Once mold can be detected either by sight (spots of almost any color) or smell (musty), it may have built up a high enough concentration to present a health hazard, causing rashes, seizures, unusual bleeding, respiratory problems, or severe fatigue in some people. Therefore, all mold may be considered toxic.
Where is Mold Found?
Mold grows best in water-soaked materials (wood, wallboard, carpet, paint, ceiling tiles, paint, and insulation).
Here are some common places in a home to find mold:
- Around leaking pipes, windows, or roofs (the constant supply of water gives mold spores the start they need)
- Bathrooms and Basements or other places that have flooded and haven’t been thoroughly dried
- Tightly sealed buildings (common with new construction), which trap excess moisture inside
- Homes with poor ventilation
Who Is Liable for Mold?
If you suspect toxic mold damage in your home, apartment, condominium, vacation home, or some other building that you own, you may be able to seek damages from one or more of the following:
Homeowners’ insurance: carefully read the policy to find out what it covers and what it specifically excludes from coverage. If your insurance company drags its feet, tries to trick you or avoid the terms of your homeowners’ policy, you may have an additional legal claim against it for violation of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
Builder or contractor: if the mold infestation is the result of shoddy construction or materials or a failure to install proper ventilation, you may have a legal claim against the builder, general contractor, or one or more subcontractors for negligence.
Architect or engineer: if the mold infestation is the result of poor architecture or engineering, such as a failure to include proper ventilation in the design of the home, you may have a claim against the architect or structural engineer for negligence.
Construction supplier: if you can show that the mold infestation in your home was “imported” into it by moldy construction materials such as siding or drywall, you may have a claim against the commercial supplier of the mold-infested materials.
Prior owner: if the prior owner of your home knew of the presence of mold but did not tell you when you bought your home, they may be liable to you for failing to disclose the presence of mold.
Realtor: the seller’s realtor may also be liable for selling you a home with a mold infestation.
Property inspector: if you hired a property inspector to inspect your home before you bought it, the inspection company may be liable to you if it missed a mold infestation. You will need to carefully review the property report you were given, especially the language at the beginning regarding the scope of the inspection and any disclaimers.
Condominium association: because of the special status of owners in a condominium complex, the condo association may be liable for a mold infestation, especially if it occurs in a common area.