An environment services provider is reminding landlords of their responsibilities should asbestos be found in their properties.
Although a high profile problem in the distant past, recent publicity about the substance has been low key - younger landlords in particular may need to be aware the when asbestos is inhaled, fibres can irritate and scar lung tissue, and cause breathing difficulties.
Now the Asbestos Audit company says landlords in particular have responsibilities to prevent tenants being exposed to asbestos.
Part of the Landlord and Tenancy Act of 1985 states that property to let must be fit for human habitation, specifying that any asbestos material in unsafe condition must be dealt with prior to a tenancy beginning.
If there is the suspicion of asbestos being present in the construction of a property to let - even if apparently undamaged - Asbestos Audit suggests a specialist survey be commissioned to determine the locations, conditions and extent of the material within the property; this can usually also assist in drawing up a plan for removal, if necessary.
Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 outlines that depending on the extent of the maintenance and repair the tenant agreed to, this will decide the degree of legal duty landlords have: this is to be found in the tenancy agreement.
The responsibility is not restricted to the physical apartment or house that is let. For all the ‘common’ areas the building may include, a landlord has responsibility to ensure no potentially harmful asbestos containing materials are found.
These common areas include staircases, corridors, roof spaces, boiler and plant rooms, and outbuildings and gardens.
In most cases, it is likely that responsibility lies with the landlord.
For landlords unfamiliar with the issue, more details can be found here.