Beware of Mold New York State Mold Law Takes Effect

Beware of Mold

If you own, manage or maintain any New York State private or public property that has had a moisture intrusion event, mold growth, resident/occupant complaint, or a due diligence request you need to know if this law applies to you.  On January 1, 2016, New York State’s mold law went into effect.  

According to the law, "mold" means any indoor multi-cellular fungi growth capable of creating toxins that can cause pulmonary, respiratory, neurological or other major illnesses after minimal exposure.  Consequently, a lot of events may fall into the “mold” assessment and remediation regulated definition, so it’s best to be prepared. 

Training is Essential

The new Mold Program, under the direction of the New York State Department of Labor, which is responsible for enforcing Article 32 of the New York State Labor Law, establishes licensing requirements and minimum work standards for professionals engaged in mold assessment and remediation. There are three main components to the new law:

Training: The Mold Program will protect consumers by requiring contractors to obtain appropriate training prior to being licensed to perform mold assessment, remediation or abatement services.

Licensing: Contractors will not be allowed to advertise or perform covered work without the required license, with limited exceptions such as home or business owners performing work on their own properties.

Minimum Work Standards: The Mold Program also establishes new minimum work standards for mold assessments and remediation activities by licensed professionals, including:

• Protection against fraud by prohibiting the performance of both the assessment and remediation on the same property by the same individual;

• Protection against fraud by requiring an independent mold assessment to define the scope of the remediation work;

• Identification of disinfectant products, consistent with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards;

• Provision of personal protection equipment to employees, as necessary;

• Posted notice of the project and the contractor's licenses; and

• Completion of a post-remediation assessment.

Mold remediators need proper training. Per this law, it shall be unlawful for any contractor, tradesman, consultant, home inspector, or other to engage in mold assessment, evaluation, remediation, or abatement on a project, or to advertise or hold themselves out as a mold contractor or assessor in the State of New York, unless minimum requirements are met and none of the below exemptions apply.  

Minimum requirements include that: the mold remediator must be eighteen years of age or older; must have satisfactorily completed the New York State Department of Labor approved course work, including training on the appropriate use and care of personal protection equipment; must have paid appropriate state license fees; and, must have submitted insurance certificates evidencing workers compensation coverage, if required, and liability insurance of at least fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) minimum.

Notable Exemptions

However, there are some exemptions from these licensure requirements for mold remediation if you own your own property. The following persons will not be required to obtain a license in order to perform mold assessment or remediation:

1. A residential property owner who performs mold assessment, remediation, or abatement on his or her own property.

2. A non-residential property owner or the employee of such owner who performs mold assessment, remediation, or abatement on an apartment building owned by that person that has not more than four dwelling units.

3. An owner, managing agent, or full-time employee of an owner or managing agent who performs mold assessment or remediation or abatement on commercial property or a residential apartment building of more than four dwelling units owned by the owner.  However, the exemption shall not apply if the managing agent or employee engages in the business of performing mold assessment or remediation for the public.

4. A federal, state or local governmental unit or public authority and employees thereof that perform mold assessment, remediation, or abatement on any property owned. 

Even if you might be exempt, keep in mind a state-regulated “Standard of Care” now exists where one can be held accountable to comply. So exempt or not,  it might still be a good idea to obtain the basic training so at a minimum you and your senior building staff are familiar with what others can question and will be advised by the state and other licensed mold practitioners.  Are we better to know or not to know is the common question? My recommendation if you meet one of the exemptions is not to send your staff to become familiar with the New York State Mold law but instead yourself or your senior staff to assess and make good informed decisions on how best to manage the “mold” issue into the future.  

A mold remediation license holder who performs mold remediation is required to prepare a work plan providing instructions for the remediation and shall provide the work plan to the client before the mold remediation begins.  The law further holds that if compensation is involved, no licensee shall perform both the mold assessment and the mold remediation on the same property.

When the Project Begins

Minimum work standards for the conduct of mold assessments and remediation by licensed persons will include: 

• A mold remediation licensee shall prepare a mold remediation work plan that is specific to each project.

• Fulfill all the requirements of the mold remediation plan developed by the mold assessment licensee as provided to the client.

• Provide specific instructions and/or standard operating procedures for how a mold remediation project will be performed.

• The mold remediation license holder shall maintain a copy of the work plan at the job site at all times.

• Signs advising that a mold remediation project is in progress shall be displayed at all accessible entrances to remediation areas.

• Post-remediation assessment and clearance shall be performed. 

Historically post-remediation assessment or clearance as it may be referred to in the Mold abatement industry, would have been some form of comparative “air sampling”, inside air vs. outside baseline air.  What the environmental professional community has long been aware of and now in New York State mold law they have given the freedom to NOT specify or require post remediation or clearance assessments to be based on a very subject and easily biased form of air sampling but instead, the Mold Assessor, can and in many cases should specify for post remediation/clearance a “visual” assessment, coupled with a “dryness” standard comparison with documentation. A much more accurate and health-based standard that is substantially more achievable.      

