Asbestos Disclosure Addendum

Last Updated: January 23, 2023 by Robert Bailey

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An Asbestos Disclosure Addendum is a legal contract incorporated into a Lease Agreement that requires the tenant to follow specific requirements for preventing and reporting asbestos exposure in their rental property. It also warns the tenant of the danger of asbestos and discloses to the tenant any potential asbestos hazards on or around the rental property.

Why Use an Asbestos Disclosure Addendum?

Asbestos was a common item contained in building material used for construction prior to 1981. While undisturbed asbestos in good condition does not usually present a health risk, some factors may cause asbestos fibers to become airborne and exposed to individuals residing on that property.

Asbestos exposure in a rental property can cause serious health issues for a tenant and can be costly for landlords to safely address. Here are some specific reasons why landlords should take asbestos exposure seriously and always include a detailed addendum when entering into a lease with a tenant:

  • Compliance with Laws and Regulations – There are federal and state laws for owners of buildings with materials containing asbestos. This addendum can outline any requirements and provide written proof of the landlord’s intentions to comply with any applicable laws or regulations.
  • Reduces the Chance of Asbestos Exposure – Asbestos exposure in a rental property can be a serious health concern leading to cancer and even death. This addendum requires the tenant to take certain precautions and notify the landlord of certain situations that may cause asbestos exposure. Requiring these safety measures can help reduce the chance of asbestos being disturbed and exposed to tenants at a rental property.
  • Specifies Responsibility and Liability – Asbestos exposure can also be an expensive issue to resolve. As a result, a landlord must address expectations and who will be at fault if there is asbestos exposure in a rental property. Having an addendum places the responsibility and liability for damages or lawsuits with the tenant if their negligence was the cause of the asbestos exposure.
  • Reassures the Tenant – This addendum can also give the tenant confidence that the landlord was thorough in inspecting and identifying any asbestos hazards before leasing the property to them. It also reassures the tenant that there is a policy in place to prevent and take care of any potential asbestos issues.

Landlords must remember that they also have a responsibility to prevent and address asbestos exposure. Most states have laws that require landlords to provide tenants with a safe and livable home (known as the implied warranty of habitability).

If the landlord fails to disclose asbestos hazards, takes any actions that cause asbestos exposure, or they fail to timely remedy an asbestos problem, a landlord may violate state law. Depending on the state, a tenant may be able to:

  • Withhold their rent
  • Pay to remedy the asbestos problem and deduct the cost from their rent
  • Terminate the lease
  • Sue the landlord

What to Include in an Asbestos Disclosure Addendum

An Asbestos Disclosure Addendum does not stand on its own. Rather, it becomes a part of and is incorporated into a lease agreement. This addendum should focus on the prevention and handling of asbestos hazards and include the following:

  1. Type of Addendum – The heading and opening should state that this is an Asbestos Disclosure Addendum
  2. The date the addendum is being signed and goes into effect.
  3. Landlord’s name
  4. Landlord’s business address
  5. Tenant’s name
  6. Tenant’s rental property address
  7. The date of the original lease agreement
  8. Introductory information about the addendum and the original lease agreement it is incorporating
  9. Understanding Asbestos – This section provides a basic introduction to asbestos
  10. Tenant Acknowledgment – This section confirms that the tenant read the addendum and acknowledges that the Premises may contain asbestos and they may become exposed to it during their tenancy
  11. Risks Associated with Asbestos – This section explains that asbestos is not a risk by itself but may become a risk when damage or disturbance occurs to building materials containing asbestos. This section also provides the types of illnesses and diseases that may result from asbestos exposure
  12. Federal Asbestos Requirements – This section details federal law requirements for handling materials containing asbestos
  13. Presence of Asbestos – In this section, the landlord will either disclose the location of potential asbestos hazards on or around the rental property or confirm that they do not have any knowledge of asbestos hazards
  14. Tenant Restrictions – This section restricts the tenant from making any improvements, modifications, alterations, or repairs to the rental property without written approval from the landlord
  15. Tenant’s Duty to Report – In this section, the tenant agrees to immediately notify the landlord of damage or signs that may indicate potential asbestos exposure. The tenant is also required to notify the landlord if they have witnessed the action of another individual that may have caused asbestos exposure on the rental property
  16. Landlord Access – In this section, the tenant agrees to allow access to the landlord and a professional asbestos company if there has been a potential asbestos disturbance
  17. Violations – This section notes that a violation of this addendum is a violation of the entire lease agreement. That means, if there is a violation of this addendum, the landlord can take any actions authorized in the lease agreement for violations, including eviction and payment for damages
  18. Indemnification – For this section, the tenant explicitly agrees to be responsible for any costs or damages, including any potential lawsuits, that result from asbestos exposure caused by the tenant, other individuals residing at the property, or their guests
  19. Governing Law – The law governing the lease agreement will also apply to this addendum
  20. Landlord’s signature and date
  21. Tenant’s signature and date

Just like with the original lease agreement, both parties should have a signed copy of this addendum. The addendum is part of the lease agreement and should be kept with it. If a tenant refuses to sign this addendum with the original lease agreement a landlord can deny renting to them.

Tips to Help Prevent Asbestos Exposure

Beyond providing a thorough addendum, a landlord can take certain additional steps to help prevent asbestos disturbances and exposure.

  • Periodic Landlord Inspections – By conducting periodic inspections, the landlord can monitor the state of the property. Specifically, the landlord can use this inspection to ensure that there are no signs of damage or disturbance that may have caused asbestos exposure.
  • Provide the Tenant With Additional Information on Asbestos – In addition to the addendum, a landlord can provide tenants with additional information to help tenants better understand asbestos. This can include a more detailed understanding of what asbestos is and how exposure occurs. It can also include any asbestos laws, regulations, and other helpful resources.