What is mold?

Mold is a multi-cellular fungus, similar to mushrooms and yeast. Mold can be different colors, and look fuzzy, slimy, or powdery. It often has a musty odor when present in large amounts. 
Mold requires three things to grow: 
  1. water/moisture,
  2. organic food source (paper, fabric, sheetrock, etc.), and 
  3. proper temperature.
The presence of mold means there is too much moisture. Moisture problems can be caused by:
  • plumbing leaks
  • leaking roofs or windows
  • high humidity
  • flooding
  • condensation due to poor ventilation or insulation
It is impossible to 'mold proof' your house. However, you can manage mold growth by controlling indoor humidity levels and fixing water leakage problems. To prevent mold from coming back in the future, you must fix the underlying source of moisture. 

If I want to clean up mold, do I need to hire a mold professional?

No. Mold issues can often be fixed by the property owner. However, if you are sensitive to mold, not interested in cleaning up the mold or are not capable of cleaning up the mold, you can hire mold professionals. 

Does New York require a property owner to clean up mold when it is found?

No, there is no cleanup requirement for property owners. However, if a property owner chooses to hire a mold professional, those professionals must follow the requirements of the law. Note: Rental property owners must still provide clean and sanitary living conditions to their tenants.

How does the Department of Labor help with mold issues?

The Department of Labor makes sure that professionals who do mold assessments and remediation work have proper training, licenses and minimum work standards.
Every mold cleanup project performed by professionals must follow these steps: assessment, remediation (clean up), clearance. The law protects consumers by barring licensed mold companies and their employees from doing both the assessment and remediation on the same property. One mold company and their employees may do the initial and post-cleanup clearance assessments, but a different company and their employees must do the actual cleanup work.

What is a mold assessment?

An assessment, or a mold remediation plan, is a document prepared by a mold professional. It identifies mold and serves as a guide for the cleanup project. It says what must be done, how it is to be done, and how you will be able to tell if all the mold has been removed. The specific requirements are listed in Section 945 of the Labor Law.  

Am I entitled to a copy of the assessment?

Yes, if you hire a mold professional to do an assessment, you must be given a copy. The professional you hire to do the remediation work must also get a copy.

What are the main responsibilities of a Mold Assessor?

  • Have a valid Mold Assessor License from the New York State Department of Labor for the company and employees 
  • Perform the initial visual inspection and assessment of the property for mold growth. This may include the use of a moisture meter and, in rare cases, mold sampling.
  • Identify the underlying source of moisture causing the mold growth (when possible).
  • Educate the property owner on the Mold Law and mold in general.
  • Develop a Mold Remediation Plan. This plan will identify:
    • The source of the moisture causing mold growth,​
    • How to remedy the moisture issue,
    • The mold remediation methods to be used for cleanup, and
    • The criteria that must be met to consider the cleanup complete. 
  • Perform a post-remediation assessment to confirm the remediation was successful. 
  • Develop a written passed clearance report or final status report. 

Where can I find more information on mold assessment?