I'm a Property Manager. Do I have a duty when it comes to asbestos? - Healthy Homes NZ

I’m a Property Manager. Do I have a duty when it comes to asbestos?

Under HSWA, a property manager is also a PCBU and will also have a duty of care, so far as is reasonably practicable, to ensure the health and safety of everybody involved with or affected by work on the property that you are responsible for.

As the property manager you will also have responsibility for the management and control of the property with the duty to ensure the property (if it’s a workplace) is without risks to health and safety.

Residential landlords and asbestos
POLICY UPDATE: Residential landlords and asbestos

Key points

  • As a residential landlord you are the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) for your rental property. You may also need to rely on other PCBUs – such as property managers and building contractors – to coordinate, collaborate and cooperate when they share overlapping duties with you.
  • Under HSWA you have a duty to identify asbestos and prepare an asbestos management plan for work involving a risk of exposure to respirable asbestos fibres. For example, exposure is likely to occur from dust created when drilling or cutting into asbestos-containing materials. – The risk of exposure depends on the kind of work you’re planning to do. Types of work that create risk may include renovations, refurbishments or demolition work. – If the work creates a risk of exposure in an area of the property you must ensure asbestos is identified and an asbestos management plan is prepared.
  • The duty only applies: – when you are planning and carrying out the work – to the area relevant to the work creating a risk of exposure to respirable asbestos fibres.
What does the law say?

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.

What does good practice look like?

The following scenarios outline the actions you must take or ensure happen so you meet your duty under HSWA. They also illustrate that duties are specific to the part of the property where there is risk of exposure to respirable asbestos fibres.

Scenario of when you need to worry about asbestos – renovating a kitchen and bathroom

A landlord is planning to refurbish the kitchen and bathroom of a rental property. The property is of an age and type that is likely to contain asbestos. Rather than identifying all asbestos the landlord assumed it to be present and advised the tenants how to stay safe. Before the refurbishment begins the landlord must ensure all the asbestos from the kitchen and bathroom is identified and removed, so far as is reasonably practicable. The landlord must ensure the asbestos management plan is prepared during the planning stage and work with a licensed removalist to ensure the removal is carried out safely and in accordance with the regulations. In this scenario, there is no requirement to identify all asbestos and prepare an asbestos management plan for the areas of the house not being renovated because there is no risk of exposure there.

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