A tenant’s horror story has shocked Aussies online, after a landlord refused to clean up asbestos at his rental property — an illegal act.
A man who previously lived at the “very old but cheap place” took to Reddit to share the story on behalf of his best mate, who still remains living at the property with his partner and two dogs.
“Unfortunately, the house is riddled with problems, and almost uninhabitable due to the elderly landlord doing dodgy “temporary” fixes, or nothing at all – but when we report anything, we get absolutely nothing but apathy, inaction and serious attitude from the property manager,” the author of the post wrote.
“After months of no action, my friend got sick of no one coming to fix the back fence, so, even with a heart condition, he went to try and fix the back fence himself to keep his dogs contained during the day.”
“It is old and falling apart, but the property manager just says either “what do you want me to do about it?” Or “I don’t have time to deal with that”. When my friend went to fix it himself, he discovered a small pile of asbestos and reported it in person straight away, hoping that face-to-face this property manager might see how desperate he was for some actual help,” they explained.
“The property manager said to his face, again ‘I don’t have time to deal with that.’”
The author of the post explained they have reached out to those higher up at the property management company, but still haven’t been able to get a response from the landlord.
Asbestos is a natural mineral which was typically used in the constructions of homes before the 1980s.
The material is very fibrous and tiny fibres are easily breathed in.
Exposure can lead to diseases like asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer, with symptoms usually appearing between 20 to 30 years after exposure.
On average about 4000 Australians die from asbestos-related diseases every year, with the majority of deaths relating to contact prior to the ban coming into place.
The post has infuriated Aussies, with many taking to comments to suggest a plan of action to deal with the horrible landlord.
“Surely you know that all of this is completely unacceptable and some of it is straight up illegal,” one person wrote.
“Your friend should kick up a stink with the manager or take formal action with NCAT or the equivalent in your state.”
“The only issue is that your friend can likely expect the rent to increase or even worse for them to possibly look for reasons to kick him out. Totally illegal for them to do this (outside of reasonable rent increases) but that hasn’t stopped real estate agents in the past,” they added.
“While ignoring the complaint about presence of asbestos is certainly not on, the presence itself is enough to have the dwelling deemed uninhabitable until it is removed. And the removal work will require the tenant to leave as well,” a person warned.
A third person joked: “Take the asbestos to their office. Simple.”
In NSW, the landlord is in charge of ensuring the home asbestos-free and safe for tenants.
If the dangerous material is located the landlord must be notified and immediate action must be taken.
The local council also should be contacted, as they will be able to advise of the appropriate ways to remove asbestos, providing safe waste disposal services.
Asbestos found in the home or garden must be disposed of at a licensed facility, which can be found on the Asbestos Safety website.
Aussies can also find a licensed asbestos removalist on the WorkSafe or SafeWork website of their state or territory.
Disposing of asbestos illegally is a crime, with heavy fines applying to those who get caught, including those who throw it out in kerbside or skip bins.
The Asbestos Safety Eradication Agency found more than one third of home improvers who encountered asbestos in a renovation or DIY project admitted to illegal or dangerous disposal, with the most common method being in their own or a neighbour’s household bin.
According to the Tenant’s Union of NSW the presence of asbestos at a rental property is not cause for the place to be conidered “in a state of disrepair.”
“In NSW, premises with loose filled asbestos insulation are kept on a publicly available register on NSW Fair Trading website,” the Tenant’s Union of NSW states.
“Also known as the “LFAI Register”, you can look up if your home is listed on the register. Your landlord/agent must disclose to you if the premises are listed on this Register.”
“This requirement is ongoing, meaning the landlord/agent must let you know of this fact prior to signing the agreement with you, or if at any time during the tenancy when the premises become listed on the LFAI Register.”
Tenants are advised to try to get the issue resolved with the landlord, but if no action is taken the next step is to apply to the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for orders.