Asbestos cannot be viewed by the naked eye. It resembles thin threads that can attach to a person’s body or clothing and on other materials. After having been identified as a carcinogen, asbestos has been used less and less in constructing homes, buildings, ships and other structures. Products that once contained asbestos are now being manufactured asbestos-free. Because exposure to asbestos can lead to life threatening illnesses, quite a number of asbestos litigation cases have been filed, tried, won and lost in the past years.
Old homes and apartment buildings have been known to use asbestos-laden materials in their construction. To find out that asbestos is present in the home or apartment you are renting can be quite problematic. You need to find out how you can protect your health as well as your rights and interests as a tenant.
Homes and apartments built prior to the 70s are somewhat expected to contain asbestos. This is a reality that many people who call these older structures “home” live with today. For as long as the landlord discloses the presence of asbestos within the structure of the building, the rights of the tenants are not violated by the mere presence of asbestos.
Not all U.S. states require rental property owners and landlords to provide possible tenants with a Asbestos Disclosure Form that states that their rental property contains asbestos or has the possibility of containing asbestos. However, even if the state law does not exactly require providing a disclosure form, rental property owners and landlords are better off if they do so even if they trust that there is no asbestos present in the premises.
Any tenant receiving a disclosure form stating even just the mere possibility of asbestos in the home or apartment should know that his rights and interests have not actually been violated. Receiving notice removes your ability to, at a future date, raise the issue of the presence of asbestos in the place you are renting. Contacting an attorney is not necessary since the possibility of asbestos litigation at this point is not present.
Asbestos Discovery During Remodeling or Renovations
If the presence of asbestos is discovered while the rental home or apartment is undergoing remodeling or renovation, then the person renting the premises may consider securing the services of an asbestos attorney. The presence of asbestos in a home or apartment building is not considered by law as dangerous in itself. It is only when the asbestos is disturbed causing particles to be released and mixed into the air that the law considers asbestos as dangerous. For instance, if the rental property owner has renovations or other work done in the premises that disturbs the asbestos, the people living in the premises can inhale the asbestos fibers.
It is possible to have a case against the rental property owner if he has some form of work done in the premises that disturbs asbestos even if he notified the renter about the existence of this carcinogen beforehand. What the rental property owner must do is to advise the renter that the work or renovation on the rental property may lead to the release of asbestos in the air. If this happens to you, then contact an asbestos attorney as soon as possible.
Asbestos litigation is a tricky matter. Since the laws in each state may differ with regards to asbestos in real estate, it is best to research on your state’s laws even before you rent or buy a property in your area – especially if the property was built between the 1940s and the 1980s.