In today’s volatile and uncertain real estate market, many Florida families who would otherwise purchase a home are now turning to renting homes, condos, and apartments. For many, renting provides them the opportunity to rebound from their own dad real estate experience and for others it’s an opportunity to move into a property when the market is uncertain and financing may not be readily available.
It’s important for potential tenants to do their homework with regards to potential indoor environmental concerns at a property they are considering renting. This may include talking with the landlord, researching the building’s prior use and hiring an IEP Indoor Environmental Professional to perform an Indoor Environmental Assessment.
If you are in the market for a new rental home ask questions. Landlords are bound to deal truthfully when discussing the property and any past issues. Ask the Landlord about issues dealing with past leaks, flooding events, mold, sewage contamination, asbestos, lead, radon and vapor intrusion issues.
These questions and answers are all part of the IEP’s interview and will be a part of the written report you will receive if you decide to hire an IEP. If you decide that you are ready to hire an IEP there are questions that you should ask to ensure you are receiving the best possible assessment of your family’s new home.
A professionally prepared Indoor Environmental or Indoor Air Quality Report should clearly answer the following questions:
- Is there an Indoor Environmental or Indoor Air Quality Concern in your home?
- What is the cause?
- Where is the source?
- What containment and cleaning is needed?
- What home repairs are needed to prevent future problems?
If you suspect that there is an indoor air problem in the home or office involving any unknown Allergens, Asthma Triggers, or Mold, in addition to the visual assessment of your home you may also need to know the following:
- Is Indoor Environmental Sampling Necessary?
- If Sampling is necessary why?
- Where? And
- Which Type of Sampling is recommended?
The Visual Inspection should provide a Sampling Plan specific to the findings in your home or office so you can then determine;
- If there is a mold, allergen, asthma trigger, or similar environmental problem in the home or office?
- If there is a problem, where is it and how big is it?
- What does the lab work indicate about the level of risk to occupants or workers?
- Are we looking at a “cosmetic-only” concern?
- What is the extent of remediation or cleaning necessary, and
- based on the lab results, what is the level of containment and care needed?
- What needs to be changed or repaired on the home or office so that problems don’t recur? And
- after the cleanup has been completed, was it proper and complete?
A professionally prepared Indoor Environmental Assessment should also an education on the 7 Seven Principles of Healthy Homes
Dry: Damp houses provide a nurturing environment for mites, roaches, rodents, and molds, all of which are associated with asthma.
Clean: Clean homes help reduce pest infestations and exposure to contaminants.
Pest-Free: Recent studies show a causal relationship between exposure to mice and cockroaches and asthma episodes in children; yet inappropriate treatment for pest infestations can exacerbate health problems, since pesticide residues in homes pose risks for neurological damage and cancer.
Safe: The majority of injuries among children occur in the home. Falls are the most frequent cause of residential injuries to children, followed by injuries from objects in the home, burns, and poisonings.
Contaminant-Free: Chemical exposures include lead, radon, pesticides, volatile organic compounds, and environmental tobacco smoke. Exposures to asbestos particles, radon gas, carbon monoxide, and second-hand tobacco smoke are far higher indoors than outside.
Ventilated: Studies show that increasing the fresh air supply in a home improves respiratory health.
Maintained: Poorly-maintained homes are at risk for moisture and pest problems. Deteriorated lead-based paint in older housing is the primary cause of lead poisoning, which affects some 240,000 U.S. children.
• John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
• Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
• Microshield Environmental Services, LLC