As tenants, you have the right to live in a habitable condition free from risks. Landlords are legally required to provide all necessary services and conditions to cater to your risks. Asbestos exposure is a dangerous and harmful threat. As a tenant, it is essential to know the answer is yes, you can sue your landlord over asbestos exposure. There are different ways to achieve this. But first, there are a few details to know about abestos exposure in the United States.
Asbestos Exposure Laws
The United States has passed several laws regarding asbestos exposure. These laws include the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), the Clean Air Act, the Community Right-to-Know Act, the Emergency Planning Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act**.** All these acts give you rights as a citizen to protect yourself from hazardous substances. Therefore, if your landlord is exposing you to asbestos through your rental property, you may be able to sue for damages.
How Do I Determine Eligibility?
Typically, you can only sue your landlord for asbestos exposure if your landlord has not:
- Maintained the premises properly and according to your contract and local laws.
- Provided a safe working environment if it's a commercial space.
- Warned you about the presence of asbestos.
- Informed you about the failed result of an inspection.
- Adhered to your local laws requiring notice of asbestos exposure.
It's important to remember that landlords have the following responsibilities:
- Providing a Written Lease Agreement - This document will outline your rights and obligations as a tenant. It will also state what happens if you violate any lease provision. You can use this contract to sue your landlord for damages.
- Maintain the Property - The responsibility of maintaining the property lies with your landlord. And if he fails, he could be held liable for any damage caused by his negligence. He is also obligated to repair any defects in the property. If your landlord does not make the needed repairs within a reasonable period, you can report him to the local housing authority.
- Attend to Asbestos - If you find asbestos on the property, you should notify your landlord immediately. You can demand that they remove it. If they refuse, then you can file a lawsuit against them.
- Notifying You of Hazards - Your landlord must warn you about hazards (like asbestos) on the property. If he doesn't, you can sue him for failing to fulfill his duty to warn you.
- Accommodate For Risks Associated With Asbestos Exposure - If you become ill due to asbestos exposure, you can sue your landlord. However, you are likely required to first notify them about your illness before doing so.
How to Sue a Landlord for Asbestos Exposure
If the landlord fails to respond to your notice of asbestos, you may decide to sue them. Follow these steps to help you determine whether you should file a suit against your landlord:
- Determine whether there are any violations in your Lease Agreement. Check to see if there are any violations in your lease agreement. This includes anything that violates the terms of your rental contract.
- Check to see if you have been warned about asbestos. Look at all the warnings given to you regarding asbestos. These include signs posted on the property, written notices at the entrance, and verbal warnings from your landlord.
- Discuss with a Doctor whether your health has been damaged due to asbestos exposure. Ask a medical professional if you have been harmed because your landlord failed to warn you about the dangers associated with asbestos on the property.
- Document evidence of asbestos exposure's health impact. If you believe that you were exposed to asbestos, document the evidence that supports your claim.
- Sue your landlord for asbestos exposure. Upon completing all the procedures above, you can file a case in court against the landlord for asbestos exposure.
Sue Your Landlord in Small Claims Court
If you want to take your landlord to small claims court, you must be prepared. Make sure you've got all your evidence organized and prepare to do the following:
- Contact your local court or an attorney and find out where to file your case.
- Download or obtain the appropriate paperwork from the small claims court.
- Fill it out, sign, and notarize the documents.
- Pay the court's filing fees (varies by state and size of "claimed amount).
- Return the document to court for filing.
- Wait to hear back from the court on the status of your case (approximately 2-4 weeks).
- Serve your small claims case to the other party with the help of local law enforcement or a process server.
- Attend your hearing and present your argument.
- Collect your Judgement
Small Claims forms can be difficult to navigate. We can help you generate, sign and notarize a small claim for $99 from your phone in just minutes using our software. This way, the only time you need to go down to the courthouse is when it's time to have your hearing.
If you have any questions regarding suing your landlord or accessing small claims court, please get in touch with us.