For any new homeowner, there are many different inspections they need to see done before they are willing to part with their hard-earned money. One of the most important tests is asbestos testing done to check whether or not asbestos was used in the construction of the house.
Fireproof and nearly indestructible, asbestos was used in many buildings for decades until the negative health impacts, including various cancers, were exposed. Despite the well-documented risks, asbestos is still used in some countries across the world and still remains in many buildings built before the 1980’s across Canada.
In Ontario, a home inspector will check:
- Visible plumbing and electrical systems
- Visible insulation
- The heating and ventilation systems
- Natural vegetation
- The roof and attic (if it is safe)
Foundations and Exterior Walls
Unfortunately, you may have noticed that recognizing and disclosing the presence of asbestos is not within the scope of your home inspection. If your chosen inspector suspects the presence of asbestos, they may suggest further evaluation and analysis by a qualified professional, but legally they cannot confirm or deny if asbestos is present or not. At best, they can offer an educated guess based on the factors that they can check, such as the age of the building or the other materials used in construction, but that’s all.
This could be a major problem for first time homeowners. Exposure to asbestos can cause a variety of cancers, and there is no law to prevent the sale of houses just because asbestos is present, but real estate agents are obliged to give any relevant facts they know about the house to potential buyers, which does include whether or not asbestos is present. Unfortunately, if the house has never been checked for asbestos before, then they may not have that information to share.
Homeowners Get Stuck with the Bill
The real downside in this case is that, before any sale can take place, the homeowners are usually the ones forced to cover the bill for asbestos removal, and some (but not all) mortgage companies may refuse to finance the deal until any and all asbestos is removed from the premises. Insurance companies may not provide coverage until and unless they receive a clearance letter to ascertain that any asbestos present has been removed. Your home insurance policy may not cover the removal, or even the inspection, either, which adds to the already high costs involved in purchasing a new home.
Ultimately, it falls to you to do the necessary research on the house itself before you purchase. If it was built before the mid-1980’s, prior to the state-wide ban on the use of asbestos as a building material, it may well have used asbestos in its construction and could be considered a risk. If that is the case, then you need to strongly reconsider your purchase, or at least renegotiate the terms of the sale and amount you will be paying to reflect this new information and the additional costs and risks you are being exposed to.
Are You Concerned That Your Home Has Asbestos?
If you suspect that you house might have asbestos, you’re going to need professional help. Dealing with asbestos needs to be done properly, and there is no way to cut corners.
Our certified asbestos specialists will use state-of-the-art technology to properly detect and identify presumed asbestos containing material in your home, so you can confidently renovate and/or resell your home. Request a quote, and gain peace of mind (and a healthier home).