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Landlord responsibilities in regards to asbestos..

Burien, WA |

I am a duplex owner (I do not live in the two units) and my tenant is claiming she is becoming sick from the asbestos in the popcorn ceiling. I am do not know if the popcorn ceiling contains asbestos, but I do know that the ceiling is in good condition. We inspect often to check for this and other issues and there is no damage to the ceiling. She wants it professionally tested. Is this something I should do, or will it open me up to all sorts of problems if I do and it comes back positive? Obviously I don't want to put my tenants in any sort of danger but I also don't want to have to remove all the popcorn. And if I do have it tested, and it does contain asbestos, what are my options? Do I legally have to remove it?

Appreciate the advice...

Worried Landlord

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Attorney answers 1


Let's start with the have it tested or not question. You don't say how old the building is, nor how long you have owned it. It is true that asbestos was used in popcorn ceilings years and years ago. You are correct that if undisturbed, it *probably* isn't an issue. When you bought the property, did the seller use Form 17 to disclose issues they were aware of in the properyty? Yes or no, take a look at your insurance policy. Does your policy address asbestos claims? Did the underwriter know there were popcorn ceilings when the policy was written?

Before you go testing or ripping out the popcorn, what might be your best use of time and energy would be to find and hire a remdiation contractor. MedTox in Auburn *may* do this sort of work, but if they do not, they will know who does. The remediation contractor - who must be licensed and bonded - can advise you as to the correct steps to deal with your tenant's concerns. I can't say whether you have to remove it or not, because that'd be something an asbestos expert can advise you about.

I know this isn't exactly what you were hoping to hear, but I think it is a reasonably prudent course of action. Elizabeth Powell

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Thank you for the help. I have another question, but its quite long so I will create a new question.

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