Mold and Water Damage

No one wants to buy a house with a mold problem. Unfortunately, mold spores exist virtually everywhere, but when they are found in homes in increased concentrations so as to be a problem, they aren't always easy to detect.  Mold is a fungus that comes in various colors (black, white, green, or gray) and shapes. While some molds are visible and have odors you can smell, mold can also grow between walls, under floors and ceilings, or in less accessible spots, such as basements, crawl spaces, and attics. Mold is often found where there is moisture or water-soaked materials, but can survive in almost any damp location. Mold can grow in houses situated in the desert, as well as wet, or hot and humid climates.  Common places in a home where mold is likely be found, include: around leaking pipes, windows, or roofs; any place that's been flooded and hasn't been thoroughly dried; tightly sealed buildings which trap excess moisture inside; and in homes with poor ventilation, numerous over-watered houseplants, and housekeeping habits that ignore obvious dampness.

Besides being ugly and possibly having an unpleasant odor, mold can cause health problems, including allergic reactions and respiratory problems.  In the worst cases, a few types of molds produce mycotoxins, which can cause allergic or toxic reactions, including rashes, seizures, unusual bleeding, severe respiratory problems, and fatigue in some people.

When you're buying a home, look for any signs of mold or the potential for mold, such as standing water in the basement, water marks on walls (particularly recent-looking stains), or musty smells (particularly in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements, cabinets with plumbing, or other areas with plumbing). Ask the seller if there have been any water or moisture problems or any other evidence of the mold, and get the response in writing.  Keep in mind that the seller's duty to disclose only relates to things the seller knows about or reasonably should know about -- he or she doesn't have a duty to open the walls to see if there's mold, for example.  Also, ask your home inspector, if you have the home professionally inspected before you buy it, (which is always recommended) if your home inspector sees obvious signs of mold or water damage. While it's not the inspector's job to look for mold, most home inspectors will poke around in places you may not, such as the crawl space and attic, and mention obvious signs of water damage and the possible presence of mold.  If you have reason to suspect there's hidden mold in the home, you might elect to hire a professional mold testing company. These companies, however, can be expensive.

If you discover a mold or water damage problem in the following situations, you may wish to consult an attorney, as these problems can be expensive to remediate:

  • You purchased your home and find reasons to believe that the seller concealed mold or water damage from you;
  • You experience mold and water damage due to the negligence of a home improvement contractor who, for example, installed a defective roof or performed a defective plumbing repair;
  • You are a tenant in a rental unit and discover a mold problem in the walls or ceilings maintained by the owner or property manager, or from leaks from an adjacent unit;
  • You are a condominium owner in which there are mold problems in the common walls maintained by the homeowners association or its manager;
  • You experience health related problems related to mold in one of the foregoing situations.

Mehlman Law Group is experienced in pursuing repairs for mold and water damage, as well as recovering damages arising from these problems.

Call us at 925-935-3575.

We serve the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Mehlman Law Group is centrally located in Walnut Creek, on the border with Concord, in Contra Costa County, California. Our office is easily accessible with ample free parking.

Our Walnut Creek Office

Mehlman Law Group
3050 Citrus Circle, Suite 203
Walnut Creek, CA 94598

(925) 935-3575
(925) 935-1789 fax

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