How do you get sued when it is required that this be in your Inspection Agreement/Reporting in many states?:
For everything you add to your Inspection, you add liability. Ask your Insurance provider…
InterNACHI owns 1/2 of an insurance program. The only inspectors who get sued for mold are those that don’t offer mold.
If you offer mold when you find it, you found it. When you offer mold and your client refuses, you have the ultimate defense. Either way you’re safe.
Again, the only inspectors who lose mold lawsuits are inspectors who don’t offer mold testing.
You left out those who offer it and Don’t find it…
But then you have a third-party lab report in one hand, and extra money in the other hand. I like that.
Molds can be found in any home or any outside air. To properly test a home for mold, you should test the outside air and the inside air. I was involved in such a court case in 2003. Since there are no local, state, or federal minimum parameters, such as those for radon, offering mold inspections, IMO, seems like a scam. Some people are allergic, some are not. Some can get sick with certain types of mold, some others not. Without comparing a patient’s doctors report to a mold test, or alerting the home buyer of such, inspectors should stay away from any mold testing. Molds are part of our environment, and are everywhere. If you do mold testing, you better be sure, and educated, in the field of every type of mold.
Is any lab going to cover your but if you offer mold, don’t find any, and you missed it and get called out and sued for missing it. ?
Mold is Gold
Mold testing is what it is.
To claim that if you test, you won’t loose a law suit is not what it is.
Yes, I know “It’s all about the money”.
It’s not me saying it. Ask any home inspector E&O insurer. Nearly all mold suits in our industry are filed against home inspectors who didn’t offer mold testing.
Sure they would say that. They would love all inspector’s to start testing for mold and anything else they could write an extra policy for. Do you think these guys sit around thinking of ways for them to make less money for themselves ? or ways to make more off the inspectors.
Also then the few of those agents go against your own Mark Cohen’s agreements. If you have it in your agreement that you absolutely do not inspect for mold, you wouldn’t lose in court. Mold is a separate ancillary service, in fact it is really a separate business in my opinion and thus one should have a completely separate agreement for mold, and that should be written well to cover your butt.
I didn’t say that you would lose in court. I said that nearly all mold suits in our industry are filed against home inspectors who didn’t offer mold testing.
E&O Insurers are notorious for not sharing any data, let alone any data about lawsuits.
That being said it appears you have data that we do not access to, if you would be so kind to share said data or at least point us to the data it would be a really be help Nick.
There have been nine major lawsuits against home inspectors over mold. Most of those can be found by doing a google search. In all nine cases the home inspector didn’t offer mold testing, wasn’t certified to do mold testing, had a contract that said the home inspection doesn’t include mold testing, and abided by an SOP that specifically excluded mold testing.
Does anyone here even remember Ed McMahon or Johnny Carson? I’m getting old. Ed McMahon won (settled for $7 million) the first big mold lawsuit.
Did any of those 9 inspectors lose the suit ?
Sampling for mold, consulting on mold, and remediation of mold is a separately licensed function in Texas. If a Texas Inspector properly inspects, reports on the signs of mold, and properly refers any needed further action to a licensed mold specialist then there is no real liability.
Having said that anybody can sue anyone for any reason and as a result we all have the perception of liability far beyond our profession.
You can call me crazy if you like but I talk my clients out of mold testing sometimes.
Usually it’s clients who have heard some horror story about mold in the media.
I tell them I advise mold testing, sampling under the following conditions.
If we see something during the home inspection that looks like mold we’ll direct sample and send to the lab.
If there is a musty mildewy odor we can perform air samples.
If a member of the household has mold sensitivity we can air sample and they can show the results to their allergist.
I explain to them that all houses have mold, it’s a natural part of the environment and not automatically a hazard.
After they’ve heard all that they will often defer on having air samples done just for the sake of doing them.
I don’t try and push “add-on” services just for the sake of making some extra bucks. That would be unethical.
That’s my policy as well. If someone calls me for an inspection, it’s generally a 7 minute call. In 7 minutes, I’ve found their concerns, gave a quote, booked an inspection.
When someone calls about mold inspections/testing, it’s usually about a 20 minute call. I probably book about 20% of those, the rest I spend talking them out of it. Even when I suspect it in a home during an inspection, I verbally inform my clients what testing does and does not reveal, or imply. About 1/2 of those clients go ahead with testing.
Helps me sleep well at night.
Do you think there is any risk in “talking your client out of doing a mold test?”
Is there a possibility that if your client finds mold later, that they complain that you talked them out of doing a mold test?