Asbestos siding

10 Replies

I came a across a nice multi-family building with mixed size units in New Bedford, Massachusetts and it raised a question for me. It appears that the building has asbestos exterior siding;.what do investors think about this? I've heard that if it is left in place it is not an issue but that abatement is expensive. Massachusetts seems particularly stringent in this regard and a large landlord was recently fined $100,000 for multiple violations concerning abatement. I would appreciate any feedback as the whether such properties should be avoided. Thanks!

@Scott Clarkmoore , I can not speak for Massachusetts rules and regulations regarding asbestos siding.  But what I can offer is a little insight from my own experiences.  I live in upstate New York, and currently own a rental property with asbestos siding.  You are correct that if it is left undisturbed there is no harmful effect,  where the issues occur is when removing them or if the are broken and the dust gets into the air.  Being that you are in Texas and would be investing from a distance away it will limit your options.  I do know that in my area the property owner has the ability to remove the siding and dispose of it personally, which is significantly less expensive then hiring a specialized company.  However if that was an option there is a lot of research and care that needs to be put into the removal, its not just going over there with a pry bar and garbage can and pull it off the house.  if the regulations in Mass are strict as to landlords with asbestos, it might be a good idea for you to pass on the property.

@Scott Clarkmoore

In the article, the Massachusetts landlord who got fined sounded like he wasn't a responsible person or landlord. One it sounded like he didn't make other people aware of the presence asbestos and two it sounded like he wasn't using a licensed company and you need to be (or strongly STRONGLY recommended) be trained to do so. 

I am positive there are hundreds of properties around Boston that have asbestos siding, even my families older house in New Jersey had asbestos siding. As long as you are aware the property has asbestos and the condition of that siding is in good condition I believe you should be fine.

Here is a site that I found useful with asbestos particularly for Massachusetts.

I hope this helps you.

I invest in New Jersey.  many hhoes have asbestos Siding. removal can be somewhat costly because they must be disposed of in special dumpsters and the ground must be cleaned around the work area. When the problem is siding. I simply side over it eencapsulating the problem and resolving the issue. In New Jersey there are no license or special process required. Only a recommendation that the contractor follow EPA suggested protocol.

@Scott Clarkmoore what is the condition of the siding?  It it's in good shape and you don't have plans of major exterior renovations, just leave it be.  If it is the asphalt style asbestos siding which is badly deteriorated, you may want to book a "vacation" after you close and remove it yourself; dispose of it (obviously in compliance with your local and state laws.)  Asbestos laws are meant to protect workers, not the occupants or owners, and to the best of my knowledge, that composite siding is not friable like pipe wrap so you may be making this a bigger deal that it really is.

@Brian Novak I agree, If it's a Deal, Buy it and keep it intact!

Unfortunately Asbestos siding, similar to lead paint, usually more expensive than other siding and paints, was purchased with the best intentions. Asbestos siding to reduce fires and damage and lead paint to be longer lasting:-(

Another option is to go over the existing siding with another material however you will, or should, disclose this when it is time to sell.  You would have to do the math and see if you will get a return on your investment (removal cost) or if it is better to side over it. 

That said I would recommend having the material tested to confirm asbestos before you decide on a course of action and always check the local regulations before performing any work.

As long as its not being drilled into or grinded , its a non issue 

Thanks everyone for the responses. It has been very helpful.

Another option is having a contractor put vinyl siding over the asbestos siding. 

Leave it alone if it is in good condition. It is in fact non friable. Lower risk than pipe insulation. That stuff is zero hazard unless broken cut or drilled. It is a pretty durable exterior cladding as well.

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