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Mold Disclosure - Real Estate

Signing a mold disclosure won't protect you from serious problems!

In Illinois real estate transactions usually involve the use of the Illinois Association of Realtors Mold Disclosure form. The form identifies the parties of the transaction, it identifies the property in question, and then it has 5 parts to it.

Part 1: Seller Disclosure

This section has three parts. It allows the seller to state, to the best of their knowledge, that the property has or has not been inspected for mold. If it was inspected, it gives the seller the opportunity to communicate that problems with TOXIC molds were or were not found. Then it allows the seller to communicate whether measures to remove the mold were or were not taken.

This is the big "heads up" for the buyer. In Illinois most contracts have an addendum titled, Illinois Assocaition of Realtors Residential Real Property Disclosure Report, which should be read carefully to find other hints that there could be mold problems. This form asks about floods, flood plain, and other water related issues. Make sure these questions are marked "NO".

This still doesn't truly protect you from mold hazards or toxic mold problems. It does allow the topic to be discussed and uniformly addressed. If you suspect there could be an issue then you'll have to have it inspected for mold.

Part 2: Mold Inspections

This section states that although mold COULD exist, the seller is unaware. It then describes conditions conducive to mold growth. It informs the buyer that a professional home inspection may not be able to determine if mold is a problem and to consult a mold testing professional. It then lets you know that the real estate agents are not experts in the field of mold and then urges the buyers to make sure they are happy with the property's condition. Initials are required by the buyers.

Part 3: Hold Harmless

This section is to protect the brokers and agents in the transaction. The buyer must decide whether or not this property is safe in terms of mold and makes that decision independent of anything the agents or brokers may have communicated.

Part 4: Receipt of Copy

This states that a copy was provided to the seller and buyer with their signatures that indicate that they have, in fact, received a copy of the mold disclosure form.

Part 5: Professional Advice

This section urges both the buyer and seller to seek professional advice if there are any questions or concerns regarding the execution of the mold disclosure form. In essence, this section is a pause or opt-out point to think it over. Then if it is okay with the parties, they sign and date the mold disclosure form.

My Personal Opinion / Editorial:

What does the Mold Disclosure protect the buyer from? Basically nothing! It is still buyer beware. The function of the mold disclosure form is to create a pause in the sometimes overly emotional process of buying and selling a home. It is a point where the buyer or seller should talk about mold as an individual topic. It is a point to step back and evaluate the deal.

The mold disclosure probably won't bring up a lot of dialogue between the seller, buyer, brokers, and agents. In 99% of the cases none of these entities is going to be a professional in the mold field. Therefore, by law, the brokers and agents can really only recommend a professional mold inspection or steer you to your own legal counsel.

The mold disclosure is just another device to try to deflect risk / blame in our overly litigious society. What do expect in a society that churns out lawyers?


Although the mold disclosure form may at least highlight the presence of mold in a property, it really won't protect anyone if the mold exists. Arm yourself with as much mold knowledge as you can and move on.

Howard Doughman                                            This article may be linked only in its full form. The author,
Former Director Environmental Services            links, and information MUST remain fully intact.
St. Francis Hospital of Evanston


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