SHOWDOWN ON MOLD: BILL IN NYC WOULD ADDRESS PROBLEM
Councilman James Oddo, a vocal critic of the Department of Health on this score, wants to strip the city of its excuse to continue to do nothing.
In blasting the department’s laissez-faire approach to the blight, he said, “I don’t know if mold is a nuisance or mold is a legitimate health threat. I don’t know if just exacerbates allergies or has a serious impact on respiratory conditions. I don’t know. But I don’t want to take the chance. And I want a plan to mitigate these homes.”
In addition, he says the mere threat of mold taking over an empty house in a neighborhood affects nearby residents psychologically and emotionally.
His plan comes in the form of City Council legislation that would allow the Health Department to intervene in the case of blighted properties by classifying mold as a public health nuisance. The department could then order the owner, if he or she can be located, to remove it. If the homeowner fails to do so after a certain time period, Mr. Oddo’s bill proposes to empower the agency to execute the order to remove the mold.
Mr. Oddo said, “The end game is to get the Department of Health to acknowledge that this is a concern, and do something about it.”
However, he conceded, “If the Department of Health continues to have the mantra and mind-set that mold is not an issue, then the bill isn’t worth the paper that it’s written on. We need a partner in this.”