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Asbestos Disclosure
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Asbestos and Realtors

Asbestos Disclosure Laws

There are disclosure laws in every state pertaining to certain disclosures that must be made by the seller upon transfer of a dwelling property (e.g. radon, lead-based paint, asbestos). Several states have enacted more specific laws than the others.

Check with your local state authority regarding the requirements for asbestos disclosure.

In many states, the seller is required by law to disclose whether there’s hazardous material present on the property, and some in particular mention asbestos as a concern. When you are making a transaction between the buyer and the seller as a real estate agent, it helps to know what requirements are there regarding disclosure of asbestos containing material on the property.

First of all, there are disclosure laws in every state pertaining to certain disclosures that must be made by the seller upon transfer of a dwelling property (e.g. radon, lead-based paint, asbestos). Several states have enacted more specific laws pertaining to individual contaminants.

The State of New York recently submitted a bill to amend the public housing law, the public health law and the real property law in relation to the remediation and prevention of indoor mold. This law would add questions pertaining to and requiring the disclosure of the existence of or potential for indoor mold at the property prior to sale, This will not necessarily pertain to dwellings alone.

New Jersey State is the first state to promulgate a transfer law, the Environmental Cleanup and Responsibility Act (ECRA) in 1983. Ten years later the law was renamed the Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA). The impetus for this law was recognition by the state and by the public that contamination dating back to the time of early industrialization existed in, on and under much of the property in the state.

In Indiana, any transferor of real property must fill out a lengthy and statutory environmental disclosure statement and provide it to any potential buyer not less than thirty days prior to transfer. Failure to do so allows the buyer (or other transferee) to avoid any obligation to act upon its offer to purchase the property. This allows the buyer to evaluate the condition of the property ahead of time and negotiate whatever terms and conditions with the seller that will make the purchase acceptable to the buyer.

Louisiana’s law is similar to that of Indiana. It provides a statutory form that contains environmental status and liability questions. The seller is required to provide this form to the buyer prior to transfer, and the buyer may elect to void its obligation to purchase if a deal cannot be struck.

In the State of Washington, where Seattle Asbestos Test has its headquarters, there are clear laws requiring disclosure of asbestos in real estate transaction.

In Chapter 64.06 RCW RESIDENTIAL REAL PROPERTY TRANSFERS SELLER'S DISCLOSURES it requires the seller to disclose whether there are any substances, materials, or products that may be an environmental hazard such as, but not limited to, asbestos, formaldehyde, radon gas, lead-based paint, fuel or chemical storage tanks, and contaminated soil or water on the subject property.

*Note: The above paragraphs are based on the current research, and it may be updated as new laws are introduced. Check the relevant authorities for the most current asbestos requirements.

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