Govt publishes asbestos guide for real estate industry

Agents and principals have been reminded of their asbestos compliance obligations following the release of a new safety guide.

The NSW government guide outlines what steps agents can take to remain safe while handling properties that contain loose-fill asbestos insulation.

It also explains that agents have a duty of care towards their clients and any tradesmen they hire, according to Dave Owens, chair of the government’s loose-fill asbestos taskforce.

“They also have a commitment to act honestly, fairly and professionally at all times plus disclose whether a property contains loose-fill asbestos to prospective buyers and tenants,” he said.

Mr Owens said agents must have processes in place to manage the risks from loose-fill asbestos, which may be found in properties built before 1980.

“If the agent becomes aware that loose-fill asbestos is present or suspects it may be present, the agent should take steps to ensure the health and safety of their workers, clients and anyone else that may come onto the property,” he said.

“This should involve asking the owner to register for the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities independent investigation into loose-fill asbestos in NSW’s free ceiling insulation testing program and requesting a copy of the test results.”

This new safety guide was developed in consultation with Estate Agents Co-operative, the Real Estate Institute of NSW and NSW Fair Trading.

[Related: Agents ‘now expected to be across’ asbestos]

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