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Asbestos: Your Duties as a Landlord

As a landlord, you have a duty of care to your tenants to protect them from any harm that can be caused in your property. Common problems include damaged roofs, dangerous staircases and faulty light switches, but there may also be things you are unable to see easily. That’s right: we’re talking about asbestos.

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What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that was widely used in construction between the 1950s and 1980s. Due to its resistance to heat, electricity and corrosion, asbestos was used in insulation, fireproofing and other building materials.

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How many types of asbestos are there?

The term asbestos actually refers to six types of asbestos. The six types of asbestos are actinolite, amosite, anthophyllite, chrysotile, crocidolite and tremolite.

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Is asbestos harmful to humans?

If asbestos fibres are inhaled or ingested, asbestos exposure can lead to long-term health risks, including cancer. Asbestos exposure is the primary cause of mesothelioma cancers (cancer in the lining of the lung or abdomen). It can also cause lung, ovarian and laryngeal cancer, as well as asbestosis.

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What is asbestosis?

Asbestosis is a serious lung condition caused by exposure to asbestos. Although it is rare, it is a long-term condition and there is no cure. Symptoms of asbestosis include shortness of breath, persistent coughing, fatigue and chest pain.

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How can I identify asbestos?

The use of asbestos was banned in the UK in 1999 so it is likely that asbestos is still present in most buildings constructed before the millennium. The only way to identify asbestos is through asbestos testing whether at a lab or by getting a professional in to do an asbestos survey.

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Does my landlord have to tell me about asbestos?

Landlords are legally obliged to minimise the risks of exposure to asbestos under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. The individual terms will vary based on the tenancy agreement or contract in place. Usually, they will be responsible for maintaining all of the non-domestic areas of the property they are letting out including foyers, corridors, stairwells, loft space, sheds garages etc.

If you are a building owner however, you have a duty to manage any asbestos in that building.

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What should my landlord do if we discover asbestos?

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), there are five steps you should complete with regards to asbestos:

  1. Identify if any asbestos is present in the property.
  2. Log any trace of asbestos including the location, type of asbestos and the condition it is in. Label accordingly.
  3. Assess the risk of asbestos exposure to anyone.
  4. Create a risk management plan and put it into action. You must monitor the asbestos and keep it up to date.
  5. Inform anyone who may come into contact with the asbestos. For landlords, this includes tenants, contractors etc.

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Does my landlord need to remove the asbestos?

According to, if the asbestos is in good condition, it may be safer to leave the materials containing asbestos "undisturbed", or to "encapsulate them with a sealant."

In the event that the asbestos is in poor condition, asbestos removal should be investigated. Even brief exposure to asbestos can be dangerous so it is prudent to get a specialist in to remove it. Speak to your local council to get more information about the removal and disposal.

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What is the average asbestos removal cost?

According to the asbestos removal company Malrod, asbestos removal typically costs anywhere between £200 to £2,500+ depending on the size of the area.

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Landlords insurance from Towergate

We provide landlord insurance for a wide range of properties and tenants including multi occupancy, students, local authority placements, unoccupied and much more.

See our landlord insurance page, get a landlords insurance quote online or call 0333 060 0915 for more information.

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Commercial property insurance from Towergate

We can offer cover for a range of commercial properties from our trusted network of leading insurers.

You can place just one commercial property or a whole portfolio under one policy, including standard and unoccupied residential and mixed-use buildings.

Get a commercial property insurance quote, call us on 0330 828 0512 or request a callback.

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About the author

Alison Wild Bcom Hons MAAT MATT Taxation Technician Commercial Tax Pensions Insurance And Marketing Specialist AuthorAlison Wild BCom (Hons), MAAT, MATT, Taxation Technician is a highly respected industry professional who has been working with and advising SMEs in areas including tax, pensions, insurance and marketing for over 25 years. She is a member of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and Association of Tax Technicians (ATT) and also has 20 years' experience as a residential landlord.