Housing: Asbestos

Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 30th March 2010.

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Photo of Andrew MacKinlay Andrew MacKinlay Labour, Thurrock

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps (a) local authorities, (b) housing associations and (c) owners of other publicly-funded housing are required to take in order to (i) remove and (ii) mitigate risks from asbestos in their properties; what requirements there are to provide information to tenants on the (A) presence of and (B) risks from asbestos; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Ian Austin Ian Austin Minister of State (Regional Affairs) (West Midlands), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

All sectors of social housing are covered by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) which lists asbestos as potential category 1 hazard. In assessing asbestos as a hazard, landlords need to take account of its location, potential for damage, extent of any present damage and whether it is a chrysotile or amphibole product.

Asbestos removal should be carried out in conjunction with Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance and should normally be done by a contractor licensed by the Health and Safety Executive. Mitigation of risk from asbestos is covered in the HHSRS guidance, section 4, full detail as are available at:


There is no requirement for social landlords to inform residents about the presence of asbestos in their stock. The HHSRS guidance advises that where asbestos has been identified as present, the material should be in good condition, sealed, inaccessible, labelled and the location recorded by the landlord.

Information on the risk from asbestos is available to tenants from local authorities, the Health and Safety Executive and the Direct.gov website. There is no requirement for landlords to provide this information although many choose to do so.

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