Asbestos Safety Advice for Landlords
The use of asbestos in construction was banned in the UK in 1999, but for any commercial or domestic properties built or refurbished before that time, there’s a reasonable chance that asbestos may be present. It was widely used in construction for most of the 20th Century as insulation for pipes or attics, in cement and ceiling tiles, and in a range of soundproofing applications.
The good news however, is that although asbestos is still often present in buildings it’s only a health risk when it begins to deteriorate or is disturbed, as the fibres become airborne and are dangerous when breathed in.
What are a landlord’s responsibilities when it comes to asbestos?The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 are specifically aimed at those who manage ‘non-domestic’ properties – and therefore don’t specifically apply to domestic landlords.
However, other regulations mean that domestic landlord’s do have a duty to protect tenants
As a landlord, you have a duty to your tenants to minimise their risk of exposure to asbestos, and you could potentially be prosecuted if a tenant, workman or visitor to a property comes into contact with asbestos and it’s found that you haven’t taken the necessary precautions.
The Landlord and Tenants Act 1985 states that any property being rented out must be safe and fit for human habitation, and the Defective Premises Act 1972 states that tenants or visitors shouldn’t be in danger due to a defective or damaged property. Both of these mean that landlords must provide an environment that’s free from asbestos that’s in an unsafe condition.
How landlords should safely manage asbestos
It’s therefore a landlord’s responsibility to carry out a risk assessment of the premises. This means being aware that asbestos may be present in the property, and if it’s suspected, calling in a team of specialists to identify it. Once the asbestos has been identified, you should then decide whether it’s safe to remain where it is, or if it poses a risk and therefore needs removing. Landlords must also make anyone who may disturb it aware of its existence, such as contractors or tenants.
It’s essential for landlords to take these precautions in order to keep tenants and those visiting the property safe, as well as to protect themselves from prosecution