Schmitt Mulhern, LLC

Asbestos: Responsibilities landlords and tenants have

Although the rate of asbestos-filled residences has declined over the last few decades, many people still suffer from its presence. According to Asbestos Nation, anywhere between 12,000 and 15,000 die as a result of asbestos exposure in the United States every year. 

Asbestos can lead to a number of health problems, including lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. Anyone who owns a rental property needs to take care of any instances of asbestos before renting out to tenants. There are steps both landlords and tenants can take to ensure the house or apartment remains habitable.

Steps for landlords to take

Landlords should avoid renting out properties that have asbestos. However, the law may not necessarily require landlords to remove it right away. Asbestos is only problematic if it enters the air. This can happen if insulation containing asbestos begins to degrade. However, landlords need to tell potential or current tenants about the presence of asbestos because this may influence people's decisions about whether to live at the residence. Although it may not be essential by law for landlords to remove asbestos, they should still take action anyway. They do not want to be liable for any illnesses that potentially develop in tenants.

Steps for tenants to take

If tenants believe asbestos is present at a residence, then they should inform the landlord. It is the landlord's responsibility to ensure the place is habitable, so it is up to him or her to pay for an asbestos test. In the event professionals locate asbestos, the tenants can threaten to withhold a portion of rent until the landlord remedies the situation. Tenants can continue living in the apartment, but if they decide to live there once everyone is aware of the presence of asbestos, then the landlord is no longer liable. The tenants assume the risk at that point because the presence of the materials is now known. 

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Ben Schmitt

Attorney Ben Schmitt

Mr. Schmitt has over 25 years of legal experience in Missouri and Kansas, and he has been first chair in over 100 jury trials in state and federal courts. He is recognized by the Kansas City Business Journal, Super Lawyers, Avvo.com and Martindale Hubbell as one of the best personal injury lawyers in Missouri and Kansas.

Matt Mulhern

Attorney Matt Mulhern

Mr. Mulhern has over 25 years of legal experience and a 100 percent success rate arguing before the Missouri Court of Appeals. He has a unique knowledge of the inner workings of insurance companies and how they will dispute your injury claim. He practices in both Missouri and Kansas.