When living in a rental property, you often have to be mindful of your personal space. Issues such as plumbing repairs, pest control and renovations are the landlord's responsibility, but you also have to be involved during the process. The same concept applies to asbestos. If you live in an old apartment block (built prior to the 1970s), you may be at risk of asbestos exposure.
You may be suspecting asbestos presence if you frequently have allergic reactions, breathing complications, dry coughs or chest pains. In such cases, taking immediate action is critical. Being exposed to asbestos can significantly affect your health in the long run.
Property owners are not always forthcoming about asbestos risks
Property owners have the responsibility of notifying their tenants of any potential asbestos risks. They're also required to take the necessary safety steps that will limit asbestos exposure. Unfortunately, not all landlords take these requirements seriously. Some choose to take shortcuts with the aim of maximising profits (and affecting your long-term health). Therefore, you should take a proactive approach towards protecting yourself from asbestos exposure.
What you can do to protect yourself
1. Raise the issue with your landlord (and other tenants)
If you suspect asbestos presence in your apartment, raise the issue with your landlord immediately. Asbestos presence is an emergency, especially if the material is present in a friable form.
You may be exposed to friable asbestos from any of the following parts of the home:
- Damaged roofing materials
- Damaged window putty
- Cracks and breaks in your wall/floors
- Damaged insulation
Your landlord should arrange for an asbestos inspection to be carried out as soon as possible. You should also consult other tenants and inform them of the risks that they face. Collective action will exert more pressure on the property owner to act.
2. Be involved in the removal process
Once samples are tested and asbestos is found, you should be actively involved in the removal process. If you're still planning to stay in the home moving forward, you should be fully aware of how asbestos containing materials will be removed, who will do the work and how safe you'll be in the home moving forward. Furthermore, all inspection reports should be available to you upon request.
3. Don't hesitate to take legal action
If your landlord is being complacent regarding the asbestos risk, don't hesitate to take legal action. Work with other tenants to inform local authorities of the unsafe environment that you're being exposed to. Legal action will also protect you in case you develop serious health complications in the future. To learn more, contact your local asbestos disposal service today.