Should I retain legal counsel before I talk with the landlord ?

By Ari

I just found asbestos wrapping the pipes in basement. It is crumbling and dusty. I sent a sample to a testing lab and it came back >70% asbestos. We don’t have forced air, and there isn’t much communication between the basement and the living area so we’re not in any immediate danger AFAIK.
I need to tell the landlord now, to get her to have it fixed.
She’s been pretty upset when other things needed to be fixed (dishwasher, refrigerator, ceiling fan) and I’m worried she’ll retaliate by raising the rent (or not renting to me when the lease is up) or keeping the security deposit (even though there’s nothing we did to the house – it was this way when we moved in).
Moreover, the pipe-insulation has been loosely wrapped with duct tape in the recent past, before we moved in. I assume someone knew it was crumbing and tried to tape it up. Whether they knew it was asbestos is another issue…

What are my legal rights and responsibilities here?
Should I retain legal counsel before I talk with the landlord?


Edited on: Friday, May 25th, 2012 3:17 am

5 Responses to “Should I retain legal counsel before I talk with the landlord ?”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


January 31st, 2009 9:23 am

Well, asbestos is not good to have within the living environment. But just because there is asbestos, it doesn’t mean that there is an immediate danger to you. Many older buildings will have asbestos within several different building materials, from shingles to insulation. Removing asbestos from the rental can be costly and difficult. EPA trained and certified companies will come in and quaranteen the area- then carefully remove the asbestos insulation or material. To have this done will be an extremely expensive process for the landlord. Removing asbestos is not a legal requirement, unless the are is going to be disturbed for renovation purposes. So, if its in place, its probably not a real hazard unless it is constantly getting bumped or touched.
I understand your concern, but I’m not aware of any legal requirement for a landlord to remove asbestos from a property. It only applies when the property is being renovated.


October 6th, 2010 3:45 pm

Yes, asbestos is dangerous! And yes, consult an attorney!


January 25th, 2011 5:21 pm

is it legal for a land lord to rent a bldg with asbestos in side the buliding all of in the building have come into contact with this stuff . it is on the inside and not covered ,, some of us have bin exposed for more than 3 years, this is a commerical building,

Rana Garrett

August 1st, 2011 9:06 pm

Hi, I’m renting a house for 6 months now, found out recently that there is asbestos all over the pipes in the basement extending from furnace. A lot of it has started peeling and shredding. Another problem is the ceiling is low so there is a risk of bumping your head which I and my daughter has done. The landlord did not mention the asbestos when he showed me the house. I do not know what it even looks like. I had a plumber over and he told me that it was asbestos. Next problem, NOBODY can give me an answer as to what is landlords responsibility with the removal/covering this. I have contacted the EPA building inspector, and local health Dept with no answer. Landlord sd he is gonna cover it up with duct tape!!!! Is this legal??? And I still have 4 months on my lease and want to move. When the heat is running that can not b safe. Please advise me.


May 29th, 2012 2:11 am

She can’t retaliate when a bad report is filed against her. If she retaliates, you can go to a lower court and file a legal case against her.


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