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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For more information, call 311 or visit nyc.gov.
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