The condo which my wife now owns requires a hazmat cleaning if a person died in the condo. Is this a state law; or is it not a requirement.

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The condo which my wife now owns requires a hazmat cleaning if a person died in the condo. Is this a state law; or is it not a requirement.

The condo which my wife now owns requires a hazmat cleaning if a person died in the condo. Is this a state law; or is it not a requirement. The cost of a hazmat crew is very expensive for us. Please help.

Asked on May 12, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

N. K., Member, Iowa and Illinois Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

It is in both Federal and State of Florida regulations whereby compliance to, becomes necessary. But the situation requiring a ‘hazmat treatment’ because a prior occupant has died is not clear whether it should fall under a special case category where the demise of the person has caused a high level of particle reactivity, toxicity, corrosively or ignitability (40 CFR Part 261, Subpart C) to remain inside the condominium unit. Further, there is always a sense of urgency when it comes to treating hazardous materials which could not wait for the next occupant to come around and clean it.

There are things you need to know. Among these are: who is ordering you to get the condo cleaned? Does s/he have the expertise to advise you of on the presence of hazmat? Is there an order coming from the EPA or DEP requiring the next occupant to submit the condo for hazmat treatment? What were the consequences prior to the death of the previous occupant? What was the cause of death? Were there any reported spills of hazardous material, e.g. mercury from a broken thermometer, etc.? What is the time gap between the reported death and the time of your occupancy?

I suggest you verify this matter with the realtor. Granting that somebody has died of a disease, there are alternative and cheaper methods that you could employ. A local hospital may help you learn of the procedures they undertake to sanitize the area/s where a patient has died.


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