Property managers of condominiums and apartment buildings in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) could be at risk of being sued because of existing mould or improper mould removal.
Not only are property managers at risk of being sued, but so are building owners, real estate brokers, sellers of buildings and building designers, including architects and engineers. If a tenant or resident is complaining about mould in their unit but the property manager cannot see or smell it, they should still look into professional mould testing.
Over the years, floods from the units above are common, leading to mould growth that goes unseen behind the walls (or unseen mould under carpeting, behind upholstery, drains, doors, wallpaper, draperies, paint, insulation and ceiling tiles). If a burst pipe or flood does happen, the area should be allowed to dry fully for at least 48 hours and monitored carefully from then on.
The majority of Toronto apartment buildings (there’s almost 2,000 of them) were built in the 1960s and 1970s – even earlier – and do not have functioning bathroom fans to remove excess humidity and prevent mould growth or have updated HVAC systems that increase ventilation throughout the building and in units – a lack of ventilation is a prime factor in mould growth.
Mould litigation is a booming industry in both Canada and the United States, and growing every year. For example, one insurance company in the United States reported just 12 toxic mould-related claims in 1999, 499 cases in 2000 and 10,000 in 2001. In 2000 alone, the Government of Ontario gave schools $40 million to clean up mould contamination, while each province has seen their fair share of claims grow every year since.
One 2001 lawsuit reached the $1 million mark for punitive damages at the Supreme Court of Canada. Having your superintendent go into the unit and spackle over the mould will not do – the mould must be contained and removed and the reasons for mould growth, such as excess moisture or water damage, must be fixed.
How can you prevent costly litigation as a building owner or property manager? By undergoing periodic mould inspections and proper, professional mould removal if it discovered to exist.
Should you suspect the presence of mould in your home or apartment, Contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca – Toronto’s mould removal company – at (416) 818-9414. We can help.
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