New mold law in New York

I received a phone call yesterday from the mold assesment co. They told me that from 1/1/16 NYS approved a law that affecting Home Inspectors. According to the new law home inspector can’t even mention mold in their report. Even words “probably” or “suspected” are not acceptable. To tell anything about suspected mold to your client you need to get a mold assessment license(32 hours course plus fees…). I did check the law and looks like they are right…This will open a Pandora box for lawsuits against home inspectors from the clients(imagine-you saw mold and not even mentioned it). Anybody knows anything about this? Did NACHI new about this? If yes, any movements?


I think you have an obligation to state that you might suspect its presence AS WELL AS if there are conditions present which could contribute to its growth.

The way its been explained to me is is you can not diagnose mold but you can still use terms like organic growth, suspicious fungal, etc. I explain to my client verbally though why I cant use terms like mold in my reports

Edit: Here is the law

So just seems to me like you cant charge people to specifically look for mold and report on it

Who called you anyway? Was it a mold assessment licensing school?

I’m in agreement with Kelvin. The way I understand the law is that you can’t identify any mold,fungal growth,etc with specifics. But you can report on suspected organic,microbial, etc., growth and recommend testing.

Can’t imagine doing a HI & not noting suspected growth to a client. Lawsuits would be coming faster then courts would have time for.

I agree
case law agrees, if u suspect conditions which can lead to mould such as leakage from roof or basement you had better mention it.

Hey Chip how’d that 9 unit building go?

There is truth to both sides. Here is the language we came up with to mitigate that issue (feel free to use it if you want)

"A suspicious looking substance was noted in the [insert area here]. A qualified testing specialist is recommended to evaluate

Note: This inspection was not intended or performed to locate suspicious substances, environmental hazards, or other issues not directly related to the home inspection and these conditions can exist in other parts of the home. Recommend consulting with a qualified testing specialist to determine if any areas of the home besides what is mentioned here should be tested/inspected."

Use the term “Suspected microbial growth”

Why? If you identify it as microbial growth than you just did a partial mold assessment. Keep it simple, have pictures, move on.

Why is because when I asked the two schools local to me that was the answer provided. If you say MOLD / MILDEW / FUNGUS etc… then you have crossed the new line. “Suspected microbial growth” was deemed acceptable I guess. I would also add that it should include follow up with a specialist as you noted.
Your way seems perfectly fine as well so long as there is a picture to go with it. A suspicious looking substance is almost too vague, but the picture would surely clear it up.

Microbial growth is the same thing as all those other terms. I am sticking with “suspicious looking substance”. All the attorneys liked it and no complaints from clients

Maybe Nick or Ben can get some of the classes here approved since its a different license other then home inspecting maybe they will allow online classes.

Kelvin, read the law terms again. According to the law you can’t even mention “conditions that facilitate mold, indication of conditions that are likely to facilitate mold, or any combination thereof”. I afraid that even not mentioned word “mold” will not get you out of this s…t. May be I am wrong. Any attorneys around to interpret definitions?

Ian, personally I like your suggestion.

I understand your point but the way I read it is:

-You need to be a licensed mold assessor to include a mold assessment in your report


-A mold assessment is defined by NYS as "an inspection or assessment of real property that is designed to discover mold, conditions that facilitate mold, indication of conditions that are likely to facilitate mold, or any combination thereof.”

Therefore since I am doing a home inspection and not a mold assessment I feel like I am in the clear. I even put in the general info section of my reports “THIS IS NOT A MOLD ASSESSMENT”

Like you said we should run it by our lawyers and see what they say. I’m shooting it over to her now and will report back.

Update, my lawyer told me I’m good and make sure to add an indemnity section specifically using that language so for example if I use fungal growth or organic growth my contract would state

“Any finding described as a fungal growth or organic growth is not a mold assessment nor is your inspection meant to identify or discover conditions that facilitate mold or likely to facilitate mold”

Let me know what you all get told

Kelvin, thanks. I did put this disclaimer into my contract and will use words fungal or organic growth. And then recommend a licensed specialist. The only problem remains that people are different. Some of them will not understand those words and what kind of specialist you are recommending…For example yesterday I gave a lecture to my client about asbestos. He didn’t hear the word…I don’t understand the state. Looks like simple extortion. Another one. Is it in Public interest? -No. Home inspectors who probably do thousands inspections every month in State of NY do a tremendous job telling people about “suspected mold”(I never told enybody that I saw 100% mold anyway)and recommending a licensed specialist to investigate. Means we are working in Public Interest. And we are punished. Can NACHI do anything about this? I think we have our lobbyists in NYS legislature?

I always use the term “mildew-like” and recommend an assessment. A picture is worth a thousand words also, you don’t have to say what it is but you can show them.