When you rent an apartment, you have the right to know about any building factors that can put you in danger. Asbestos is a common feature of rental units that your landlord should never overlook.
Asbestos was once popular with developers due to its fire-safe, insulating properties. Siding, roofing, flooring and shingles are just a few materials that used this mineral fiber. Over time, doctors found that long-term exposure to disrupted asbestos could lead to serious lung diseases. Manufacturers stopped using asbestos around the 1980s, but many older buildings are still on the market.
Asbestos may not be a dealbreaker when finding a place to rent, but there are some important factors to keep in mind.
Your landlord’s duties
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), your landlord must notify you about any asbestos that is present in your apartment. You should be aware of the asbestos’ location, condition and how you should handle it. Your landlord should also provide regular inspection and maintenance to keep the asbestos undisturbed.
When you know your living space has asbestos, you should be careful with the thermal system insulation, furniture and other items that could disturb the mineral. You should look out for debris and dust in areas where asbestos is nearby. If you notice anything that could be a problem, you should let the asbestos project manager know.
As a tenant, you deserve safe living conditions. It is your landlord’s responsibility to repair or remove asbestos when needed. Failure to notify you about an issue, or failure to follow-up on a report, is a violation of EPA regulations.