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Category: Real Estate Law
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I purchased a home last July 2015 and now found mold in the

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I purchased a home last July 2015 and now found mold in the attic around the fireplace area which should have been noted on the inspection report but was not. The inspector spent a good 4o minutes in the attic inspecting but never made mention of it.
Over the past year we have been very sick with nose bleeds, headaches, burning eyes which is always worst when the humidity and temp are extremely high outside.
I had an air quality test done to prove that it was mold in the house that was making myself and my son sick. I now have to replace the wall that runs the depth of my house from my living room through my dining room as well as the roof and attic area around the top of the fireplace that contains the mold.
The night before the inspection she insisted that I give her the inspectors phone number because she wanted to speak with him knowing I had already made the appointment and confirmed. I just wonder what she had to say to him.
Do I have a case? I would really like for him or someone to pay for the remediation because if I had known I would have never purchased the home.My real estate agent knew I would not buy a home if it had mold.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
the inspector did not there was moss on the roof just above outside the mold and he had to walk past the area in the attic to see the insulation over the garage area that he made a comment on. Back in May 2016, I had an estimate for the rood to be replaced because it is old and the person looked in the attic and was able to see the mold and sent me a picture so I am not sure why a Real Estate Inspector would not be able to see/note it on the report when that is his profession. Unless that is what was discussed when the realtor called him.

Good morning Donna. I'm sorry to hear that you are in this situation. I does sound like you have a case. 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. Also, the former owner may be liable if it canbe shown that they knew of the mold condition but failed to disclose it.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Below is the wording on the report. The mold is on the wood frame around the fireplace in the attic which should be covered under structural....what do you think?
are they frePre-INSPECTION AGREEMENT (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY) The Michael A. Picarello Company agrees to conduct an inspection for the purpose of informing the client of major deficiencies in the condition of this property on the date noted. This report will express the professional opinions of the inspector to the best of his knowledge and ability and will be conducted in accordance with the State of Maryland’s Standards of Practice for Home Inspectors. The inspection and report are performed and prepared for the sole, confidential and exclusive, use and possession of the client; the company assumes no responsibility or liability to any third party in connection with this inspection or report. This report and its findings are non-transferable. The written report will include:  Notation of the overall condition including foundation  Quality and condition of major systems including electric, plumbing, heating and air conditioning  General exterior including siding, roof, gutters, chimney, drainage and grading  Visible insulation and ventilation  General interior including ceilings, walls, floors, doors and windows (cosmetic issues are not a part of the home inspection)  Kitchen and other appliances including washer and dryer are tested for courtesy only It is understood and agreed that this inspection will be of readily accessible areas of the building and is limited to visual observations of apparent conditions existing at the time of the inspection. It is also understood that an inspection is intended only to assist in the evaluation of the overall condition of the building and that not all deficiencies may be discovered during this limited time period. Latent and concealed defects and deficiencies by their nature are excluded from the inspection. Other than opening normal access panels or doors, equipment, items and systems will not be dismantled during the inspection. Maintenance and other items may be discussed as a courtesy, but they are not a part of our inspection. The report is not a code compliance inspection or certification for past or present governmental codes or regulations of any kind. Manufacturers recalled items are expressly excluded from this report. If your home inspector is not a licensed structural engineer or other professional whose license authorizes the rendering of an opinion as to the structural integrity of a building or the condition of its components or systems, you may wish to seek the professional opinion of a licensed structural engineer or other professional regarding any possible defects or other observations set forth in this report. The inspection and report do not address and are not intended to address the possible presence of, or danger from, any potentially harmful substances and environmental hazards including but not limited to radon gas, lead paint, asbestos, urea formaldehyde, toxic or flammable chemicals, as well as water and airborne hazards including mold unless noted otherwise. Also excluded are inspections of and reports on swimming pools, wells, septic systems, security systems, central vacuum systems, water softeners, sprinkler systems, fire and safety equipment and the presence or absence of rodents, termites and other insects. Only home inspections performed by Maryland licensed home inspectors will be recognized as a valid home inspection under a real estate contract in the state of Maryland.
The parties agree that the Company and its employees and agents, assume no liability or responsibility for the cost of repairing or replacing any unreported defects or deficiencies, either current or arising in the future, or for any property damage, consequential damage or bodily injury of any nature derived as a direct result of this inspection. This Inspection and report are not intended to be or to be used as a guarantee or warranty, expressed or implied, regarding the adequacy, performance or condition of any inspected structure, item or system.
It is understood and agreed that should the COMPANY and/or its agents or employees be found liable for any loss or damages resulting from a failure to perform any of its obligations, including but not limited to negligence or breach of contract, the liability of the COMPANY and/or its agents or employees, shall be limited to a sum equal to the amount of the fee paid by the CUSTOMER for the Inspection. The client further agrees to provide The Michael A. Picarello Company the opportunity to observe any condition, system or defect prior to any actions. Payment of all fees, which includes travel time and follow-up telephone consultation, is due in full upon completion of the inspection. The completed report will be communicated to the client in the method agreed to within seven days of the completion of the inspection. Acceptance
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Are they free from liability because of these blanket statements?

That is a question that must be researched under state case law by a MARYLAND practicing attorney. Here is an ILLINOIS case that will give you an idea of what the issues are.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is the report I sent you the same? Q: if he is only covering a visual inspection than he should have seen the Mold. Based on the pictures I have been provided by clearly show there is mold on the wood which is very visible. I understand this needs to be researched but that is why I paid the money to have my questions answered here. Can you help?

To answer your question, if you show that mold was present at the time and the inspector was negligent in not reporting it, then you will have a cause of action for recovery of your damages. The ultimate ruling must come from the judge who hears the case.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I can show that it was there when the contractor came to look at the roof in May 2016. The inspection was in July 2015. The person that did the air quality inspection stated that it did not occur recently. Would this be enough? I am a single mother and feel that they took advantage of me because I was not being able to follow him in to the attic to see what was going on up there. I do not have the money to hire a lawyer and remediate everything.

Your choice is whether or not to spend the money on a lawyer, or do the remediation yourself, I would recommend doing the remediation. That is because the outcome of any lawsuit is not guaranteed. Further, I don't know how severe the mold situation is, but there are contractors out there who charge exorbitant sums for mold remediation, when it often can be removed with a simple bleach application. So investigate into it thoroughly before you start writing checks to lawyers or contractors.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
ok. but would my statement/dates above enough to prove it was there when I purchased the house? it cannot be removed by bleach. The framing round the fireplace needs to be replaced and the wall between living rm and dining rm will need to be remediated/replaced.

ok. but would my statement/dates above enough to prove it was there when I purchased the house?

I doubt it. You would be rendering an opinion which you are not technically qualified to give. Opinion evidence generally requires an expert who can evaluate the conditions.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What type of specialist would I need to render technically qualified evidence? a mold specialist/environmental specialist I mentioned above?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What type of specialist would I need to render technically qualified evidence? a mold specialist/environmental specialist I mentioned above?

a mold specialist/environmental specialist I mentioned above?

Yes, any of those types, who have expert knowledge about mold and remediation methods can examine mold conditions and testify in court about the subject.