Asbestos and rental property

by Readers Question

10:06 AM, 14th October 2019
About 12 months ago

Asbestos and rental property

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Asbestos and rental property

I have one rental property. Purpose built in 1960s, typical construction of it’s era. I would like to highlight for other landlords their risks and responsibilities regarding this awful material and am interested to receive any advice from others who have experience. At a minimum I would recommend every landlord should carry out an asbestos risk assessment to determine if specialist advice is required. Or carry out a review before engaging contractors and double check with them that they have undertaken training on pollution prevention measures.

I have just learnt from bitter experience how it can all go wrong when undertaking some DIY between tenants. Whilst I was aware of asbestos risks generally I did not think about it in the context of my property. I was also oblivious to the extreme precautionary measures rightfully required to control asbestos pollution and inhillation. Luckily I used my common sense as soon as I realised there may be an issue – I removed a small panel of gloss painted chipboard (less than 3ft sq) , except it broke on impact and I immediately recognised it as asbestos. I immediately contacted an appropriately qualified company for advice. Not only to protect myself from harm, but also my future tenants.

I have not previously encountered any warnings about asbestos from letting agents or small contractors I have used to carry out work over the last 20 years. I suspect that DIYers are often not asbestos aware and no public health warnings are carried by the likes of B&Q and Screwfix etc. The wider construction industry has of course a well established protocol.

As a landlord I have liability. But also the Management company/Residents Association has liability for the Common Parts.

The clean-up for me is going to be expensive as it looks like it is a license controlled asbestos …I am waiting on the survey results.

Sally-Anne


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Comments

Mike Newman

13:54 PM, 14th October 2019
About 12 months ago

We discovered asbestos in the some artex walls and all ceilings when we bought a semi and had a survey. Once it was in the surveyors report we could not ignore it so we engaged a specialist. The problem came when they were unable to scrape the artex from the walls and ceilings without the plaster/mortar coming away as well. So we went ahead and stripped the house back to bare bricks and no ceilings. When you stood inside you could see the roof. However it did make the builders job easier moving walls and replacing wooden lintels. By the time we finished the house was "new" inside. Fortunately we were profitable on our other properties so were able to offset the costs.

Puzzler

18:42 PM, 14th October 2019
About 12 months ago

Undisturbed asbestos is fine, most specialists would recommend leaving it and/or plastering over it

A management company should already have a survey in place

But good call for those who have houses which are not under the remit of a management agent as are flats

Graham Bowcock

11:40 AM, 23rd October 2019
About 11 months ago

Hi Sally-Anne

Asbestos in houses rarely comes up as an issue so you are right to raise it. In general house owners have no obligation to look for it or record it (as with commercial property), but as a landlord you would have a duty of care for any contractors that you instruct. As Puzzler said, undisturbed asbestos (in sheet form, roof cladding, etc.) is generally fine; problems occur when you come to drill through it or remove it.

Asbestos does crop up all over the place and the worst is in lagging (small fibres) which creates dust. I used to manage some flats with internal asbestos drain pipes. In order to repair them there had to be a proper asbestos contractor who sealed the property off and instigated a full management plan. not a cheap thing to do (but paid for by the management company as the drains were communal).

I suspect that builders' merchants and the like have no real interest and little knowledge.

Puzzler

14:41 PM, 27th October 2019
About 11 months ago

It is also a component of Artex ceilings, so be aware that sanding down those dated swirls is not a good idea! Replastering (or boarding) over is the best plan.

John Walker

16:49 PM, 6th December 2019
About 10 months ago

Hi Sally-Anne,
I agree entirely with the advice others have offered to date, though I believe Artex post 1972 may not have asbestos in it. However, when carpenters, plumbers, electricians etc. are drilling or otherwise disturbing Artex surfaces it is better to err on the cautious side. I always had my employees and subcontractors wear disposable overalls, caps ,
goggles and masks over their noses and mouths whenever altering properties with Artex or any other asbestos containing
materials, plus stressing the necessity of careful hand and face
washing at the end of handling the material when breaks for food or drink were taken.


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