Re: HVAC Mold Inspections
Posted by Mold Bleeder on 4/16/08
You're talking in circles. Lemme see if I understand you correctly:
The standard you are holding up for tenants is that they are essentially required to test for
something they are told can't hurt them because just in case the prevailing belief is incorrect and
mold/mycotoxins DO end up hurting them, it's their fault for not having done the work the owner is
supposed to do in return for the rent they are paying.
Did I get that right? I mean it's only $250 and all, right? Everyone should know this, right?
So, please remind me, how is it, again, that you think a prospective tenant should KNOW a)about
IAQ/mold inspections and b) that they need to pay for what ought to be the responsibility of the
owner ahead of moving in when the medical community insists that mold can't hurt you?
Look RD, you seem like a reasonable person, but this belief is part of the problem that sustains the
wide scale ignorance of the danger because you are holding people accountable for information they
have no way to access ahead of the risk they are getting into.
The responsibility for ensuring a building is habitable at the time the tenant enters a lease is
with the owner. To argue that it ought to be otherwise given the denial that there is any problem
Is it worth advising the public that they ought to pressure for regular checking or to do it
themselves? Absolutely, but to hold a tenant responsible for the duties of the person who is
receiving rent is simply not reasonable.
In our case, there was no HVAC - the building was built in the early 1900s. Are you saying our
building ought to have been tested by us annually as well? We lived in an extremely temperate
climate very close to the ocean where our primary climate control was opening doors at either end of
the apartments to get a cross breeze.
The owner learned there was mold infestation in the building during the inspection she was required
to do while she was in escrow, although that information didn't come to light until recently. There
were several sources of water intrusion, apparently. Then, a couple years later there was a sewer
pipe leak under the building that went untended for some time, which is what created the situation
that we eventually discovered.
In our case, we did, ultimately, fork out money to have testing done to the tune of $1500 to have
three of the four units tested - primarily air sampling and a small handful of swabs. We'd called
the city prior to that and the health department signed off that the mold had been addressed
(although they never re-entered the property to *see* that this had occurred) and the department
that deals with buildings never filed its report.
The owner was sent the results of the enviro testing we did which indicated the building needed much
more serious testing given that it was likely there was mold in the floors, ceilings and walls.
Four years later, no additional inspection has been done (we're still in touch with one of the
tenants). Mold is still growing in the building and tenants come and go having had weird health
issues crop up by the time they leave. This is 'income' property for the owner - she seems to have
a pretty strict standard of what monies she'll out-go for it.
During the few months when we began to realize that, perhaps, our freakish health symptoms were
related to mold, our doctors swore there was no way they could be, until one of us got an asthma
diagnosis. The mold kept getting wiped off of the surfaces and regrowing in a very short time. The
owner told the tenants in that unit where mold was visible to clean it with bleach, which we now
know made the situation more dangerous since bleach and some mycotoxins mixed become a chemical
substance similar to clordane (if I remember the name correctly) - a serious neurotoxin (as if
Ochratoxin and Trichothecene weren't bad enough).
You toss around $250 like it's no big thang. Maybe in your practice you offer a 'tenant move-in
special' testing price, but after all we've been through in our specific situation, we spent a lot
more than that to get information that was essentially useless while we were trying to assess the
situation as tenants. I'm sure YOUR service for $250 may actually BE what every tenant needs, but
ours was pretty shoddy. We hadn't known anyone else to have testing, so we didn't have anyone to
turn to for a recommendation. No one was dead yet, so we didn't understand the stakes we were up
against we so impossibly high. We didn't know that air sampling generally only catches 1% of what's
in the air. We didn't know, that we should be testing for mycotoxins in addition to mold. We
didn't know that we should be doing viable spore sampling in addition to non-viable. At this point,
we've actually spent closer to $6000 dollars on testing to be able to show that what is in the
tissues of my dead neighbor is on the premises. (We've even had air sampling done by Omni 3000.)
THAT is really what you are holding tenants to in a situation where it's bad.
At present, your industry has been a part of the problem because you don't offer real education to
the public - what one finds when one goes looking for environmental testing is hyperbolic Ads that
scare people and then don't give a realistic expectation of what will actually be tested (and more
importantly, how much ISN'T). When the average person checks with their doctor to see if they
*need* to know if this stuff is in the air or the walls, they are told not to waste their money.
Honestly, whom are most people going to believe, the guy who advertises a $250 testing special in
the phone book or the family doctor? I mean, it is not my intent to denigrate your industry, I
think it's extremely important, but the guy who did the most recent sampling for us was INSULTED
that we weren't going to have him do the actual testing - we needed him for chain of custody, and
that's what we asked him to provide and he nearly refused us because he wanted to evaluate the whole
building. The samples he took went to an M.D. with advanced training who'd done the tissue testing
we needed to compare to whatever grew - but, goodness, the sampler whose feelings we hurt had a
whole junior college degree AND a certificate for a number of hours of training...
There is hubris and misunderstanding and misinformation all around - plenty to blame on everyone.
But I'd really prefer to see collusion in the interest of education rather than amassing blame.
Until that becomes the way this is handled, there had better be a court system, as skewed as it is
against people who have been injured.
On 4/16/08, Rem Dude wrote:
> That is why an annual IAQ/mold inspection is so important - catch little problems before they
> become BIG problems.
>> The fact remains that very few people know that mold is a problem for which there is a need for
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