Buying a building with asbestos means taking on certain risks as asbestos is a very dangerous substance that shouldn't be overlooked or ignored. A building owner has certain legal responsibilities when there is asbestos in their building and may face liability for anyone harmed by breathing in asbestos fibres while on the property. This is why it's good to exercise caution when you're thinking of buying a building with asbestos so you know all the risks involved. Note a few factors about buying such a building, and then discuss this option with a real estate attorney as needed.

New owners are responsible for asbestos

You may assume that the previous owners of the buildings are responsible for its cleanup and any harm caused to workers or others onsite, but this isn't typically the case; the owner of a building is usually liable for any hazardous or harmful substance on the property, even if it's determined that this substance when present when they bought the building. This is why it's vital that you have a building thoroughly inspected for anything hazardous, including asbestos, mould, rodent infestation and the like, before making a purchasing decision. As said, a real estate attorney can advise you on your specific liability and how to protect yourself from this risk before buying any building with asbestos.

Containing and securing asbestos

Asbestos is hazardous when you breathe in the fibres; in many buildings, the asbestos present may be intact, so there is no need to remove it or do anything special to contain it. The asbestos may be part of an adhesive or epoxy used for flooring, to cover plumbing pipes or HVAC components, or for other applications where the fibres are not likely to come loose. Don't assume that a building with asbestos is naturally dangerous or will need some type of preparation before you take occupancy, but talk to professionals who offer asbestos services to better understand the condition of the material in your proposed purchase.

However, while it's not necessarily illegal or dangerous to have asbestos present on the property, there are many legal regulations you need to follow when you own a building with asbestos. You need to have the building inspected regularly with safety reports that are readily available to inspectors and your workers. You may need to put up signage in areas of asbestos, warning workers and visitors of its presence. You also need to provide proper breathing apparatus and other protective equipment for workers; ensure you're prepared for these precautions if you should purchase a building with asbestos.