Dear Urban Diplomat: do we have to disclose our black-mould discovery?

Dear Urban Diplomat: do we have to disclose our black-mould discovery?

urban-diplomat-fungus-among-us (Image: David Goehring/Flickr)
 

Dear Urban Diplomat,

My wife and I blew our budget on a detached home and during a minor reno found black mould in the basement, which looks like it was patched over by the previous owners. We suspect it runs up the wall and into the kitchen. After some hemming and hawing, we’ve decided to sell and downsize to a semi, which makes more sense for us financially. Our question: are we legally, ethically or otherwise obligated to tell our agent and prospective buyers about the mould, or can we just pretend we never noticed?

—Fungus Among Us, Riverdale

Huffing black mould can cause sinus congestion, infection and in certain cases asthma, so no, ethically it’s not okay to screw it forward, though the fact that you’d consider it suggests some degree of ethical deficiency on your part. Legally it’s not a good idea either. If you offload your fungal abode, the next buyers could sue. Would they win? Maybe not, but lawsuits can be bank-breaking, win or lose. That said, if there’s slam-dunk evidence that the last owners were aware of the mould, you may be able to sue them for a little cleanup cash.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com