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Tenants and Landlords

Tenants and Landlords

Tenants and Landlords

Mold and the Insurance Industry

Concern about the consequences of mold contamination has become one of today's top subjects. The implications of the emerging mold issue for insurance and the economy are serious. From the insurance perspective, damage from mold, like rust, rot and mildew is specifically excluded in standard homeowners and commercial property policies. Mold contamination is covered under these policies only if it is the result of a covered peril. For example, the costs of cleaning up mold caused by water from a burst pipe are covered under the policy because water damage from a burst pipe is a covered peril. Mold caused by water from excessive humidity, leaks, condensation or flooding is a maintenance issue for the property owner, like termite or mildew prevention, and is not covered by the policy. Most people routinely clean up mold before it grows large enough to become a hazard. Caught early, mold usually can be removed by a thorough cleaning with bleach and water. While mold has been around for millennia, the number of mold claims submitted to insurers increased significantly. But if insurers are now going to be asked to pay claims for something that is not covered in the policy, the price of insurance will inevitably rise. Should the longstanding coverage exclusion for mold be eroded by jury verdicts or judicial interpretations, the basic premises on which the property insurance contract is based will be reversed, and the economic consequences will be severe. To prevent this, corrective action by regulators and legislators is being taken. To avoid confusion, many insurers are now inserting clarifying language in their homeowners and commercial property policies. Some companies may decide to cover all mold claims and price the policy accordingly. Others may exclude mold, but offer an attachment to the policy, called an endorsement, that allows you to add the coverage. Still other companies may provide a tighter definition of what is and what is not covered. While some may prefer to create an absolute exclusion. Most major insurers have announced some form of restriction on writing water damage policies. As to mold in general, there are more than 100,000 species of mold of which at least 1,000 are common in the United States. Los Angeles and surrounding Southern California areas are no exception. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there is always a little mold everywhere in the air and on many surfaces. The CDC suggests people should take routine measures to prevent mold growth in the home and in commercial structures, usually by stopping the accumulation of moisture. Property owners should be aware that mold should be cleaned up as soon as it appears. Keep in mind that mold cannot grow without access to moisture. The most effective way to treat mold is to immediately correct underlying water damage and clean the affected area. The common health concerns from molds include hay fever-like allergic symptoms, the CDC reports. Certain individuals with chronic respiratory disease may experience difficulty breathing. Individuals with immune suppression may be at increased risk for infection from molds. Anyone with these conditions should consult a qualified medical clinician. There are very few reports that molds containing certain mycotoxins inside buildings can cause unique or rare health conditions and a causal link between the mold and these conditions has not been proven, the CDC says.

Why Test for Mold?

A decade ago it was asbestos. Today, mold is in the spotlight and America is divided over whether mold really is a legitimate concern or just another over-rated environmental issue. What we hear about mold testing is often influenced by what someone is trying to sell us or want us to believe.

A Sign of the Times.

Whatever we believe about mold, it is a reality that is here to stay. Numerous alerts from the medical profession and the skyrocketing number of lawsuits against landlords, realtors, employers, insurers, warn us of the seriousness of mold and justify the need for proper mold testing, especially in California where everyone is sue-happy. Some have even called it "The Silent Killer". That may be on the extreme side, but with all the information available about mold and it's potential for harm, there are plenty of valid reasons for mold testing. For example, we now know that some molds produce toxins which may be linked to severe cases of asthma, respiratory problems including bleeding lungs, and many other very serious ailments including immune system disorders. The medical and legal communities are now taking mold contamination very seriously. With so much overwhelming evidence to support the dangers of exposure to mold, mold testing is the first step in properly assessing whether an abnormal or elevated mold condition exists. We hope you find this information helpful in making confident and educated decisions about mold testing and treatment as well as any other concerns you have about mold.

Apartment complexes post warning signs

Posted by Susan R., Sunday, 03 October 2004 Sacramento, CA - Tenants at Sacramento's Ardendale Apartments started seeing warning signs a few months ago, warning that their complex "contains chemicals known to cause cancer and birth defects." "It scares me in the sense that, where exactly and how exactly are these chemicals going to affect me?" said tenant Ryanne Durnin. The property manager, Cynthia Jenkins, said that the signs simply refer to chemicals that have always been around the pool and in the laundry room. They are chemicals that are possibly used by a pest control company. "No new chemicals are being used or anything likes that," said property manager Cynthia Jenkins. But apartment complexes are now among the businesses required to post the state's Proposition 65 warning. So signs are showing up all over California. But just as the signs appeared the Ardendale complex, so did notices in the mail, telling tenants that their rental agreements now include a toxic mold clause. "Mold is now a big thing in the state of California," Jenkins said. Property managers say that there's no new health threat but that there is a serious financial one, because the fear of toxic mold has insurance companies running scared. The company that manages Ardendale and several other complexes said that its insurance costs jumped from $28,000 last year to $62,000 this year. The owner of another, smaller complex said that his premiums doubled and he had no choice but to raise rents. So managers are urging tenants to work with them the instant they see the slightest sign of mold. Inspections offers mold detection and mold services throughout Ventura and Orange Counties as well as the entire Southern California area.

If you have any questions, feel free to call us at 1-877-470-MOLD (1-877-470-6653).
We are here to help.

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