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Real Estate and Business

Duct Cleaning Service Scams

It seems that everyone is being harassed by calls from duct cleaning services. They usually are long-distance calls, they take a second or two to answer after you pick up the phone and they usually have thick Indian accents. Most of us are wise enough to know not to fall for their ‘give me your credit card number’ goal. However, these foreign tele-marketing call centres may not be the only duct cleaning scams and some maybe closer to home than you realize.

There has been a duct cleaning service that has been chasing me for months. They must have called me, sometimes not getting through, over 60 times. I wondered how they could justify all that time and effort for the $120 work they quoted me. There has to be another motivation for them to be so persistent because that just isn’t enough money for the effort. After they pay for the marketing services, and mileage (not to mention time), probably half of that is gone. Then there is the time for them to do the actual work.

One of my thoughts was that they were trying to scope out houses to see if there was anything worth steeling.  They could then return at a later date. Meanwhile, the telemarketer just kept on calling. Then, other telemarketers started calling offering the same service. It was as though the first telemarketer recruited his buddies. More fishing lines in the water increases your chances of landing a fish, right?

But, who’s paying for all this work without any sales? Who’s behind it? I know from articles I’ve come across that the call centres get paid for every call answered regardless of a sale. Their clients in Toronto, that is if it isn’t a credit card scam and they actually have a company, must be getting enough sales to justify that extra cost. But, then again how can they make money at $120? I concluded they can’t make money, so there is definitely something else going on.

Then I came across this youtube video that explains a scam you should be aware of. I’ve also included a second video that shows you how to clean your own ducts.


Ontario Home Inspection Act 2017

The Ontario government has passed legislation to regulate the home inspection industry, which establishes qualifications for home inspectors. “The Home Inspection Act 2017” sets minimum standards for home inspection contracts, reports, disclosures and the performance of home inspections. With the new law, individuals performing home inspections must be licensed. Also, a written contract with the homeowner must be signed and a written report must be delivered after the inspection.

With bidding wars running full speed in the last few years, buyers have foregone home inspection clauses for fear of losing out on their desired home. Realtors have struggled with protecting their clients while getting them what they want amidst stiff competition. This legislation could help make things better, especially if pre-listing home-inspections are ordered by sellers and make available to potential buyers before presentation of offers.

To get a better understanding of this legislation, I spoke with Allen Spisak, a home inspector who I met in May, 2017 and who is well versed with the industry, its challenges and changes. Spisak explains what is happening in the home inspection industry in Ontario, Canada and with the implementation of the latest government legislation and regulation.

Listen to how he explains the timing and challenges with implementation the new legislation.

Non-Application of The Act

According to the Act it does not apply to everyone…”Subject to the regulations, this Act does not apply to a holder of a licence or certificate of practice under the Architects Act or a holder of a licence, limited licence, temporary licence, provisional licence or certificate of authorization under the Professional Engineers Act.”

Revoking of License

In reading through the legislation looking for consequences I came across:

“9 (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by regulation, revoke the designation of the administrative authority if the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers it advisable to do so in the public interest.”

I’m anxious to see how this will affect the home inspection reports.

Please share your comments below.

Toronto Flooding Aftermath Is A Serious Health Threat

mold on bathroom ceiling
Picture from Health Canada website

May 5, 2017 isn’t the first time Toronto has experienced flood-like rain. In the summer of 2013, heavy rains had caused creeks to flood and sewage to flow through the streets. In the aftermath, homes were found contaminated with E. Coli and toxic mold. E. Coli was found in 90-95% of the homes inspected by Frank Haverkate of SafeAir Environmental Inc., according to CBC News (Aug 2, 2013).

When sewers overflow, water damage is only the first tier of potential damage. Lingering moisture will lead to a variety of molds. However, ‘Black Toxic Mold’, often referring to the ‘stachybotrys chartarum’ variety is among the most dangerous.

What You Should Know About Black Toxic Mold

Black toxic mold appears in very wet conditions, such as flooding and consistent moisture from extended rainfalls or damp areas with low air circulation. It most often appears as greenish black in colour. It especially thrives on cellulose-rich materials, such as are often used in construction; gypsum, drywall, fibreboard, paper, and even dust and lint.

Almost type of common household mold can produce allergy or flu-like symptoms such as

  • Worsening allergies
  • Persistent coughing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Nose, throat and eye irritation

Exposure to toxic or toxigenic molds, such as Black Toxic Mold, can cause:

  • Pulmonary (lung) hemorrhaging
  • Mental and neurological symptoms
  • Memory loss
  • Respiratory symptom
  • Circulatory symptoms
  • Vision and eye problem
  • Skin problems
  • Immune system problems
  • Reproductive system problems
  • Tiredness and discomfort
  • Other illnesses and health effects

Mold can grow within 24-48 hours after dampness occurs. With the amount of rain that has hit Toronto
yesterday and today many Toronto area homes will be vulnerable.

To protect your home and family take precautions!

  1. Get rid of the moisture in your home (you can rent dryers)
  2. Keep the area well-aired and keep the air circulating
  3. Wash or get rid of couches, carpets and furniture that has thick fabric which could be hiding moisture and incubating mold spores
  4. Get your air quality tested
  5. If you find mold, call a mold removal specialist

Detailed Information On How to Identify and Clean Up Mold At Health Canada Website

July 2016 Flooding

July 2013 Flooding

May 2017 Flooding