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Inaction by the landlord

This content applies to England & Wales

Action a tenant can take if her/his landlord fails to respond, or responds inadequately, to the presence of asbestos. The remedies below are in addition to those explained above.

Complaints to the Ombudsman

A local authority or registered social landlord should have a complaints procedure that the tenant can use. A complaint will most likely be investigated by an officer of the organisation who has not been involved in the matter already.

If the tenant is not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint, or the landlord does not have a complaints procedure, the tenant could approach the Ombudsman. For a local authority, s/he should approach the Local Government Ombudsman; for a registered social landlord, s/he should approach the Housing Ombudsman Service. The Ombudsman will investigate the case, and if maladministration is found, s/he is likely to recommend that the landlord takes certain actions and pays compensation to the tenant.

In one case, the Local Government Ombudsman ordered Southwark Council to pay compensation to a tenant who had waited eight months for damaged asbestos to be dealt with. The Ombudsman also criticised the council for not implementing its asbestos policy, and for only writing to new tenants about the risks posed by asbestos.[1]

Joint tenant action

There are a number of cases where joint tenant action has persuaded a landlord to deal with asbestos. For example, in 1995, the Tenants' Association on the Heygate Estate in the London Borough of Southwark compelled the council to remove asbestos from some high-risk areas and distribute a leaflet to all tenants advising against DIY work that may cause asbestos dust.

[1] Ombudsman Complaint 88/A/1336.


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