So at the very least, you need to become familiar with the law now (Find out about FREE NYS Mold Compliance Training at for your staff). You should affiliate with a New York State licensed mold assessor and/or remediator before you need one.

For more information about the law, go to the New York State Department of Labor Website, You may also email or call LEW Corporation today (, 800-783-0567), if you would like a FREE complimentary copy of the Institute of Real Estate Managers (IREM) Key Report: MOLD What Every Professional Real Estate Manager Needs to Know (Lee E Wasserman, 2004) as well as, a FREE consultation. There is also a free worker training course. 

Lee E. Wasserman is president and CEO of LEW Corporation, an environmental, consulting, remediation and training company, headquartered in New Jersey, with satellite offices in the Northeast, Southeast and throughout the country.

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  • my coop apt board directors / president had refused to water mitigate and mold remediate after repeated floodings into my apt since sewage has been pouring into my apt from 2003,repeated mold testing showed toxic black molds 4 times.the coop board lawyer employed by them ( levin and glasser law officer-lawyer ginsberg keep saying in court that there is NO molds despite of the fact that the coop board says otherwise-heavy growth . anything else, i can do ? awaiting a court decision.
  • I think your SOP for mold remediation are terrific and projects everywhere should follow suit. Customers will need to pay more for the project but pre and post testing should be completed on every project when it comes to indoor air quality. I wish landlords with rentals would be required to provide a safe and habitable structure. I get so many calls about renters that are living with indoor contamination and the landlord is not doing anything about it and tells the renters to just move out. Also what about these foreclosed homes with major contamination that individuals are purchasing and painting over the mold and re-selling. How do the banks get away with selling a contaminated property in an as in condition. Something needs to be done about these issues.
  • I live in a coop where in our Building #1, water has been coming in for 5 years, but this last storm almost a month ago, was the worst. 4 people in this building are having breathing problems. The BOD saw MOLD yesterday and said they don’t need to have someone come in to test,, because they know it’s there. I thought there was a law on the books that says they need to call in a licensed person to verify their findings? This has been going on with everyone passing the buck forever. They tell me it’s being worked on - I have to be patient. The local Suffolk County Health Dept. tells me there is no one that regulates mold. How can that be? People are getting sick here. Our doctors are telling us to wear a mask if we need to go downstairs. If the mold is in the ceiling, isn’t under my first floor coop? I am more than frustrated with the “system” and hoping someone can help rectify this. They also have told us to use our own insurance for this, because they have a $25,000 deductible. Our goods in the basement are pretty much ruined - with smell, mold and water being the culprits. HELP. HELP. HELP.
  • Please see my last posting here. It is now going on almost a month since that bad rain and still the mold grows and no one is doing anything about it. How can someone NOT be responsible for the over seeing of mold building in a coop? There has to be something we as coop owners can do to alleviate this problem and someone out there has to have an answer. Our BOD and management company keeps saying they are “working on it” and yet NOTHING has changed in the smelly, moldy basement under my residence. There is also water under the elevator in this same building. How is the building department allowing this to take place in the Town of Smithtown?
  • I have received high results on an ERMI test and a certified mold investigator has completed their work and identified two hidden areas in my apt (6 unit walk up) under the kitchen sink cabinets and in the ceiling between floors of my bathroom and upstairs bathroom. My landlord wants to remediate himself and has an asbestos certification and states he will follow protocol for that and secure the area, use anti fungal paint, replace the entire ceiling, and ensure will be not future issues. I have health issues and am skeptic. Do nyc landlords (im in brooklyn) HAVE to hire a certified mold remediator? or they can do work themselves? so grateful for any info!
  • I have a similar problem, and have looked up laws online: Article 32 of the New York State Labor Law. There it is spelled out that landlords of buildings over a certain number of units have to use licensed mold assessors followed by licensed mold remediators. Furthermore, in NYC the Housing Preservation and Development (also with online website) can be reached by dialing 311 and making a complaint. After 30 days if not remediated, you call again.
  • My building has 3 apartments, I’m on the first floor and there is a door to the basement in my apartment. The pipes that run under the floors and the steam heating system all leaked due to a corroded pipe. The floors were so warped and wet that the bathroom tiles all have come up and the floors feel soft under the vinyl floor that covers them. My landlord has had the pipe “fixed” but due to all the water damage I’m Concerned that there could be a mold problem especially because no other repairs have been done. There is also a very bad smell that comes from the basement, I taped off the gaps around the door to stop it from coming in. Do I have the right to demand a mold /air quality test? I’m very concerned.