Mold Problem in a Townhouse Crawlspace
LESLIE: Rhonda in Alaska, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
RHONDA: Hi there. Yeah, a couple of years ago, we had a moisture problem in our crawlspace. I live in a townhouse-style condo and as a result, the adjoining wall down in the crawlspace – it has drywall on it and it’s got some mold. And I’m not sure how to get rid of that.
TOM: OK. So, we’re talking about crawlspace areas in a condominium form of ownership?
TOM: Typically, that’s – you have to check your public offering statement but generally, that part of the structure is owned by the association. And therefore, the association bears a responsibility of maintaining it. In most multi-family forms of ownership, in a townhouse/condominium kind of ownership, generally, what you own is inside sheetrock to inside sheetrock.
TOM: And this is important to know because, for example, when you insure your home, you know, the insurance you purchase has to cover things like paint and kitchen cabinets and flooring, carpets, stuff like that.
TOM: But it doesn’t cover the wall or the floor structure because that’s covered by the association. So if you’ve got a mold problem in the common area – that’s called the “common area”; in other words, the area that’s common to the entire association – they are responsible for addressing it and that’s why you pay monthly maintenance fees.
RHONDA: Really? Yeah.
TOM: So make sure you know who owns what before you start messing with this.
TOM: And especially in a multi-family situation, if you’ve got mold that’s festering in a crawlspace, that can get up into the units and really affect a lot of folks. So I would first address this with the association. I would address it in writing.
TOM: Include pictures so you’re documenting it. And then ask them to have a professional take a look at it.
TOM: And by the way, by professional, I mean industrial hygienist: somebody who’s an expert in mold, not the local handyman that’s going to come down there and try to scrub it away and in the process, distribute it to the entire unit.
RHONDA: Yeah. Awesome. Thank you so much. I appreciate your help.