Do I need an Asbestos Survey?

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Do Landlords have a legal responsibility to manage asbestos in residential properties?

Do Landlords have a legal responsibility to manage asbestos in residential properties?

The Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR 2006) is very clear that 'there is a legal requirement to manage asbestos in all non-domestic properties'.  The regulations are equally clear that asbestos surveys are not required in domestic premises (CAR 2006, regulation 4 and ACOP L127).  Based on this information we could assume that we can answer our question definitively; if the property is domestic then an asbestos survey is not required, if the property is non-domestic then asbestos survey is required (including an asbestos register and an asbestos management plan).  Unfortunately the actual legislative position is not quite so clear cut.

Much confusion stems from the assumption that ALL legal requirements to manage asbestos are met in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.  The Control of Asbestos Regulation is in fact formed under the framework of the 'Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974' and is designed to be implemented 'at work'.  Because most people are generally not at work in their homes, the Health and Safety at Work Act does not apply and hence neither do the Control of Asbestos Regulations.

However, in the case of a commercial landlord of any kind (whether renting or leasing commercial or residential property) a business is involved and as such elements of the Health and safety at Work Act do apply (such as section 3(3): 'persons affected by the conduct of an undertaking').  In the case of a landlord who derives income from a property the HSE would expect a responsible approach to asbestos management of 'an equivalent standard to the nearest framework'.  In the case of asbestos this would be the Control of Asbestos Regulations, and as such, the requirement for survey AND management plan exists.

In summary, whilst at first glance it is easy to read the Control of Asbestos regulations and assume that there is no requirement to manage asbestos in leased or rented residential properties, this assumption is incorrect.  Landlords who derive income from any property, regardless of use, have a responsibility to manage asbestos in their properties.  Our advice would be that it's always 'better to be safe than sorry' and stick to the guiding asbestos management principles to Identify, Manage and Monitor the asbestos in all your properties. 

For further advice on managing asbestos in any property please feel free to contact the First Order Red team at any time.


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