Investment Property Red Flags: The Dreaded Black Mold

With Halloween just around the corner I thought this article would be a petrifying fit. According to recent media and web information, the threat of mold seems to …

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With Halloween just around the corner I thought this article would be a petrifying fit.

According to recent media and web information, the threat of mold seems to be one of the biggest worries to tenants and property owners.

Is indoor mold or black mold, bad? Yes it is. Could it potentially be fatal? Yes it could, just like an unhealthy diet filled with too much salt and fat can be. It’s not always that bad. Usually caught early your house doesn’t have to be torn down and your tenants don’t have to leave.

The fact is that mold is relatively easy to detect and often possible to remedy before any ill effects occur, however, it IS possible to get sick from overexposure or an acute reaction. Mold is definitely not something to ignore or put off fixing.

Some people react differently than others to mold; think allergies or a compromised immune system. Basically mold, other than the kind you find in certain cheese, bread, wine, or beer is bad for you.

The type of ‘black mold’ that most people refer to is actually “statchybotyrus chartarum”. It is most blamed for a variety of ailments, but the complete science is not yet out on what it actually does or doesn’t do.

Mold is caused by water or moisture entering your property.

We hear more of mold problems nowadays because of:

  • Internet / mold remedy franchise marketing materials
  • Science and health related studies
  • Decreased breathability in modern houses – exacerbating mold problems

Mold is the effect; a damp or wet property is the cause.

Some Do’s
  1. Use common sense. Investigate the area where the suspect mold has been found. If the area is larger than a 10’ X 10’ space and you are concerned about poor air quality or exposure, immediately consult a professional. If you see black film or mold under a dripping sink, fix the sink, wipe up the mold with bleach/anti-mold cleaner or replace the damaged surface.
  2. Take pictures, sample pieces and document the problem. If you have mold around doors, windows, or floors fix the problem and keep monitoring it. You can use a mold kit, professional inspection or search the internet to determine what type of mold you have. Truth be told, you can do most of the research and learn how to fix the problem yourself from online sources.
  3. Realize that if detected early, mold is generally a simple, quick and inexpensive clean-up. Like most problems, the longer you’ve had it, the bigger headache it could potentially be.
Some Don’ts
  1. Don’t panic. You don’t want to unnecessarily worry your family or tenants. It’s amazing how many people start developing ‘symptoms’ as soon as they think they have been exposed to mold. What you need to do is thoroughly investigate and remedy the problem immediately. If you have a serious (large area) mold issue, you may need to arrange other suitable dwellings for the inhabitants of the property until the mold can be remedied.
  2. Don’t upset the mold if you suspect it is covering an area larger than 10’ X 10’ squared, behind the walls or a large area of the subfloor. The reason is that if you do have a long-standing mold problem that covers a large area of your property, you do not want to upset dry mold and have it circulate throughout the property. Avoid inhaling it as well. This could be for a full-blown case, yet still repairable.
  3. With a tenant occupied property: Don’t be afraid to talk to a health inspector about the problem and how do remedy it. Many health inspectors are well informed and will help when you ask about identifying and cleaning a potentially moldy dwelling.

Remember, once the water problem is fixed your mold problem will cease. Most molds don’t cause any problems. It is impossible to get rid of all mold spores indoors, but as long as your property is dry and clean you shouldn’t have issues.

This is not a comprehensive article on mold treatment. Every situation is different. Don’t be afraid of finding mold in your home; be knowledgeable and expedient in remedying it.

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