The State of Illinois has recently stopped distributing the mold disclosure form. Though it existed for many years, it saw an increase in use several years ago during the housing downturn, when many homes were left vacant.
Vacant homes, many that were left empty for extended amounts of time, slowly came into a state of disrepair. Whether through neglect or through purpose (homes were sometimes vandalized or stripped of noteworthy materials, such as copper pipes, flooring, cabinetry, plumbing, etc), homes were left exposed to the elements, or damaged & compromised interior features. This created conditions ideal for mold in varying quantities and type to appear in many homes – including occupied properties.
One home I visited years ago, had most of their copper plumbing pipes removed from the home, with the water left running. The running water, in addition to a clogged floor drain allowed the basement to be flooded.
The mold disclosure which was recently available for years through Illinois REALTORS® stopped providing these forms, after a legal review for the following:
- There is no statutory requirement to provide a mold disclosure form. Currently, the Radon and lead-based paint disclosure for homes built prior to 1978, both have statutory requirements that sellers must provide disclosure forms. There are no state or federal statutory requirements that sellers provide mold disclosure forms.
- There’s no set scientific standard for what constitutes acceptable or unacceptable levels of mold in a structure.With radon, for example, there are set, scientifically accepted thresholds that trigger concern and remediation. This does not exist with mold.
- Finally, existing disclosure rules require homeowners to disclose underlying physical defects in a property.In the case of mold, not only could there be the presence of the substance itself, but there is likely an underlying condition causing moisture damage and mold is one of the effects of this. If a seller has a mold issue, it’s up to them to disclose and/or take care of the entire problem.
Betsy Urbance, Illinois REALTORS® Legal Hotline Attorney, states that “… Mold disclosure or notice introduces ambiguity into the transaction while also taking the focus off what are truly the important issues to the parties.”
Currently, The Real Property Disclosure Report, provide a platform for a seller to disclosure any known material defects, even those that may involve mold or moisture.
Whether disclosure or not, real estate home buyers should always conduct a home inspection to assess the condition of the home, and potential issues that may exists – including concerns that may be related to moisture or mold.
Sherwin L. Sucaldito, REALTOR®, GREEN, ABR, CRPM
The Institute of Luxury Home Marketing
Green REsource Council, GREEN
Accredited Buyer’s Representative , ABR
Certified Residential Property Manager, CRPM