The Health & Safety at Work regulations address asbestos and how property managers and landlords are expected to handle asbestos in a rental property. New laws went into effect on 4 April 2018, which you need to be aware of if you own an investment property in Auckland.
Defining Rental Properties as a Workplace
Initially, all rental properties were considered workplaces. However, WorkSafe has updated its requirements, and their policy clarification says the following:
Under HSWA landlords must ensure that, when work is carried out at their property, it is done safely and without endangering workers or others, including tenants.
Landlords must identify asbestos in the workplace and document plans for managing its risks in an asbestos management plan, if there is a risk of exposure to respirable asbestos fibres.
The question most Auckland landlords are asking is: what does this mean for me?
If you are planning renovation, refurbishment or demolition work
Create an Asbestos Management Plan
Major work will eventually need to be done on your rental property. So, if you have a home with asbestos, you must have a management plan in place. This is another step you’re required to take to ensure your property is safe and habitable.
Properties built before 2000 are most susceptible to asbestos. If your rental home was built prior to that year, there’s a good chance it has asbestos. Don’t panic. This doesn’t mean your property is unsafe to live in or that you have to remove the asbestos. You simply have to have a plan in place to manage that asbestos so that when a contractor comes over to do the renovation, there isn’t a surprise exposure to asbestos. This requirement is in place to keep contractors and tenants safe.
Identifying and Managing Asbestos
So before starting any refurbishments. The first thing you want to do is identify any properties that you own which were built before 2000. These are high risk properties, and you’ll want to know which ones that may require an asbestos management plan.
Talk to your property manager about any demolitions, renovations, or refurbishments that you’re planning to do. If you’re going to have a contractor at the property doing major work, you need to be able to demonstrate you have an asbestos management plan in place. If in doubt, best practice would be to treat any suspicious building materials as if they are Asbestos so tradesmen can work around them in an appropriate way.
If you need help identifying which properties might have asbestos and you’d like to get to work on an asbestos management plan, please contact us at Stake Property. We’d be happy to walk you through this process and keep you compliant with all current laws.