Asbestos certificate required to sell a home from the fall

Starting 23 November anybody wanting to sell a house will have to produce an asbestos certificate.

An asbestos certificate lists the presence of any asbestos in the house, describes how safe or unsafe the situation is and how the asbestos can be managed or removed.

Asbestos was used in roof tiles, corrugated roofs, windows sills and many other applications until the end of the 90s.  Health risks are associated with the material: lung disease can be triggered when fibres are inhaled.  The Flemish waste company OVAM believes asbestos is still used in 2.8 million Flemish homes. 

The aim is an asbestos secure Flanders by 2040.  The certificate intended to alert buyers to the presence of asbestos in homes is a stepping stone towards this.  Too often people set to work in new homes without being fully aware of the dangers. 

A recognised expert will draft the certificate after checking the building.  Buyers nor sellers are obliged to remove asbestos immediately.  If there is a risk to humans or the environment, this risk must be mitigated. 

OVAM is currently training asbestos experts.  Sufficient experts should be on the job by the fall.  Certificates can be issued as early as July.  It is set to cost several hundred euros.  It’s seen as a small price to pay to avoid risks to health and the environment that could be far more expensive to tackle in the long run.

By 2032 all homeowners will have to possess a certificate even if they are not taking their home to market.  Homeowners in possession of an asbestos certificate are required to show a copy to tenants.

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