Under the new (02/01/2009) Standards Of Practice (SOP) for Real Estate Inspectors http://(www.trec.state.tx.us) the Real Estate Inspector they are not required to inspect for nor determine the presence of asbestos. I have provided a link to the SOP and quoted the section here. This is basically the same in the previous SOP only worded slightly differently.
"535.227. Standards of Practice: General Provisions.
(3) General limitations. The inspector is not required to:
(iii) the presence, absence, or risk of asbestos, lead-based paint, mold, mildew, or any other environmental hazard, environmental pathogen, carcinogen, toxin, mycotoxin, pollutant, fungal presence or activity, or poison;"
The SOP is just the "Minimum" set of standards for inspections and a good Inspector always exceeds the minimums! Unfortunately you have probably had an inspection by a "Minimalist Inspector".
As for owners, RE Agents and Brokers if they know of the existence of asbestos in the home then they must ensure it is on a disclosure form. The problem is proving they were aware that they knew for a fact that asbestos siding was on the home. Also keep in mind that there is no real program for licensing Inspectors for asbestos identification unless they are performing inspections of public buildings. Long story short it would fall on you to find proof that the owner or broker knew that asbestos was present and failed to disclose this.
Asbestos siding is not an issue unless it is in what is called a "Friable" state. This is when the siding is broken and has rough, unsealed edges. At that point you can see fibrous materials on the edges. If the siding is properly sealed, and in good shape, it does not necessarily pose a hazrd to people.
If you would like to ask specific questions or discuss the situation more please feel free to email me. My email is on my WEB site.
Emmanuel J. Scanlan
PS Inspection & Property Services LLC
TREC License # 7593
International Code Council, Residential Combination Inspector #5247015-R5 (Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing and Building)
Certified Level I Thermographer (ASNT-TC1A Standards)
Texas Residential Construction Commission, Third Party Warranty Inspector #1593
Texas Residential Construction Commission, Inspector, County Inspection Program
Texas Department Of Insurance, VIP Inspector # 08507061016
Hayman Residential Engineering Services, Field Technician
CMC Energy - Certified Energy Auditor
Knowledge is power, but sharing knowledge brings peace!!