You’re using the word “flat” instead of “apartment”, and you sound like “repairs to my apartment” is your problem, not the landlord’s problem. Knowing that people in the UK “purchase flats” instead of “renting apartments” I therefore deduce that you are speaking to us from the UK.
A quick check of the Profile: “Location: Scotland”. Ah ha! I’m brilliant.
Er, um, well, as to the OP: here in the States, the minute you say the word “asbestos” on a jobsite, it’s like saying “Ku Klux Klan” at a black prayer meeting. Not funny, in other words. A sudden terrible silence falls. The merest hint that there might be asbestos removal involved will cause hardened workmen to turn pale and step away from their work. Oh, it’s not the stuff itself, they can deal with that. It’s the Environmental Protection Agency, the fell and grim EEEE PEEEE AYYYYYYY!! [ominous music]
To this Federal agency has been given the awesome power not only to shut a worksite down indefinitely the minute anybody mentions “asbestos”, but also to charge the contractor hefty fines if he fails to complete the holy quest of Asbestos Removal to the EPA’s persnickety satisfactions.
Now I will tell you the story of the local post office and the asbestos in the floor (true story, brought to you courtesy of the Better Half, who is a letter carrier and Who Was There.) A few years back they decided to run an extra telephone line (land line) down through the floor to the supervisor’s office in the workroom, so as to facilitate his new computer. While they were drilling the 1/2 inch hole in the floor for the telephone line, somebody unwisely said, “Hey, aren’t these asbestos tiles?” WHAM, SLAM, the walls closed in, they had to report it to the Feds, the EPA came in and shut everything down, and the Post Office had to spend thousands of dollars to have an EPA-sanctioned professional asbestos removal team come in and remove all the asbestos floor tile.
It took weeks. And when they finally got it all done and got the land line installed–it didn’t work. But everybody’s afraid to say anything, for fear there might be more asbestos around somewhere.
So, no wonder your workmen suddenly started hemming and hawing when you said the “A” word.
If you really want to know whether they used asbestos in building your apartment, you could find a building contractor (who doesn’t do asbestos removal on the side :rolleyes: ) and have him come look at it. (Offer him a $20 “consultation fee”.) He ought to know what the local construction trades are using in their buildings.