The Defective Premises Act 1972 imposes a duty on landlords to take reasonable care to see that tenants and visitors are safe from personal injury or disease caused by a defect in the state of the premises. Whilst not specifically mentioned, this includes asbestos. In addition, a landlord could be guilty of a criminal offence if anyone is exposed to a risk from asbestos. 

Landlords should ensure that a risk assessment is carried out and if there are any doubts you should employ a competent contractor to carry out any repairs or other works. 

Any landlord who commissions repair or construction work has to comply with legislation which include an obligation to notify the present tenant of asbestos where the landlord is aware of this. The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 require that a risk assessment is carried out before any work is started to see if asbestos is present and to ensure that appropriate precautions are taken to deal with asbestos which is present. Special rules apply to the common areas of blocks of flats and bedsits (not to individual flats) and the landlord is obliged to investigate whether asbestos is present in the common parts. If asbestos is present, the landlord is required to monitor its condition as well as putting control measures in place. Anyone who may be at risk as a result (e.g. a contractor carrying out work) must be notified of the presence of asbestos. The measures must be kept under review; at least annually.

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