Homeowners in California may have heard that if they live in a home with asbestos-containing materials, they need to disclose that to potential buyers when the home is being sold. There are some situations where this is the case and some situations where it does not apply. We’re going to take a look at the entirety of California’s asbestos real estate disclosure requirements.
California Disclosure Of Asbestos In Real Estate
Up until the late 1970s, the use of asbestos was widespread and common, particularly in the California construction industry. With such stringent requirements for fireproofing, asbestos was seen by many to be a “miracle mineral” for many years. However, as the years went on, asbestos was discovered to be a ticking time bomb that could impact the health of the inhabitants at any time with ailments like asbestosis, pleural disorders, and even cancers like mesothelioma.
This led to the current state of knowledge where asbestos is understood to be a very potent carcinogen, and that exposure to damaged or friable fibers can destroy lives. As a result, the California Asbestos Disclosure Act was created, which created much more strict regulations and legislation regarding the handling, removal, and disposal of asbestos from a building where asbestos-containing materials have been discovered.
Some of these laws also regulate the disclosure of asbestos in real estate transactions. Since many California homes contain asbestos, the California Asbestos Disclosure Laws have been implemented to make sure that locals are informed, and reasonable precautions are taken, when materials containing asbestos have been discovered on the property. This may or may not mean, however, that the owner needs to disclose the presence of those materials to parties interested in potentially buying the property.
Disclosure Of Asbestos During Real Estate Transactions In California
Even though asbestos has been used to a significant extent in California homes, the current owners of those homes may or may not be required to disclose the presence of asbestos in the home when attempting to sell it. According to California law, anyone selling a residential property that is four units or less must give the prospective buyer a Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement.
This Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement or TDS. The TDS is an extensive document that highlights defects or other conditions as required by the state, that the seller is aware of. This means substances, products, or any specific construction materials that may constitute a hazard to potential buyers. This includes things like lead paint or asbestos products. A seller can also choose to give the buyer the booklet “Environmental Hazards: A Guide for Homeowners, Homebuyers, Landlords, and Tenants” created by the California Department of Real Estate.
This booklet will provide the information required by the state to be provided, and relieves the seller of any further obligations of disclosure of hazards that affect the property. The only exception, and one where they must explicitly detail what they know, is if the owner or seller is already aware of the asbestos contamination or other hazardous materials. In buildings constructed before 1979, however, the California Health & Safety Code mandates specific declaration of any asbestos-containing materials, no matter how prevalent or what condition they are in.
The best practice for those in California is often to disclose the possibility of the presence of asbestos, even if there is no legal obligation. This helps to prevent legal and even financial liabilities later on.
Partner With Local Experts To Abate Your Asbestos
If you live in a home with asbestos products or plan on buying or selling one, making sure you have a local expert like Sensitive Environmental on your side can make dealing with asbestos much easier and safer for you and your family. reach out today for more information.