to me .
Not yet any way .
</IMG></IMG>A Happy NACHI member
$7000 would not cover the expense of waterproofing and replacement of drywall in this market area.
Did they obtain estimations of repair prior to acceptance of the $7000 counter?
Also, if mold growth was visibly present at time of Inspection, what was the need to test?
Why test something that you can clearly see? Would anyone here get an old shingle tested to see how old it is? Makes no sense to me.
Guys we can’t say that it is mold. It has to be verified by a lab as mold.We can only say suspected mold, or suspected asbestos.
Now thats one informed attorney…
Mario is correct. We can not assume anything is Mould and in this case I did not do the home inspection. My liability just dropped because all I am doing is providing the service of a very quick and easy swabe to determine what the substance is. The potential buyers seemed quite content that the leaking had stopped and it was only on one wall of the basement. That is all irelevent to me since I am only doing a Swabe of the Mould and sending it to the lab. I call this a NON INTRUSIVE MOULD INSPECTION and all I’m doing is looking for visible mould. Yes I found some under the toilet tank, behind the toilet on both levels and in an area at the base of the back of some drywall in front of the water meter. I gave them the option to do samples of all of the mould and they signed a waiver indicating they only wanted one sample taken. They were also given time to discuss the findings with a restoration company and have a air quality assessment (which I won’t do) done prior to close if they wanted the vendor to proceed with the repairs. The agent also had them sign a waiver (which I’ll try and get my hands on and post) that they were aware of the findings and decided to proceed with the purchase. I guess after consultations they decided on the price reduction instead.
Originally Posted by gmendes
…mold including what I like to call “stinky butris”.
Love it I will never be able to say any thing different for the rest of my life . Both are great and guess I will end using them.
Thanks I almost fell of the Chair My wife came in from the other room wondering why I was laughing so hard.
You visibly identify mold as part of your assessment. You only tested in the areas that had “visible mould” growth.
*“The potential buyers seemed quite content that the leaking had stopped…” *
How was it determined that the leakage was a 1 time event and stopped?
If repairs were never made to correct the water intrusion, the client purchased a home having an Active Water problem with visible Mold growth.
I will not tell any client [with the exception of family] that the black stuff they see is mold. I will however say it is suspected mold. As a home inspector I will look for a moisture problem or water intrusion. The clue is staring me right in the face[evidence of mold].I know it’s mold but I will not confirm it without lab reports.
BTW Pro-Lab has amazing lab reports.
I never did the original home inspection. I’m not worried if the leak is current or the problem is solved. My job was to go in look for visibible signs of mould, and offer a sample(s) to the customer. I also found it in the attic. Apparently the original home inspection did not even mention that any mould was seen. I’m not sure who it was but WOW! We say mould in various areas of the home.
Randy, A missing shingle won’t make you ill. Mould can. A documented lab report adds weight to what you see. In other words , How do you know it’s mould? Prove it? The lab report just did. In todays world it’s cover thy a$$. Doug