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Asbestos

The severity and frequency of symptoms vary from person to person. The common asbestosis symptoms include:
  • swelling in the neck or face.
  • difficulty swallowing.
  • high blood pressure.
  • blood in sputum.
  • crackling sound when breathing.
  • shortness of breath.
  • hypertension.
  • finger deformity.

The duty to manage asbestos is directed at those who manage non-domestic premises: the people with responsibility for protecting others who work in such premises, or use them in other ways, from the risks to ill-health that exposure to asbestos causes.

Landlords duties when dealing with asbestos, click to read or download PDF

The revised ACOP L143 ‘Managing and working with asbestos’ contains updated information about the requirements to manage asbestos under regulation 4 of CAR 2012. The information was previously available in the ACOP L127 ‘The management of asbestos in non-domestic premises’ which has now been withdrawn.

How do landlords manage asbestos?

The duty to manage asbestos is contained in regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. It requires the person who has the duty (ie the ‘duty holder’) to:

  • take reasonable steps to find out if there are materials containing asbestos in non-domestic premises, and if so, its amount, where it is and what condition it is in
  • presume materials contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence that they do not
  • make, and keep up-to-date, a record of the location and condition of the asbestos-containing materials – or materials which are presumed to contain asbestos
  • assess the risk of anyone being exposed to fibres from the materials identified
  • prepare a plan that sets out in detail how the risks from these materials will be managed
  • take the necessary steps to put the plan into action
  • periodically review and monitor the plan and the arrangements to act on it so that the plan remains relevant and up-to-date
  • provide information on the location and condition of the materials to anyone who is liable to work on or disturb them

There is also a requirement on others to co-operate as far as is necessary to allow the duty holder to comply with the above requirements.

Who has the duty?

The duty holder is the owner of the non-domestic premises or the person or organisation that has clear responsibility for the maintenance or repair of non-domestic premises, for example through an explicit agreement such as a tenancy agreement or contract.

The extent of the duty will depend on the nature of that agreement. In a building occupied by one leaseholder, the agreement might be for either the owner or leaseholder to take on the full duty for the whole building; or it might be to share the duty. In a multi-occupied building, the agreement might be that the owner takes on the full duty for the whole building. Or it might be that the duty is shared – for example, the owner takes responsibility for the common parts while the leaseholders take responsibility for the parts they occupy. Sometimes, there might be an agreement to pass the responsibilities to a managing agent.

In some cases, there may be no tenancy agreement or contract. Or, if there is, it may not specify who has responsibility for the maintenance or repair of non-domestic premises. In these cases, or where the premises are unoccupied, the duty is placed on whoever has control of the premises, or part of the premises. Often this will be the owner.

In public buildings, such as hospitals, schools and similar premises, the identity of the duty holder will depend on how the responsibility for maintenance of the premises is allocated. For example, for most schools, the duty holder will be the employer. Who the employer is varying with the type of school. For local authority managed schools, eg community schools and voluntary-controlled schools, the employer is the local authority. For voluntary-aided and foundation schools, it will be the school governors, and for academy and Free Schools, the academy trust will be the employer. For independent and fee-paying schools, it may be the proprietor, governors or trustees. Budgets for repair and maintenance of school buildings are sometimes delegated to schools by a local authority. In such cases, the duty to manage asbestos is shared between schools and the local authority.

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Dated: 15th of March 2020

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