Mold: Must a seller disclose?

Mold: Must a seller disclose?

The family of Lisa Lusk moved out of a house in Roanoke to a house in Roanoke County because the former appeared to be ridden with mold, and the projected costs for remediation totaled tens of thousands of dollars.

Would a real estate professional be obligated to disclose the possible mold problem to a prospective buyer?

Former U.S. defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld might say it depends on the “known knowns.”

Virginia law* requires real estate licensees to disclose in writing “all material adverse facts” about the physical condition of the property that are actually known by the licensee, according to Mary Broz-Vaughan, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.

The Virginia Association of Realtors provided a statement: “If the listing agent has actual knowledge that there is a mold condition affecting the property for sale that has not been remediated by a qualified professional she must disclose the condition to prospective buyers and their agents.”

The VAR said that if the mold and the moisture problem that created it return after multiple remediations in the course of a month, then the mold problem likely presents “an ongoing material adverse fact” that must be disclosed.

Claude McGavic, executive director of the National Association of Home Inspectors, noted that some states require that mold inspectors be certified or licensed. In those states, a home inspector lacking mandated credentials likely will be reluctant to identify mold in a building, he said.

McGavic said he has handled similar circumstances by reporting to a client that he spotted something that looked like it could be mold.

Source: Duncan Adams for American Society of Home Inspectors (originally posted in The Roanoke Times)

* About Massachusetts law: Private, individual sellers of residential properties in Massachusetts DO NOT have to voluntarily disclose defects like mold infestation, termites or water leaks. 

Massachusetts law places a higher burden on real estate professionals, agents and brokers than it does on other citizens. Chapter 93A of Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act REQUIRES such professionals to voluntarily disclose any fact that may influence the buyer not to purchase the agreement.

For example, if a seller tells his or her real estate agent that there is a water leak on the property that has potentially caused mold growth, the real estate agent HAS TO REVEAL this information to potential buyers.

Buyers who learn that real estate professionals violated this duty to disclose and the buyer wound up purchasing the property can file a Chapter 93A claim against the real estate professional. The buyer can receive damages for his or her actual losses, as well as punitive damages that are double or triple the amount of actual losses. The real estate professional may also be ordered to pay the buyer’s attorney fees and legal costs.

Source: HG.org Legal Resources


Please contact RJ Home Inspection to schedule a professional home inspection for your home or business: 800-253-4402 or email info@rjhomeinspection.com

Please contact Aspen Environmental Services for mold testing and removal at (978) 681-5023. Or email info@aspenenvironmentalservices.com. Aspen professionals are licensed and insured and members of the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors (NORMI) and the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA). www.aspenenvironmentalservices.com


