asbestos fire risk communal areas

Whether you rent or own a flat or are a landlord leasing properties within a block of flats, it is important to consider the safety, not just of the individual dwellings, but also of the communal areas in the building. When improvements need to be made to areas such as corridors, foyers and staircases it can often lead to an argument over who is responsible for paying.

It is a legal requirement to complete a fire risk assessment for communal areas in buildings where there are two or more dwellings. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 makes it a requirement for the “responsible person” to evaluate the risk to occupants of fire and take any action necessary to reduce or eliminate this risk. The responsible person is the freeholder of the entire property or their managing agent.

It is possible for the responsible person to recover the cost of surveys and work carried out from the occupants as part of a service charge provision within a lease agreement or a “sweeping up clause” which encompasses any necessary improvements to the building. The wording of the service charge provision must be clear, any costs must be reasonable and the work carried out must be of good professional standard. If the cost will be above £250 for any one occupant there must be a consultation prior to the work being carried out. Occupants can also be required as part of the lease to comply if alternations are necessary, for example, fitting a new fire door on their property.

The responsible person is also obliged to manage the risk from asbestos, according to the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. A survey is required to establish whether any asbestos is present in communal areas, where it is and the condition it is in and any measures necessary to manage the risk should be put in place.

Without these surveys and precautions occupants or visitors to the building could be at risk. This could lead to costly litigation, or, worse still, a death or serious injury. Get a quote for an affordable survey now by contacting us.

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