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A guide to asbestos materials in homes

This page provides information about 'asbestos containing materials' in your home and aims to address any questions and concerns you may have.

It gives advice on what asbestos is, where it can be found and should a problem occur, how to deal with it.

Any home that was built before 2000 may contain some form of asbestos, but as long as it is not damaged, flaking or producing dust, it is unlikely to cause you problems.

It is important to be aware that your home may contain asbestos so you can avoid doing anything that could put you or your family at risk.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used for many centuries. It was commonly used in building materials between the 1950s and the 1980s.

Asbestos was often used to fireproof buildings but was also used as a general building material. Almost all buildings built during this period are likely to contain some form of asbestos. Products that contain asbestos can often look the same as those that do not.

Asbestos is dangerous because the very thin fibres it contains - which cannot be seen by the naked eye - can be breathed in causing damage to the respiratory system.

The greatest risk occurs when asbestos containing materials are drilled, sawn, sanded or scrubbed which may release fibres causing high levels of exposure.

Management of asbestos

What is the likelihood of exposure to asbestos in the home?

There are very low levels of asbestos in the air all the time, exposure to this low level of asbestos fibres is unlikely to cause harm to health. Many people worry about having asbestos in their homes and it is not always easy to spot materials that could contain asbestos on their appearance alone, especially if they have been decorated or covered over by other materials.

Following specialist surveys, we keep a register of properties where asbestos has been found or is believed to exist. This register is updated each time we survey your home or remove asbestos. If asbestos is found and it is in good condition, we leave it in place, which is safe. If the asbestos is in poor condition or has the potential to cause harm we remove it or it is made safe. Your tenancy agreement requires you to get permission before you carry out any improvements, alterations or make additions to your property; this is to help control and monitor asbestos which may be in your home.

Where might I find asbestos in my home?

Typical locations of asbestos materials on the outside of a property:

  • eaves/soffits
  • rainwater goods (guttering, downpipes, soil pipes)
  • hip, ridge and roof tiles
  • external storage cupboards

Typical locations of asbestos materials on the inside of a property:

  • textured coating, for example Artex type decorative coatings (prior to 1992)
  • fire stop panels, such as inside heater cupboards, drying cupboards and around old boilers/tanks
  • toilet cisterns
  • electrical mains distribution cupboards and fuse boxes
  • bath panels and boxing around pipes
  • ceilings of under stair cupboards
  • floor tiles and the adhesive bonding the tiles to the floors

Advice and Guidance

We seek to maintain all of our properties to a high standard and any materials containing asbestos are most likely to be in good condition and are unlikely to pose any significant risk to your health. However, you could be potentially at risk when carrying out DIY or minor building repairs. Please read the following guidance and if you are at all concerned, please contact our Repairs and Maintenance Team on 0191 561 2715 or email

What do I do if material containing asbestos is damaged?

  • contact us immediately and explain the problem
  • do not attempt to repair any damage or clean up any debris yourself
  • do not sweep up or use a domestic vacuum cleaner, as this could lift any potential asbestos fibres into the air

What do I do if I want to decorate?

Some older forms of decorative coatings, such as Artex type decorative coatings are known to contain small amounts of asbestos. Contact us immediately if they have been disturbed or damaged.

Do not attempt to remove or sand the surface of these types of coatings ahead of redecorating.

What do I do if I want to make alterations to my home?

You must not carry out structural alterations or improvements to your home unless we have given you permission. Please seek guidance and approval from us before carrying out work.

Key messages

  • Since 1992, the use of asbestos in most products has been banned
  • Asbestos materials which are in good condition and undamaged are not dangerous
  • Contact us immediately if you believe that asbestos material in your home has been damaged

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