Memorandum of Opposition Regarding Requiring Licensure for Mold Abatement, Assessment and Remediation Work

INTRO NO:  978-A

SUBJECT: Requiring Licensure for Mold Abatement, Assessment and Remediation Work

SUMMARY: Requires licensing of any mold-related work performed in areas greater than 4 square feet.

SPONSORS:
Torres, Constantinides, Mendez, Richards, Treyger, Dromm, Gentile, King, Koo, Palma, Rose, Crowley, Miller, Rosenthal, Lancman, Wills, Maisel, Lander, Johnson, Menchaca, Van Bramer, Rodriguez, Levine, Kallos, Salamanca, Jr., Ferreras-Copeland, Cornegy, Jr., Barron, Koslowitz, Cohen, Levin, Grodenchik, Espinal, Jr., Reynoso, Gibson, Eugene, Vallone, Cumbo, Cabrera, Williams, Garodnick, Borelli, Ulrich, The Public Advocate (Ms. James)

The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), representing more than 17,000 owners, developers, managers and brokers of real property in New York City, appreciates the opportunity to comment on the Council’s mold licensing bill.

REBNY OPPOSES INTRO No. 978-A because it is virtually identical to recently enacted State legislation to regulate mold licensing, which is codified in Chapter 32 of NYS Labor Law.[1] The State’s licensing regime currently exempts commercial and residential property owners and/or their employees performing their own mold assessment, remediation and abatement. In contrast, Intro No. 978-A includes a considerable swath of housing by only exempting owners of buildings with one to four dwelling units, making simple repairs much more financially burdensome for small owners.

If Intro No. 978-A is enacted, it is conceivable that persons and businesses working in the mold assessment, remediation and abatement fields will be required to carry two sets of licenses – one from the State and the City – which would only add costs and regulatory burdens to these businesses and individuals. Additionally, enactment of Intro 978-A may cause confusion over which law to follow. For example, a property owner with multiple properties throughout New York State who chooses to do her own assessment, remediation, or abatement will need to obtain a City license, but not a State license to do work on her New York City properties, in addition to a separate set of State licenses for properties outside of the City. While a property owner who opts to contract with a service provider to perform such work must ensure that the service provider is licensed by both the City and State. Intro 978-A only makes it more difficult and burdensome to own and maintain property in New York City.

Moreover, Intro No 978-A does little to address the root causes of mold and may, in its endorsement of a licensing scheme, promote the notion that mold can be easily identified, targeted and successfully remediated. The fact is, mold is difficult to remove, and more often than not, it is a long process that can be costly for owners because mold sources can be based deep within dampened walls or ceilings that cannot be easily identified by a visual inspection.[2] As a result, the removal of moldy sheetrock or wood can result in the recurrence of mold because the source of moisture was not adequately addressed. Similarly, imposing a licensing scheme upon mold remediation professionals does not guarantee that the root cause of mold issues are addressed any better.

For these abovementioned reasons, REBNY voices its opposition to Intro No. 978-A.

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[1] It should be noted that Chapter 32 of the NYS Labor Law does not contain any provisions for deference to other licensing regimes promulgated by local law, thus, possibly indicating the NYS Legislature’s preference for the State’s licensing regime.

[2] Romano, Jay. How to Find and Eliminate Mold. The New York Times. October 2, 2005. Web. Accessed May 1, 2017. <http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/02/realestate/how-to-find-and-eliminate-mold.html>