Located in Methuen, MA and Dover, NH, RJ Inspections, Inc. provides full-service home inspection services for first home buyers and other home buyers, those selling a house, and real estate inspection for realtors, brokers, and contractors in Massachusetts: Greater Boston, Boston North, Boston South, Boston West, Boston, Chelsea, Winthrop, Revere, Amesbury, Andover, Beverly, Boxford, Bradford, Danvers, Essex, Georgetown, Gloucester, Groveland, Hamilton, Haverhill, Ipswich, Lawrence, Lynn, Lynnfield, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marblehead, Merrimac, Methuen, Middleton, Nahant, Newbury, Newburyport, North Andover, Peabody, Rockport, Rowley, Salem, Salisbury, Saugus, Swampscott, Topsfield, Wenham, West Newbury, Acton, Arlington, Ashby, Ashland, Ayer, Bedford, Belmont, Billerica, Boxborough, Burlington, Cambridge, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Dracut, Dunstable, Everett, Framingham, Groton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Lowell, Malden, Marlborough, Maynard, Medford, Melrose, Natick, Newton, North Reading, Pepperell, Reading, Sherborn, Shirley, Somerville, Stow, Sudbury, Tewksbury, Townsend, Tyngsboro, Wakefield, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Westford, Weston, Wilmington, Winchester, Woburn, Ashburnham, Athol, Auburn, Barre, Berlin, Blackstone, Bolton, Boylston, Brookfield, Charlton, Clinton, Douglas, Dudley, East Brookfield, Fitchburg, Gardner, Grafton, Hardwick, Harvard, Holden, Hopedale, Hubbardston, Lancaster, Leicester, Leominster, Lunenburg, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Southbridge, Spencer, Sterling, Sturbridge, Sutton, Templeton, Upton, Uxbridge, West Boylston, West Brookfield, Westborough, Westminster, Winchendon, Worcester, Barnstable, Bourne, Brewster, Chatham, Dennis, Eastham, Falmouth, Harwich, Mashpee, Orleans, Provincetown, Sandwich, Wellfleet, Yarmouth, Avon, Bellingham, Braintree, Brookline, Canton, Cohasset, Dedham, Dover, Foxboro, Franklin, Holbrook, Medfield, Medway, Millis, Milton, Needham, Norfolk, Norwood, Plainville, Quincy, Randolph, Sharon, Stoughton, Walpole, Wellesley, Westwood, Weymouth, Wrentham, Agawam, Blandford, Brimfield, Chester, Chicopee, East Longmeadow, Granville, Hampden, Holland, Holyoke, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Monson, Montgomery, Palmer, Russell, Southwick, Springfield, Tolland, Wales, West Springfield, Westfield, Wilbraham, Abington, Bridgewater, Brockton, Carver, Duxbury, East Bridgewater, Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Hingham, Hull, Kingston Lakeville, Marion, Marshfield, Mattapoisett, Middleboro, Norwell, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Rochester, Rockland, Scituate, Wareham, West Bridgewater, Whitman, Amherst, Attleboro, Berkley, Dartmouth, Dighton, Easton, Fairhaven, Fall River, Freetown, Mansfield, New Bedford, North Attleboro, Norton, Raynham, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Somerset, Swansea, Taunton, Westport, Arlington Park, Atkinson, Atkinson Heights, Atlantic, Atlantic Heights, Auburn, Austin Corners, Baglett Grove, Bayside, Bean Island, Bersum Gardens, Breakfast Hill, Brentwood, Brentwood Corners, Brick School Corner, Cable Road, Camp Gundalow, Camp Hedding, Candia, Candia Four Corners, Canobie Lake, Cemetery Corners, Chases Grove, Chester, Christian Shore, Clark Hill, Cluffs Crossing, Coffins Mill, Collettes Grove, Conleys Grove, Cowbell Corners, Creek Area, Danville, Deerfield, Deerfield Parade, Derry, Derry Village, Dows Corner, East Candia, East Derry, East Hampstead, East Kingston, Eastman Corners, Eastman Point, Elmwood Corners, Elwyn Park, Epping, Exeter, Fairhill Manor, Five Corners, Fogg Corner, Fogg Corners, Foster Corners, Four Corners, Foyes Corner, Fremont, Fremont Station, Gooch Corner, Gosport, Great Boars Head, Greenland, Greenland Station, Hampshire Road, Hampstead, Hampton, Hampton Beach, Hampton Falls, Hampton Landing, Haynes Corner, Howards Grove, Hubbard, Jady Hill, Kensington, Kingston, Lamprey Corners, Langs Corner, Leavitts Hill, Little Boars Head, Littlefield, Londonderry, Lyford Crossing, Marshall Corner, Meadowbrook, Melrose Beach, Monahan Corners, Nason Corners, New Castle, Newfields, Newington, Newington Station, Newmarket, Newton, Newton Junction, North Beach, North Chester, North Danville, North Epping, North Hampton, North Hampton Center, North Londonderry, North Nottingham, North Salem, Northwood, Northwood Center, Northwood Ridge, Nottingham, Nottingham Square, Noyes Terrace, Onway Lake, Pannaway Manor, Parkman Corner, Peppermint Corner, Perkins Hill, Pine Grove Park, Piscataqua, Plaice Cove, Plaistow, Portsmouth, Portsmouth Plains, Powwow River, Prescott Corner, Raymond, Riverside, Rockingham, Rowes Corner, Rye, Rye Beach, Rye North Beach, Salem, Salem Depot, Sanborn Corners, Sandown, Sargent Corners, Seabrook, Seabrook Beach, Seabrook Station, Severance, Shaws Hill, Smith Colony, Smith Corner, Smithtown, South Danville, South Deerfield, South Hampton, South Kingston, South Seabrook, Stratham, Stratham Station, Tappan Corners, The Five Corners, The Plantation, The Willows, Towles Corner, Town Hall Corner, Wallis Sands, Weare Corner, Weares Mill, Wentworth Acres, West Derry, West Epping, West Hampstead, West Kingston, West Nottingham, West Rye, West Windham, Westville, Wilson, Wilson Corners, Windham, Winniconic, Winnicut Mills.

