Buying a home can be a stressful process, even for second- or third-time buyers. That’s because, even though a seller is required in Illinois to disclose potential defects or hazardous conditions on the property prior to sale, this only applies to conditions they are aware of. This means, if they don’t know about a problem, then they may not be liable for it in the future.
This may be particularly concerning for homebuyers when it comes to asbestos, which is incredibly harmful to a person’s health and can lead to serious conditions such as cancer. Though a homebuyer may feel it’s necessary to disclose whether a house contains asbestos or not, it’s worth noting that, according to the EPA, federal law does not require this disclosure. It is up to each state to set up its own disclosure laws, which is what our state has done.
As a case out of Australia shows though, laws can differ between countries as well and even homebuying there can be a risk. The family in the particular case out of that country were not alerted to the presence of asbestos in their home until after they had made the purchase. According to reports, the home was cleared after the first assessment, even though no samples were taken. But the second and third assessments confirmed that the house did contain asbestos and was a potential threat to its occupants.
Even though this happened thousands of miles away from residents here in Madison County, anyone here could easily imagine how frustrating the situation must be for the family involved. If similar circumstances were to happen here, a homebuyer could easily be left wondering what their next steps should be and whether there is any legal recourse they can take.
Because each state may have different laws regarding the disclosure process though, a person may want to seek the help of a skilled attorney in that state because they can explain a homebuyer’s options and help them choose which one is best for them.
Sources: The Canberra Times, “Assessors failed to detect blue asbestos in family’s home,” Emma Macdonald, July 29, 2014
The Illinois General Assembly, “Property, (765 ILCS 77/) Residential Real Property Disclosure Act,” Accessed Aug. 5, 2014