If you plan to rent out a home built before 1980, you may want to inspect the house for asbestos – especially if you recently purchased the home from another investor. Although newer homes generally don't contain asbestos, older homes may contain this harmful substance in their insulation, paint and foundation. Inspecting your rental home before you allow tenants to move in may keep you from experiencing a host of legal repercussions later.

Why Inspect Your Home?

According to legal entities like asbestos.com, homes constructed before 1980 may contain some type of asbestos in their building supplies. Unless these homeowners, real estate investors or renters reconstruct the homes before they sell or rent them out, tenants and homebuyers may experience accidental exposure to asbestos through the homes':

  • Heating and cooling systems – Dust containing asbestos particles can hide inside the ducts of old homes until tenants turn on their heating and cooling systems. The contaminated dust particles can trigger allergies, cancer of the lungs and other respiratory diseases when tenants inhale them.
  • Attic insulation – Older homes may contain asbestos in the fibers of the attics' insulation. Tenants who touch the fibers may develop warts on their hands.
  • Wall paint – A number of paint products sold before 1980 to home investors contained asbestos. This type of paint contained heat and fire resistant properties.

It may take up to 50 years before you or your tenants exhibit signs or symptoms of an asbestos-related health condition. However, if they do develop health problems like lung cancer while living in your rental home, the tenants may sue you for damages, even if they move out later.

In addition, the attorneys for these tenants may find you liable for their tenants' medical problems in personal injury court. This can affect your ability to find tenants in the future, as well as your income.

If you don't know if the previous owner or investor renovated the home prior to selling it to you, you may want to call in a professional asbestos removal specialist like Bios Environments to examine the home.

What Asbestos Removal Services Do You Need?

The best and most efficient asbestos removal service you can obtain is abatement. Abatement requires contractors to tear down and replace any foundation that may contain asbestos. It can be a lengthy process from start to finish, but it's the best way to keep your future tenants safe.

You can also do a few things yourself to protect your investment. For instance, you may want to:

  • Obtain building records, such as code violations, on the home from the county records department in that area
  • Contact the previous owner or investor and request any construction and renovation paperwork he or she may have done on the home
  • Contact real estate agencies or agents that know about the area – they can may be able to tell you about the home's history when they do a real estate search online

Your asbestos contractor may advise you on other steps to take in order to protect your tenants and home.

Getting the facts about asbestos before you rent out your home can save you money, legal repercussions and other problems in the future.