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

Should Home Inspectors Disclose Mold?

The House Detective:  by Barry Stone, Certified Home Inspector

Dear Barry: In one of your articles, you faulted a home inspector for failing to disclose mold that was present in a home. As a professional home inspector, this misinformation concerns me. Your readers should be told that mold and all other environmental issues are not covered under the standards of practice for the home inspection profession. No home inspector is required to investigate or report on such things, and your readers should be informed of that fact. Please clarify this in an upcoming article.  Wayne

Dear Wayne: Environmental hazards such as mold are not within the scope of a home inspection, and home inspectors are not expected to report on such issues. But that does not let home inspectors off the hook completely. So let’s have some clarity on this issue.

In cases where mold is visible on accessible surfaces — beneath a kitchen sink, on a bathroom windowsill, in a plumbing access, or the corner of a closet — what should a home inspector do? Should the inspector ignore that condition and say nothing about it, simply because mold is not within the scope of the inspection? To do so would constitute professional negligence. Instead, the inspector should point out the “stains” and recommend further evaluation by a mold specialist. If that point was not clear in the article that you read, then this one should provide that clarity.