Here in South Florida where heat and humidity are a part of life, mold can become a problem for homeowners, and therefore, for potential homeowners as well. Much like radon gas became a hot button in real estate contracts, mold now has made a debut. Sellers of real property must disclose in their Seller’s Disclosure Statement, which is part of a real estate contract, whether they know of any mold issues on their property. Real estate contracts now include Mold Addendums informing buyers that mold is a potential issue on any property and they have the right to have a mold inspection.
Molds are part of our natural environment. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores which are invisible to the naked eye and drift through our indoor and outdoor air. Mold can begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet or damp. Mold can grow on most surfaces including wood, paper, carpet or food. Molds have the potential to cause health problems such as allergic reactions resulting in sneezing, runny nose, red eyes or skin rash. Molds can also create throat, nose and lung irritations in non-allergic and allergic individuals. The key to mold control is moisture control!
To get rid of mold growth in a home once it has occurred, you must clean up the mold AND fix the water/moisture problem. The most difficult part may be locating the source of the moisture. The EPA recommends several ways to control mold growth such as reducing indoor humidity by venting bathrooms, dryers and other moisture generating items to the outside, cleaning and drying water damaged areas within 24-48 hours of a leak, and preventing condensation. If the mold problem is severe, a homeowner may want to consider hiring a professional to perform the clean-up.
Buyers and Sellers of real estate should speak to their Realtor who can advise them on the actions to be taken in the contract stage of a transaction with regard to mold.
More information about mold can be found at the Environmental Protection Agency website at: www.epa.gov.