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Is the onus on landlord or tenant to show that a dwelling unit is asbestos and/or lead free?

San Diego, CA |

A tenant is looking for ways to get out of his lease. The tenant wanted me to put new windows in and I have replaced some of them. Tenant did not appreciate having to let work men into his dwelling space and some dust created from sanding the drywall mud, etc. required to finish the new windows. I want to get in there to replace the remaining windows, but tenant has signalled desire to get out of lease and is looking for excuses. Tenant is asking me to sign an agreement that I wont do further window replacement unless I show that the unit is lead safe and asbestos safe. Is the onus on me to do this? Or does the tenant have to show there is a threat. Regardless, aren't there asbestos containment procedures I can follow to proceed with the work yet avoid legal exposure? Many thanks

Attorney Answers 2


  1. If there is asbestos or lead on the premises, there are disclosures that you must give the tenant to execute. Consult a local landlord/tenant quickly because your exposure could be significant if you have not followed the legal requirements.

    We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I have made do not constitute legal advice. Any statements I have made are based upon the very limited facts you have presented, and under the premise that you will consult with a local attorney. This is not an attempt to solicit business. This disclaimer is in addition to any disclaimers that this website has made. I am only licensed in California.


  2. You might have a duty to make sure there is no asbestos depending on the type of work you are doing. It would probably require an in person consultation with an attorney in your area.
    But why do you want to keep this problem tenant in your unit? Why not let him out now? Do the work you want, and find a new tenant that won't give you trouble. It can't possibly be worth it. Rental properties are in high demand so you probably won't have a problem finding a new tenant.