Asbestos is a natural mineral made of small fibres. It was commonly added to products for strength, fireproofing, insulation and noise reduction.
When damaged, the small fibres that asbestos is made of can cause some health problems, which is why we must check your home for it and make sure it’s still safe.
If your home was built after 1999 it’s very unlikely there will be asbestos in your home.
Asbestos is sometimes found in homes built between 1940 and 1980 – and some as late as 1999. Even if there is asbestos in your home there’s very little risk to your health
Most asbestos in housing is low risk. If it’s in good condition, unlikely to harm your health.
What to do and what not to do if your home includes asbestos:
- Treat asbestos-containing material with respect and tell us if you think it’s been damaged or has deteriorated.
- Contact us if you want to do any DIY in your home that might affect asbestos-containing materials, or if you’re not sure.
- In most cases, only a specialist contractor can remove and dispose of asbestos-containing materials.
- Don’t worry – asbestos-containing material is only a problem if it gets disturbed.
- Don’t drill, sand, cut or disturb an area that is known to contain asbestos. If you don’t breathe in asbestos dust, then it can’t harm you.
- Don’t sweep, dust or vacuum disturbed asbestos.
To reassure our customers, we’ve answered some of the questions we’ve been asked about asbestos in our customers’ homes.
Is asbestos dangerous?
Asbestos can sometimes be a problem if the products it’s used in get damaged.
If fibres get into the air and are inhaled they can get stuck in your lungs. This can sometimes cause an infection which can lead to more serious issues, including lung disease and cancer.
The fibres can also remain in the lungs without causing any problems. The effects vary between different people.
Why am I likely to be safe from asbestos?
Any asbestos in your home will be locked inside the product it’s used in. There’s only a risk if these products get damaged. Similar to electricity, it’s safe unless it’s interfered with.
How do asbestos fibres get released?
If it happens at all, asbestos fibres usually get released when asbestos is disturbed, for example during DIY or other maintenance work. Asbestos-containing materials in good condition won’t release asbestos fibres.
How can I make sure I'm safe?
If you ever suspect asbestos, from any damage or deterioration in your home – do not touch it. Don’t try to clean it up.
Call us straightaway at our Customer Service Centre on 0303 123 1890 and we’ll arrange for someone to come out to inspect it.
What should I do if I'm planning home improvements?
If you’re thinking of making some home improvements, always check with us first. We’ll be able to help make sure everything is done correctly and there’s no risk to you or your home.
If you’re a tenant you’ll need written approval from us before you start the work. If we need to test samples for asbestos we’ll arrange this and pay for it to be done.
Leaseholders also need written approval, but you will need to arrange surveys and removal yourself. You’ll also need to make sure any contractors used are licensed by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) for certain types of work.
If you’re ever not sure about what you need to do, call us for advice and we’ll be happy to help.
Will you remove asbestos from my home?
Not necessarily. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommend we leave in place asbestos containing materials that are in good condition. It’s safer to leave this undamaged asbestos – rather than risk releasing more fibres into the air by disturbing it. .
What if I'm a leaseholder?
Under the terms of your lease you’re responsible for all fixtures and fittings in your home. This includes Artex ceilings and floor tiles. Do not attempt any DIY on materials you suspect could contain asbestos without speaking to a specialist first. We’ll be happy to offer information and advice – but you’ll have to organise and pay for the work to be done. We are responsible for the building structure and the asbestos in any shared or communal areas, so stairwells, landings and halls etc.
Please remember anything you suspect contains asbestos is best left in place if in good condition. If you do have asbestos removed or sealed, please let future owners know so that this information can be passed on. You must use approved asbestos removal contractors. Asbestos dumping is illegal.
Get more advice
Find out more about staying safe in your home.
If you’d like any further advice or information, please contact our Customer Service Centre on 0303 123 1890.