The 2001 Toxic Mold Protection Act (PDF; SB 732, Ortiz) directed the California Department of Health Services (now Department of Public Health or CDPH) to determine the feasibility of establishing health-based permissible exposure limits (PELS) for indoor mold. If that were possible, the CDPH was also directed to create programs to develop guidelines for mold assessment, clean-up, and disclosure in residences. However, CDPH responded in 2005 (“Report to the California Legislature on Implementation of the Toxic Mold Protection Act of 2001” PDF) that available evidence did not support the establishment of science-based PELs for indoor molds at that time. This view remains the CDPH position to date. Nevertheless, CDPH also stated that it “agrees with other building and health professionals that indoor dampness, water intrusion, or fungal growth should always be eliminated in a safe and efficient manner.” This advice was expanded in the CDPH Statement on Indoor Dampness and Mold (PDF; revised 2016), based on the increased availability scientific information.

Dampness in your home living spaces has long been listed as a condition making a home substandard to a code inspector.  As of January 1, 2016, mold is also a condition that makes a home substandard in California. The owner of a rental property cited as substandard by a local (city or county) code inspector is required to repair the substandard condition. Below are the parts of the California Residential Building Codethat refer to dampness and mold.

Any building or portion thereof including any dwelling unit, guestroom or suite of rooms, or the premises on which the same is located, in which there exists any of the following listed conditions to an extent that endangers the life, limb, health, property, safety, or welfare of the public or the occupants thereof shall be deemed and hereby is declared to be a substandard building:

(11) Dampness of habitable rooms.

(13) Visible mold growth, as determined by a health officer or a code enforcement officer, as defined in Section 829.5 of the Penal Code, excluding the presence of mold that is minor and found on surfaces that can accumulate moisture as part of their properly functioning and intended use.