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Hiring a Contractor to Help Clean Up Mold

If your home has a lot of flood or mold damage, consider hiring a licensed contractor to help with cleanup and repair work.

What You Should Know

A good contractor should:

  • have experience cleaning up mold and preventing the spread of dust
  • have insurance that covers mold cleanup
  • inspect the area before giving you a written estimate
  • remove moldy building materials (such as sheetrock)
  • never use fungicides to clean up mold
What You Should Do
  • Interview contractors. Ask:
    • how long have they been in business and at what address
    • if they work alone or subcontract
    • how you can reach them in an emergency
    • if they are working on other jobs at the same time
    • if they have experience cleaning up mold or flood-affected buildings
    • for references, including past customers
  • Get estimates from more than one contractor. The estimates should include:
    • a detailed work plan, including how they will remove mold, dispose of moldy materials and clean up, and which products they use
    • methods for separating work areas from the rest of the home to prevent the spread of dust.
    • an agreement that final payment is due when work is completed successfully
    • an inspection to make sure there is no visible mold or sewage, odors, and all areas are clean and dry.
  • Make sure the contract clearly describes all work and includes a project plan with start and end dates.
  • Under New York City law:
    • you can cancel any contract within three days of signing, including contracts for home repair and improvements. Always check the cancellation notice.

• Understand your payment options:

    • never pay for repairs or cleaning without a contract that includes cost
    • never pay in cash
    • never make a down payment of more than 25% of the total amount, which should not be more than $15,000
    • pay in installments, with each payment tied to the completion of a specific task in the contract
    • file a complaint with the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs if the contractor offers you a home improvement loan
      • Contact your bank or credit union for information about home improvement loans.
  • When the contractor finishes the job, make sure:
    • the area is dry, clean and free of mold, debris and odors
    • the contractor removed all debris, dust, moldy materials and sewage
    • the contractor followed the service plan and kept you posted of any changes.
  • Don’t start rebuilding until all materials, such as wood studs, joists and sheathing, are completely dry. Even a little moisture behind walls could lead to new mold growth.

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