Austin, TX – The members of TAR’s Risk Reduction Committee have discussed issues related to mold claims since the summer of 2000. At this time, the committee suggests the following. Client means a buyer or seller.
Inform your client that mold may be a concern for buyers, sellers, brokers, inspectors, appraisers, and lenders.
Tell your client that you are not an expert on mold. If your client needs more information, point your client to the aforementioned sources.
Call your client’s attention to the last two questions in Item No. 5 of the TAR Seller’s Disclosure Notice. This is where the seller will likely disclose whether the seller is aware if mold, to the extent that it causes a health concern, is present in the property.
Tell your client that insurability may be an issue. Suggest that the buyer discuss the insurability of the property with the buyer’s insurance agent early in the transaction or, in some cases, before an offer is made.
Tell your client that he may have the property inspected for the presence of mold. The cost for such inspections varies depending on the size of the property, the extent of the mold present, the type of expert conducting the inspection, and other factors.
Because there are presently no licensing or inspection standards for mold in properties, it may be best to avoid recommending any particular inspector or expert. Inform your client that such standards are presently not in place and that the client should discuss mold inspections with more than one expert. Most experts will discuss the limitations of the inspections. For example, an air-sampling test that does not reveal extraordinary levels of toxic mold does not necessarily mean that mold is not present behind walls or under floors where the air samplers were not placed.
Tell your client that most experts suggest that property owners undertake preventive action, such as periodic cleaning of a/c systems, regular reviews of attic spaces, and periodic plumbing leak tests. Many of the aforementioned sources have helpful suggestions.