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“Mould” is a term used to describe a large group of microorganisms (including mushrooms, toadstools and yeast) making up the Fungi Kingdom in biology. Over 270 species of mould have been discovered to exist in Canadian homes.

Where moisture, heat and a source of nutrients co-exist, moulds grow and reproduce rapidly. Sources of moisture in homes and buildings can be flooding, roof or plumbing leaks, sealed buildings that prevent excess moisture from escaping, cooking facilities, showers and excess humidity. Nutrient sources for mould include wood and cardboard. Mould usually looks like a pattern of black, green or grey spotty circular growth or masses of fine white fluffy growth. It can be found growing on wood, drywall, insulation, upholstery, fabric, paint, wallpaper, drapery, drains, ceiling tiles and carpeting/underpadding.

When mould is disturbed by air movement or handling, spores and mycelia are released into the air and pose health risks when inhaled or come into contact with skin. Specifically, mould has inflammatory properties and contains allergens and toxic chemicals. The effect can be weakening of the immune system and allergic and respiratory problems. Furthermore, mould can cause damage to materials and structure in homes and buildings, including staining, discolouration and wood rot.

With all of this said, grow operation houses (“grow-ops”) are an increasing concern for potential home buyers. The high humidity can lead to warped wood on staircases, handrails, floor finishes, roof joists and wood studs in walls. They can also lead to electrical damage, fire damage and air quality issues.

Once police have detected grow operations and shut them down, some owners or purchasers simply conceal water and mould damage, then dishonestly list the property for sale or rent. Purchasers should, therefore, ensure that the agreement of purchase and sale expressly entitles them to the right to conduct an inspection and demand the vendor fix deficiencies, in the absence of which they can cancel the transaction.

If you wish to have assistance with preparing your purchase agreement to contemplate deficiencies such as mould, or enforcing your right to have it fixed, please contact Andrea Kelly. Andrea can also provide a referral to a trade professional to fix such a deficiency.

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