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What can an Arizona homeowner do about toxic mold?

The very phrase "toxic mold" may incite fear and worry for an Arizona homeowner. Mold, which may come into a home attached to a person or pet, or through an open door or window, grows where it has access to sufficient moisture. When an area does not dry fully, mold can fester and grow, leading to serious consequences. A homeowner who discovers toxic mold in his or her home may have a legal cause of action against the building contractor based on the construction contract or a negligence or strict liability theory.

Homeowners' problems with mold have increased in recent years. There is no one clear reason why this has occurred. It may be due to contractors' desires to build structures quickly, and therefore not as effectively, and during construction they may use less than optimal building materials or techniques. The increased focus on making buildings airtight may have also increased the likelihood of mold, as this may prevent a wet area from fully drying, thereby allowing mold to flourish.

Mold may not appear dangerous to the naked eye, but some molds produce what is known as volatile organic compounds or toxins. Both VOCs and toxins may seriously affect the health of some people. It is imperative that a person not wait until he or she is already experiencing the negative consequences of mold, including potential respiratory problems and flu-like symptoms, before taking action. A homeowner who discovers mold in their house should seek to eliminate it in a safe and effective manner. The homeowner may also consider seeking legal redress for any accompanying problems.

If one has made a real estate purchase and now finds themselves facing a toxic mold problem, it may be wise to promptly seek legal counsel. There are strict time limits on commencing construction litigation, and it is essential to seek guidance promptly to remain ahead of the problem.

Source: FindLaw, "Toxic Mold Overview", accessed Sept. 20, 2015

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