D.S. from Los Angeles County, California writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We have a contractor on-site demolishing common area tile. He has a very large metal bin 8′ x 20′ that is on our property (which I assume he is charging us for) that he is using to put the demolished material in. It is open at the top and anybody can put anything in there- which someone did. Someone put some wall board like material that contains asbestos in his bin and then someone called the local agency to claim asbestos containing material was being put in a regular debris bin. Agency comes out and sees it and says yes you (meaning our condo HOA) is in violation. Our quoted cost to remove is $7,000. So, exactly who is responsible for this removal cost? Is it us because the bin is on our property or the contractor because he brought the bin to our property?
Mister Condo replies:
D.S., I am sorry that your community finds itself in such a quandary. Contractor was hired by the association to do a job and bring a disposal bin on to the property. The contractor had no expectation that anyone other than his company would use the bin for anything other than debris he was hired to remove. I am not an attorney but, in my opinion, the association is responsible. Additionally, the person who put the asbestos in the bin did so without consent of the association and can be held liable. Of course, that requires evidence. Did anyone see who put the asbestos in the bin? Without either video evidence or an eyewitness, this is most likely just an unfortunate and expensive lesson for the association. Future contractors who require bins for rubbish disposal will have to do so under lock and key for the bin. That may cost the association more money up front but will prevent illegal refuse disposal by unknown third parties. Good luck!