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Victorian tenants living in fear of asbestos

18 September 2013 Reporter

A family renting a run-down house in Melbourne’s west have made the shocking discovery that their rental home may be contaminated by asbestos.

The tenants believe there is exposed asbestos in their house and also in a shed on an adjoining property which is in a serious state of disrepair.

After seeking, but not receiving, any advice or assistance from the local council, the family contacted Jim’s Building Inspections to try and verify the presence of asbestos.

Jim’s Building Inspections' Phil Smallman visited the property and after an initial inspection agreed that asbestos was present and sent a sample to a lab for testing.


“We are also very concerned about the adjoining shed on the neighbouring property,” Mr Smallman said.

“We believe the family living there, who are also probably renters, have recently arrived in Australia and may not be aware of the dangers.

“Our clients say they are often outside playing cricket against the shed and the ball is constantly pounding and damaging the cladding. If it is asbestos this is very dangerous.”

The tenants are currently negotiating with the renting agency to try and break the lease. They are prepared to go to VCAT if they are unsuccessful.

“Once we have the results back from the lab we hope that the landlord and rental agencies will enable the family to break the lease, or provide alternative accommodation whilst the asbestos is removed,” Mr Smallman said.

“However, with the threat from the adjoining shed and no one taking responsibility for that, our clients would prefer to move out altogether.”

“In the meantime, we have recommended air monitoring to provide some peace of mind.”

Jim’s Building Inspections are currently assisting the family in notifying neighbouring occupants, the owners of the neighbouring property and the local council.

Mr Smallman said while this went above and beyond what Jim’s Building Inspections was required to do, someone needed to take responsibility.

“This family is living in fear. Their daughter is pregnant and will not visit her mother anymore as she fears for the health of her unborn baby.”

Mr Smallman said it was important for properties to be inspected and tested for possible asbestos.

“My advice is don’t take a chance. It’s simply not worth it.”

Victorian tenants living in fear of asbestos
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