We also do building inspections for commercial property as well as home inspections in New Hampshire: Atkinson, Auburn, Brentwood, Candia, Chester, Danville, Deerfield, Derry, East Kingston, Epping, Exeter, Fremont, Greenland, Hampstead, Hampton, Hampton Falls, Kensington, Kingston, Londonderry, New Castle, Newfields, Newington, Newmarket, Newton, North Hampton, Northwood, Nottingham, Plaistow, Portsmouth, Raymond, Rye, Salem, Sandown, Seabrook, South Hampton, Stratham, Windham, Concord Barrington, Cocheco, Davis, Dover, Durham, Farmington, Gonic, Lee, Madbury, Middleton, Milton, Milton Mills, New Durham, Rochester, Rollinsford, Salmon Falls, Somersworth, Strafford, Amherst, Bedford, Bennington, Brookline, Deering, Francestown, Goffstown, Greenfield, Greenville, Hancock, Hillsborough, Hollis, Hudson, Litc, field, Lyndeborough, Manchester, Mason, Merrimack, Milford, Mont Vernon, Nashua, New Boston, New Ipswich, Pelham, Peterborough, Sharon, Temple, Weare, Wilton, Windsor, Amherst, Antrim, Antrim Center, Bank, Bedford, Bennington, Broad Acres, Brookline, Browns Corner, Chase Village, Clinton Grove, Clinton Village, Cricket Corner, Davis, Deering, Drury, East Deering, East Merrimack, East Milford, Elmwood, Francestown, Gibson Four Corners, Goffs Falls, Goffstown, Grasmere, Greenfield, Greenville, Hancock, Happy Valley, High Bridge, Hillsboro, Hillsboro Center, Hillsboro Lower Village, Hillsboro Upper Village, Hollis, Hollis Depot, Holton, Hudson, Hudson Center, Lawrence Corner, Lincoln Park, Litchfield, Loverens Mill, Lyndeborough, MacDowell Colony, Manchester*, Mason, Massabesic, Milford, Mont Vernon, Mountain Bas, Nashua*, New Boston, New Ipswich, New Ipswich Center, Noone, North Branch, North Brookline, North Pelham, North Village, North Weare, Parker, Pelham, Perham Corner, Peterborough, Pinardville, Ponemah, Pratt, Reeds Ferry, Riverdale, Russell, Sharon, Slab City, Smithville, South Brookline, South Lyndeborough, South Merrimack, South Milford, South Weare, Tavern Village, Temple, Thorntons Ferry, Weare, West Brookline, West Deering, West Hollis, West Peterborough, West Wilton, Wilder, Wilton, Wilton Center, Woodland Park, Amherst, Antrim, Antrim Center, Bank, Bedford, Bennington, Broad Acres, Brookline, Browns Corner, Chase Village, Clinton Grove, Clinton Village, Cricket Corner, Davis, Deering, Drury, East Deering, East Merrimack, East Milford, Elmwood, Francestown, Gibson Four Corners, Goffs Falls, Goffstown, Grasmere, Greenfield, Greenville, Hancock, Happy Valley, High Bridge, Hillsboro, Hillsboro Center, Hillsboro Lower Village, Hillsboro Upper Village, Hollis, Hollis Depot, Holton, Hudson, Hudson Center, Lawrence Corner, Lincoln Park, Litchfield, Loverens Mill, Lyndeborough, MacDowell Colony, Manchester*, Mason, Massabesic, Milfor, Mont Vernon, Mountain Bas, Nashua, New Bosto, New Ipswich, New Ipswich Center, Noone, North Branch, North Brookline, North Pelham, North Village, North Weare, Parker, Pelha, Perham Corner, Peterborough, Pinardville, Ponemah, Pratt, Reeds Ferry, Riverdale, Russell, Sharon, Slab City, Smithville, South Brookline, South Lyndeborough, South Merrimack, South Milford, South Weare, Tavern Village, Temple, Thorntons Ferry, Weare, West Brookline, West Deering, West Hollis, West Peterborough, West Wilton, Wilder, Wilton, Wilton Center, Woodland Park.