INFORMATIONAL ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN 2002
Today, mold is the hottest issue around, not only for the field servicing industry but for society in general. Not only is mold a hot issue, it is an extremely litigious issue with multi-million dollar lawsuits flashing the news headlines with more frequency than defendants care for it to be. We see mold seminars frequently being announced not only for mere educational purposes but also for preservation mechanics to learn how to abate or remediate the mold from vacant properties. HUD, one of the largest loan guarantors, generally will not accept properties with mold in them.
How serious is the mold problem for vacant properties? Several servicers have stated that their inventory records show an increase from as low as 3% to as high as 70% this year over last year of properties with mold in them. This means that last year, as few as 3 out of 100 properties were reported as having mold. This year as many as 70 properties out of 100 are reported as having mold. Could it be that awareness of the issue has revealed more properties having a problem or is it a monetary issue?
Mold is natural in our environment. It exists in the air around us and is a living organism. Mold is not a problem in most homes that have proper ventilation and adequate protection from water/moisture. Mold does not just grow out of control all by itself. There is usually some event that triggers abnormal growth. That event could be a leak in the structure (such as a roof leak) or a water entry point (such as a broken plumbing line) or lack of care (such as a sump pump not working because the electric service has been disconnected). Given the moist and unventilated environment mold needs to grow, in a vacant property mold can rapidly grown out of control. Once mold is discovered, it must be appropriately addressed.