Michigan Laws Related to Mold

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www.123ConEd.comAre there laws in the State of Michigan related to mold issues?

It might seem surprising, but the State of Michigan does not have laws that require anyone to cleanup, remove, or report mold in any indoor environment.  Also, the State of Michigan does not have a program to address issues related to mold, other than to provide people basic information about mold clean-up.  Moreover, the State of Michigan does not certify or license contractors for mold removal.

Since 2002, the Michigan legislature has introduced six separate Bills regarding toxic mold and its disclosure in real estate transactions. Those Bills include:

  • House Bill 4182 of 2005: This Bill, entitled “Revised Judicature Act of 1961, was introduced and referred to the Committee on Judiciary on February 3, 2005. It stated that any “person who knowingly rents, leases, or sells improved real property that contains lead-based paint, toxic mold, or asbestosis without disclosing its presence is liable in a civil action” for “3 times the amount of damages sustained by the plaintiff as well as costs and fees associated” with the lawsuit. Thus, this Bill was an attempt to impose punitive damages on sellers who failed to disclose, among other things, toxic mold.
  • House Bill 5422 of 2004: This Bill, entitled “Revised Judicature Act of 1961, is similar to House Bill 4182 of 2005, and was introduced and referred to the Committee on Judiciary on January 22, 2004. It stated that any “person who knowingly rents, leases, or sells improved real property that contains lead-based paint, toxic mold, or asbestosis without disclosing its presence is liable in a civil action” for “3 times the amount of damages sustained by the plaintiff as well as costs and fees associated” with the lawsuit. Thus, this Bill was a prior attempt to impose punitive damages on sellers who failed to disclose, among other things, toxic mold.
  • Senate Bill 88 of 2003: This Bill, entitled “Seller Disclosure Act,” was introduced on January 28, 2003, and referred to the Committee on Economic Development, Small Business and Regulatory Reform on May 20, 2003. It would have added a new paragraph to the current Seller’s Disclosure Statement that read: “11. TOXIC MOLD: Are you aware of any toxic mold on the property? If yes, please explain.” Thus, it would have specifically required a seller to disclose toxic mold. This Bill is similar to House Bill 6177 of 2002 below.
  • Senate Bill 172 of 2003: This Bill was introduced and referred to the Committee on Economic Development, Small Business, and Regulatory Reform on February 11, 2003. It proposed to create a new law known as the “toxic mold disclosure act” that would have applied to “the transfer of any interest in real estate, whether by sale, exchange, installment land contract, least with an option to purchase, any other option to purchase, or ground lease coupled with proposed improvements by the purchaser or tenant, or a transfer of stock or an interest in a residential cooperative.” The Bill included a two page “TOXIC MOLD DISCLOSURE STATEMENT” that would have been used by a seller to disclose toxic mold. This Bill is similar to House Bill 6179 of 2002 below.
  • House Bill 6177 of 2002: This Bill, entitled “Seller Disclosure Act,” was introduced and referred to the Committee on Commerce on June 5, 2002. It would have added a new paragraph to the current Seller’s Disclosure Statement that read: “11. TOXIC MOLD: Are you aware of any toxic mold on the property? If yes, please explain.” Thus, it would have specifically required a seller to disclose toxic mold.
  • House Bill 6179 of 2002: This Bill was intended “to require certain disclosures by sellers of real property” and was introduced and referred to the Committee on Commerce on June 5, 2002. It proposed to create a new law known as the “toxic mold disclosure act” that would apply to “the transfer of any interest in real estate, whether by sale, exchange, installment land contract, least with an option to purchase, any other option to purchase, or ground lease coupled with proposed improvements by the purchaser or tenant, or a transfer of stock or an interest in a residential cooperative.” The Bill included a two page “TOXIC MOLD DISCLOSURE STATEMENT” that would have been used by a seller to disclose toxic mold.

To date, none of the above Bills have made it through any of their respective committees, and none has become law.

However, laws do exist that cover certain situations that involve indoor mold.  The following is a list government agencies that may be able to provide guidance if your house or apartment has indoor mold.

Landlord and tenant relationships: If a tenant is renting an apartment or house, that person has the right to expect certain minimum standards referred to as "warranties of habitability" that provide minimum standards of decent, safe, sanitary housing specified in the state or local housing code.  For more information on landlord-tenant relationships go to: http://www.tenant.net/Other_Areas/Michigan/index.html.

Fraud in mold remediation companies: If you believe you are a victim of fraudulent business practices from a company involved in mold remediation, contact:  Michigan Attorney General's Office, Michigan Consumer Protection Division, P.O. Box 30213-7713, Lansing, MI 48909, (517) 373-1140

Legal issues related to new home construction and mold:  If you have questions about laws regarding new housing construction and contractors actions related to mold, contact:  Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth, Bureau of Commercial Services/Enforcement Division, P.O. Box 30018, Lansing MI 48909, (517) 241-9202

For more information on mold:

Seller Disclosure Statement May Apply to Mold

Michigan’s Seller Disclosure Act (Act 92 of 1993) requires sellers of residential property to provide a Seller Disclosure Statement to buyers. MCL 565.951, et seq. Among other things, the disclosure statement includes a provision entitled “Environmental Problems,” which may require the disclosure of mold or mold related issues, depending on the facts and situation. Specifically, that provision states:

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Although “mold” is not specifically listed above as an “environmental hazard,” depending on the facts and circumstances, its disclosure may still be warranted. Indeed, a careful reading of the question demonstrates that the environmental hazards listed within it are merely examples. Stated another way, use of language like “such as,” and “but not limited to” leave the door open for mold to be considered an environmental problem or hazard. Bottom line, if the seller (and/or his agent) is aware of mold, and the nature and extent of that mold rises to the level of it being an environmental hazard, then he or she must disclose it. Not disclosing it under that circumstance could expose the seller and the agent/broker to liability.

Most sellers will not know if they have mold problems, so it is important that real estate professionals encourage their buyers to thoroughly inspect a home prior to closing. By inspecting early, there is time to negotiate any corrections. Buyers should hire a professional to check for mold growth in the following areas:

  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Humidifiers
  • Vents
  • Duct lining
  • Insulation
  • Exhaust fans vented to outdoors
  • Attic
  • Basement
  • Crawlspaces
  • Downspouts routing water away from the house

Although not required by Michigan law, some agents are using a separate mold disclosure disclaimer form, which is signed by the seller and buyer. A mold disclosure form can be obtained from the National Association of Realtors and from many local boards.

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