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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 34777
Experience:  16 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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Moving out of rental house that I've lived in 2 years and

Customer Question

Moving out of rental house that I've lived in for past 2 years and just found out from landlord that the house has asbestos. My skin
JA: OK. The Real Estate Lawyer will need to help you with this. Because laws vary from state to state, could you tell me what state is this in?
Customer: Los Angeles, CA
JA: Have you consulted a lawyer yet?
Customer: No, I never knew there was asbestos. In process of moving out since lease is up and I received voicemail from landlord saying on 6/13 he is having asbestos removed from the house. I was never told there was asbestos. Concerning since I've been the one hanging light and working in the house which means I was exposed. I never linked my recent skin irritations and last years illness to anything. But now finding out that I've been exposed to asbestos I'm concerned they may be related as I've never had health issues.
JA: Is there anything else the Real Estate Lawyer should be aware of?
Customer: No that all
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Real Estate Lawyer about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 8 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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Have you been to the doctor to have any symptoms or illnesses checked out?

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If so, did they ever indicate that it might have been exposure to asbestos?

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Did the landlord say where the asbestos was in the house?

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What is it that you would like to have happen here?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
In May 2015 mass was find in my lower abdomen and had surgery at end of 2015 and I've had such irritations on my hands face and chest. No my doctor/surgeon never asked about abestos.
No landlord did not say where t was located in the house. I live in older house in Studio City Hills and have had numerous house issues, flood, etc which makes me concerned that asbestos may have been disrupted and my skin exposed. For example I took down a chandelier a week ago and my hands broke out and it hurts to close my hands. I dismissed it as "pains of moving".
Bot***** *****ne, I believe my landlord should have disclosed to me that the house has asbestos. If I would have known that I would have never have moved into this house and lived here for 2 years.
And the only reason I now know is due to a voicemail message from landlord inquiring of final move out because on 6/13/16 he is having abestos removed. (My landlord is moving back into the house.)
Since I was not made aware of the presence of abestos and therefore was exposed or possibly exposed I feel landlord should be held responsible in some way. Not sure he landlord is required to tell me as the tenant or what if any compensation I may or may not be entitled to.
Expert:  Barrister replied 8 months ago.

Ok, thank you for that information. The problem here is that CA doesn't have a mandatory disclosure law for asbestos for landlords in residential dwellings.. There is a law, but it only applies to those "person[s] in the course of doing business." This term is later defined.

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California Health and Safety Code.

25249.6. Required Warning Before Exposure To Chemicals Known to Cause Cancer Or Reproductive Toxicity. No person in the course of doing business shall knowingly and intentionally expose any individual to a chemical known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity without first giving clear and reasonable warning to such individual, except as provided in Section 25249.10.

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25249.11. Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter:

(a) "Person" means an individual, trust, firm, joint stock company, corporation, company, partnership, limited liability company, and association.

(b) "Person in the course of doing business" does not include any person employing fewer than 10 employees in his or her business; any city, county, or district or any department or agency thereof or the state or any department or agency thereof or the federal government or any department or agency thereof; or any entity in its operation of a public water system as defined in Section 116275.

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So the disclosure requirement applies only to individuals or entities with ten or more employees who have knowledge of a source of asbestos exposure.

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The CA Dept of Consumer Affairs states that it "strongly urges landlords to disclose asbestos", but stops short of making it an actual law to do so.

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Regardless, if you were injured or suffered damages that can be related to asbestos exposure, then you could sue the landlord for damages because he intentionally allowed you to be exposed to asbestos since he knew about it well before your tenancy.

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The problem here is that if you can't prove any injuries or any prior illness was related to asbestos exposure, then you can't hold him liable for damages.

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I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...

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thanks

Barrister

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