by Phoenix attorney Christopher A. Combs, partner with Combs Law Group, P.C.

Question:

After we purchased our home in an historic Phoenix neighborhood, we learned that the siding of our home contained asbestos. My wife’s father died of a lung disease caused by asbestos, and my wife no longer wants to live in the home. My neighbor has the same type of siding, and he says that there is no danger. Is there a danger from asbestos and, if so, can I rescind the purchase transaction?

Answer:

Asbestos was widely used before 1978 as a major component for fireproofing, pipe insulation, flooring, and roofing, and also as a fiber reinforcement in plaster, gypsum board, floor tile, and tile ceilings. Asbestos is generally only hazardous if friable, that is, if the asbestos fibers break down and become airborne. You should hire an environmental expert to determine if there is any danger from the asbestos in the siding. If there is no danger, or if any danger can be easily corrected, you probably have no claim against the seller. If there is significant danger, and you can prove that the seller had knowledge, you may have a claim for damages or even for rescission of the transaction.

The above is for informational purposes only and is not intended as definitive legal or tax advice. You should not act upon this information without seeking independent legal counsel. If you desire legal, tax or other professional advice, please contact your attorney, tax advisor or other professional consultant. Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2007, all rights reserved.

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