Commercial rental property: landlord and tenant responsibilities

Manage asbestos in rented business property


Whoever is responsible for maintaining all or part of the commercial property must also manage any asbestos in the premises.

Depending on the terms of the rental lease, managing asbestos could be the responsibility of the tenant or the landlord (or managing agent). When maintenance responsibilities aren't clearly stated, the legal duty rests with the party which has the most control over the property.

Legal duties for managing asbestos on commercial property

If you hold this legal duty for managing asbestos on the business property, you must:

  • Take reasonable steps to determine the location and condition of materials likely to contain asbestos. You may need to use an external surveyor. Find accredited asbestos surveying companies.
  • Presume materials contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence that they do not.
  • Keep an up-to-date record of the location and condition of the asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) or presumed ACMs on the premises.
  • Assess the risk of the likelihood of anyone being exposed to asbestos fibres.
  • Prepare a plan setting out how the asbestos risks will be managed.
  • Put the plan into action.
  • Review and monitor the plan periodically.
  • Provide information on the location and condition of ACMs to anyone who is likely to work on or disturb them.
  • Make sure that material is analysed for asbestos content in accordance with ISO17025, which sets standards for both quality management and technical requirements in laboratories. Find an accredited asbestos testing laboratory.

Remember that even if you aren't legally responsible for managing asbestos risks in your business property, you must co-operate with the party who is.

Tenants must allow the landlord or managing agent access to the premises to conduct inspections. If the tenant has responsibility for managing asbestos, the landlord must disclose relevant information.