Tenants Fear Asbestos in Rental Properties

A family renting a run-down house in Melbourne’s west is living in fear of asbestos contamination.

The family believe there is exposed asbestos in their house and also in a shed on an adjoining property, which is in a serious state of disrepair.

After seeking, but not receiving any advice or assistance from the local council, the family contacted Jim’s Building Inspections to try and verify the presence of asbestos.

Jim’s Building Inspector, Phil Smallman, attended the property and after an initial inspection agrees that asbestos is present and has sent off a sample to a lab for testing.

“We are also very concerned about the adjoining shed on the neighbouring property. We believe the family living there, who are also probably renters, have recently arrived in Australia and may not be aware of the dangers. Our clients say they are often outside playing cricket against the shed and the ball is constantly pounding and damaging the cladding. If it is asbestos this is very dangerous.”

The tenants are currently negotiating with the renting agency to try and break the lease. They are prepared to go to VCAT if they are unsuccessful.

“Once we have the results back from the lab we hope that the landlord and rental agencies will enable the family to break the lease, or provide alternative accommodation whilst the asbestos is removed. However with the threat from the adjoining shed, and no one taking responsibility for that, our clients would prefer to move out altogether.”

In the meantime we have recommended air monitoring to provide some peace of mind,” Phil said.

“We will also help with documentation to assist in formally notifying the neighbouring occupants, the owners of the neighbouring property and the local council.”

Phil said whilst this goes above and beyond what Jim’s Building Inspections is required to do, he feels that someone needs to take responsibility.

“This family is living in fear. Their daughter is pregnant and will not visit her mother anymore as she fears for the health of her unborn baby.”

Phil recommends anyone who suspects asbestos in their property to have a Property Inspection and testing done to ascertain the risk.

“My advice is don’t take a chance. It’s simply not worth it.”

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