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Asbestos (council tenants)

Asbestos (council tenants)

Many people have worries about asbestos, but undisturbed asbestos usually poses no problems. Asbestos products are found in most homes and, if they are in a good state of repair and left undisturbed, they present no hazard to health.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used in a range of building materials to make them more rigid and fire resistant. It has also been used in household products such as ironing boards and oven gloves.

Asbestos was used extensively as a building material in Great Britain before 2000.

Some of the areas in your home where you may find asbestos include:

  • eaves, gutters, and rainwater fall pipes
  • garage and shed roofs
  • roof tiles
  • flue pipes
  • soil stacks
  • textured coating (ARTEX) 
  • ceiling and wall boards
  • fire stop panels
  • bath panels
  • loose asbestos packing between floors and in partition walls
  • floor tiles

Most people are exposed to low amounts of asbestos present in the atmosphere with no ill effects. Asbestos fibres and dust are potentially very dangerous if inhaled in higher concentrations over a period of time, when they can cause serious lung diseases including cancer. The symptoms of these diseases often do not appear for between 20 and 30 years after exposure to asbestos.

Anyone who disturbs asbestos to the extent that it releases fibres, whether it has deteriorated or been damaged, may be at risk. If you undertake work that involves drilling, sawing, abrading or cutting into the fabric of any material containing asbestos, you could potentially be at risk.

What to do if you think you have asbestos in your home

If you are concerned about any suspect material in your home, consider that it may contain asbestos until proven otherwise. It is sometimes necessary for us to take a sample to identify the type of asbestos. You should not carry out structural repairs or improvements to your home above and beyond cleaning and basic decorating unless you have checked with us first. You should not sand or scrape textured coating. We will offer further advice if we feel there is a likelihood of removing or damaging asbestos products.

Any unplanned structural damage to your home, whether internal or external, that may have exposed asbestos products must be reported to us immediately. For example, if asbestos cement guttering falls into the garden due to extreme weather conditions.

Do not attempt to remove any asbestos products by yourself. Asbestos waste must be disposed of in a safe manner to a licenced site. Please do not place it in wheelie bins.

Please take a look at our guide to asbestos; what it is, how it is managed and the likely risks:

Asbestos in the home (pdf 697 KB)

Please read the leaflet before doing any work in your home.

To report any concerns about asbestos in council properties, please contact the repairs hotline on freephone 0800 587 56 59.

If you need further advice please contact Housing Services on 01246 345158.


Last updated on 03 December 2018