Featuring America's Home Inspector: Nationally Syndicated Columnist, Barry Stone

The House Detective by Barry Stone, Certified Home Inspector

Dear Barry: We purchased our home about a year ago. After moving in, we noticed a dark spot on the bathroom wallpaper. When we peeled up an edge, there was mold and lots of it! It turned out there was a slow leak in the wall, caused by the seller who did his own plumbing repairs. A plumber fixed the leak, and the sellers’ real estate agent sent a handyman to get rid of the mold. He removed the base of the cabinet, sprayed some stuff on the wood and drywall, and then closed it back up. But my daughter and I are allergic to mold and have been having symptoms ever since. With the sellers’ agent having knowledge of this mold problem, do we have any recourse?  Shelly

Dear Shelly: Mold cannot be fully remedied by any kind of spray. Professional expertise is necessary to address mold in a responsible and effective manner. No handyman should be doing this kind of work, and a professional agent should know this. The proper solution for mold infection is total removal of all affected materials: drywall, wood, etc. The sellers and their agent need to arrange for a mold survey by a Registered Environmental Assessor. Mold samples should be sent to a lab to determine the types of mold that are present. Air testing should also be done to determine the types and amounts of mold spores that are airborne in your home. Once a mold report has been issued, the contamination should be eliminated by a qualified, professional expert.