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Background

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 – Your Duties as a Landlord

The Use and Control of Asbestos

Asbestos was commonly used in building materials, insulation and electrical products. Many industries utilised asbestos for its properties, which included its ability to withstand extreme heat and its tensile strength.

In 1930, a government-led report linked exposure to high concentrations of asbestos to asbestosis – a serious and long-term lung condition. This led to various legislation controlling the use of asbestos in factories, although it is widely appreciated that it did not go far enough to protect those working with asbestos. It wasn’t until 1985, that the government officially banned production and use of blue and brown asbestos, with all types subsequently banned by 1999. It is now recognised that certain types of lung cancers can now be linked to asbestos, affecting those who worked with asbestos and their families who may have also been exposed.

Your Obligations

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012) imposes a duty to manage asbestos in non-domestic premises. These can include common areas in certain domestic properties such as purpose built or converted flats, offices, shops or storage facilities. You may be the duty holder under this regulation if you are:

  • A freeholder and landlord of tenancies in these types of premises; or
  • An organisation that has a clear responsibility for the maintenance or repair of these types of premises.

As a dutyholder, you are required to:

  • Determine whether asbestos is present;
  • Assess the risk;
  • Implement an action plan, containing measures to manage the risk; and
  • Provide information to others who are likely to disturb the asbestos.

To determine whether asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are present, in order to comply with your obligations, you can obtain a survey to locate ACMs and record what, where and how much there is and what condition it is in. There are two types of surveys:

  • A Management Survey – This locates ACMs that could be damaged and disturbed by normal activities and involves minor intrusion and interruption to the ACMs to make the assessment. It can be used to guide you in terms of prioritising any remedial work to ensure that nobody is harmed by the presence of ACMs and that it remains in good condition.
  • The Refurbishment/Demolition Survey – This is required where the premises (or part of it) requires improvement, development or demolition. It locates and identifies all ACMs before any structural work begins and involves destructive inspection and asbestos disturbance. The area must be ‘certified for reoccupation’ following the survey.

The results of these assessments must be recorded as this will be your proof of compliance.

The Management Plan

Once the assessment is completed and the risk identified, a management plan must be created containing safety measures to manage the risks of the presence of asbestos. This should include:

  • Monitoring the condition of the asbestos;
  • Properly maintaining the asbestos; and
  • Providing information about the location and condition of asbestos to people likely to disturb it, such as the tenant or people carrying out works on the property, and the emergency services.

You must ensure that the safety measures identified in your management plan are complied with, to enable you to meet your obligations under the regulations. Further to this, ‘every person must cooperate with the dutyholder so far as it is necessary to enable the dutyholder to comply with the duties set out under this regulation’. For example, if you rent, lease or let out under a contract or agreement, the occupiers should give access to their property for you to carry out your obligations.

The management plan should be reviewed at least every 12 months, and sooner if there is reason to believe that circumstances have changed.

If you are a landlord or a freeholder, or are unsure whether these regulations apply to you, RDP can help. Contact us today on 01633 413500 or email Rhiannon.Connor@rdplaw.co.uk who will happily help you with any query you may have.

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