The continuing Mr Fluffy asbestos insulation disaster in Australia is putting a heavy burden on unprepared real estate agents who must reveal if the houses they sell has the deadly material.
The real estate agents from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) are bound by law to reveal the existence of asbestos or face penalties of $1 million or more. It is predicted that in ACT there are more than 1,000 homes in Canberra were known to contain asbestos.
More than a dozen houses revealed asbestos contamination in New South Wales (NSW). According to the officials in NSW real estate agents and property managers did not have clear guidelines. Thousands of more houses could possibly be affected.
Malcolm Gunning, the president of Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW), said that the government was caught in the worst situation. Furthermore, he stated that what became the concern of the REINSW was that the real estate agents normally were not equipped since those agents did not have any speciality on construction. Gunning also said that they needed specific guidelines so they could give some training to their members.
However, Gunning’s property group and many NSW government branches that include workplace safety and consumer protection agencies, have begun developing a guide to teach real estate agents how to disclose asbestos in the houses of their customers.
Asbestos Requirements for Real Estate Professionals
If the result of the asbestos assessment and property report shows the existence of asbestos, the real estate agents must reveal this important information to all potential tenants or buyers.
In each first property inspection document, real estate agents must reveal:
- The age of the estates
- Whether homeowner or tenant is well informed regarding the presence of any asbestos on the property
- Any assessment reports regarding asbestos for the property
- Whether homeowner or tenant is well informed that the property was part of the clean-up program of Mr Fluffy loose-fill asbestos ACT that was performed between 1988 and 1993
The law has clearly stated the contract of sale, and the building file of the property must include any document regarding the finding of asbestos on the property.
These documents must be included, including:
- The certificate of asbestos removal work completed
- Any written communication to the house owner about the loose-fill insulation
- Building plans, removal control plans and application
- Lease conveyancing enquiry report that states that there is asbestos in or has been on this land
Real states professionals and contractor asbestos testing in Sydney like Asbestos Watch Sydney could face a greater fine if they do not reveal asbestos info to the prospective clients.
Disclosure of Asbestos in House Buildings
The ACT government published a document that functions as guidance to the industry of the real estate concerning asbestos in the residential properties in July 2014.
That fact sheet summarises obligations that be adhered to by the real estate agents as a duty of care to staff members and their clients. It highlights the necessity for everyone in the real estate sector to know about the risks of asbestos.
Recently, REINSW officials developed a guide for asbestos disclosure guide with assistance from job safety agency WorkCover NSW and consumer group NSW Fair Trading. It informs what the customers and steps agents should follow when speaking about asbestos-related risks.