What Happens if Mold Is Found During Home Inspection in Florida? Everything You Need to Know

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When a buyer finds a home they are excited about and enters into a purchase contract, you hope everything goes smoothly towards getting your keys and stepping over the threshold. Sometimes, however, issues turn up during the period between contract and closing. One of the most problematic is the discovery of mold in your future home.

What happens if mold is found during a home inspection in Florida? What are your legal options, and does the presence of mold allow buyers to pull out of a real estate deal?

The real estate professionals at the Law Office of Gary M. Landau, P.A., have more than 25 years of experience with Florida real estate transactions. Learn what you can do if a mold inspector discovers a significant mold problem in the property you were planning to purchase (or sell). If you still have questions or want to discuss your situation, or want an experienced attorney to handle all aspects of your real estate deal, call us at (954) 979-6566 to schedule a consultation.

What Exactly Is Mold?

Mold is a fungus-like organism that is everywhere in the outside environment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the offshoots, or spores, of mold can enter a home in any number of ways, especially through air conditioning systems, windows or doorways, or by residents or pets trekking them in on shoes or clothing.

When the spores end up near moisture, they can begin to grow, especially when the spores and water appear on materials especially conducive to growth such as wood, drywall, ceiling tiles, insulation materials, wallpaper, carpets, and fabric. Mold on these surfaces can spread quickly.

Why Mold in the Home Is a Serious Problem

Many people fear mold because of its potential effects on health. A renowned medical organization, the Institute of Medicine, put out a report in 2004 which said that indoor exposure to mold can lead to various health problems including heightened asthma symptoms in people with the disease and coughing and wheezing in otherwise healthy individuals. Other health issues attributed to mold include headaches and fatigue, and allergic-like reactions. People who have compromised immune systems can especially face health risks when exposed to mold.

Some websites and magazines have used the term “toxic mold” to describe one species of greenish-black mold, Stachybotrys chartarum, which they claim is especially dangerous, but the CDC says all molds should be viewed as having potential health risks.

Mold can be difficult (and expensive) to eliminate. And because mold thrives in moist conditions, its discovery may point to hidden water damage in the home such as a leaky pipe or roof that also must be resolved in addition to eradicating the mold itself.

How a Mold Addendum Can Provide Security for Real Estate Closings in Florida

Discovering mold growth can throw a wrench into real estate closings in the Sunshine State. It’s important to note that if a home inspection reveals mold, this doesn’t automatically allow you as the buyer to rescind your purchase agreement. It may also not obligate the seller to fix the mold problem.

To avoid a protracted legal fight, I always recommend that buyers include a mold inspection addendum along with the real estate sale contract, as a way to protect themselves from this unfortunate occurrence.

This mold addendum specifically lays out what happens when it comes to mold, defining a time window during which you as buyer can inspect the property for mold (at your own expense). If the inspection reveals significant mold (defined by its prospective cleanup cost), the addendum calls for the buyer to be able to notify the seller to cancel the deal and have their deposit returned.

What to Do If a Home Inspection Reveals Mold Growth

The discovery of mold doesn’t have to kill a deal, however. Mold can safely be removed by professional remediation services.

Once a home inspection uncovers mold, the buyer needs to decide how to proceed.

Option 1. Make a Plan for Dealing with the Mold Problem

Speak to a mold removal company to get an accurate estimate of what fixing the mold issue will cost. A comprehensive solution must also include addressing the condition that allowed mold to spread in the first place, like the plumbing issue or roof leak.

If the contract includes a signed mold addendum and mold is found during the specified mold inspection time, the buyer can attempt to negotiate with the seller to have them eradicate the mold, or to reduce the sales price to cover the costs of mold remediation.

Option 2. Pull Out of the Deal

If the mold is discovered during the contract’s standard inspection period, all buyers are within their rights to back out of the deal.

If that time has passed but your contract includes an addendum giving you a longer inspection period for mold, you would typically be able to cancel the contract in the specified time period and get your deposit back in full.

Without such an addendum, the buyer is dependent on the good will of the seller to agree that the deal could be cancelled. If the seller does not agree and you believe they knew about the mold before signing the contract and they did not disclose it as required, you could file a lawsuit in state court to try to have your deposit returned to you.

Why You Need an Experienced Florida Real Estate Lawyer

Working with an experienced attorney for your real estate deal can save you time, trouble, and money during real estate closings. The best approach is to involve the attorney at the start of the deal, so you can receive legal advice and protection for all aspects of the closing, including ensuring the real estate contract addresses mold.

A skilled real estate lawyer may:

    • Amend your contract to include the Mold Inspection Addendum.
    • Review your legal options if a home inspection reveals mold when you are buying a home.
    • Explain whether the contract as signed allows the buyer an option to cancel the contract for a mold problem.
    • Protect your rights and interests throughout the real estate deal.

At the Law Office of Gary M. Landau, P.A., we bring more than 25 years of experience and thorough knowledge of Florida real estate law to every real estate deal and closing.

The Law Office of Gary M. Landau, P.A.: Reliable South Florida Real Estate Attorney

When a home inspection reveals the presence of mold or other unexpected defects in a property you plan to buy, you need expert guidance on what to do next. Our team at the Law Office of Gary M. Landau, P.A., can explain what happens if mold is found during the home inspection in Florida.

With more than 25 years of experience and countless satisfied clients, Gary M. Landau and his team are uniquely positioned to help you with your probate and real estate needs in South Florida. Whether you’re ready to probate a loved one’s estate or to write your own will, or if you are purchasing a home, have inherited a home, or want a closing agent to handle title insurance and all documents for your closing or refinancing, the Law Office of Gary M. Landau is ready to work with you.

Call our office at (954) 979-6566 or complete our online form today to schedule a free consultation. We work with our clients in person, over the phone, or on Zoom.

Copyright © 2023. LAW OFFICE OF GARY M. LANDAU, P.A. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction.

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Coral Springs, FL 33067
(954) 979-6566

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