Asbestos Management Plans: 5 Facts ACT Residential Landlords Should Know

If you want to rent out residential property in ACT, you must consider the risk of asbestos exposure. Australian construction companies used asbestos extensively for several decades, and if your property was built before 1980, there's a high risk you may have asbestos to manage. An asbestos management plan can help you deal with the issue, but you need to strictly adhere to state regulations. Learn how to keep your tenants safe with the five following facts about asbestos management plans.

Asbestos management plans are mandatory

Changes to the Dangerous Substances Act will come into effect from 2016, which mean that residential landlords must adhere to strict guidelines that also cover any ACT workplace. Crucially, by February 2016, you must submit an asbestos management plan to WorkSafe ACT. These plans identify any asbestos risks in your property and outline the steps you will take to make sure you manage the risk of exposure to tenants.

It's important to remember that your asbestos management plan needs to consider the real pressures that tenants may place a building under. For example, communal hallways and stairwells have to cope with a lot of footfall. As such, your plan will need to carefully consider what steps you will take to fully manage the risk of exposure in these areas. Your plan may detail multiple actions that will mitigate the risks.

You can't compile the plan alone

WorkSafe ACT won't accept a plan that you have prepared without professional help. Identifying the risk and detailing the right mitigating actions will need somebody with the right skills and experience, so even if you have some knowledge of the issue, you will still need to pay a licensed asbestos assessor to do the work.

You can find details of licensed assessors on the ACT WorkSafe website.

You'll have to keep refreshing the plan

An effective asbestos management plan is not a task you can complete once and forget about. The risk of contamination from asbestos exposure is so high that the authorities need to make sure you continue to reassess and manage the problem.

As such, you must submit a new plan every two years from the date you first sent WorkSafe your plan. What's more, if you carry out any building or renovation work around the property, you must then prepare a new asbestos management plan. It's important to confirm that you haven't done anything that will undermine or ruin the mitigating steps you had already taken.

You must quickly implement your plan

Of course, an asbestos management plan is not just a token exercise, and you must carry out all the steps identified in the plan that you send to WorkSafe ACT. In fact, you must arrange all specified work within six months of the date when you send the management plan to WorkSafe ACT. This includes cleaning, sealing or simply labelling hazardous areas. What's more, you must make sure that a licensed asbestos removalist carries out any work specified. You cannot do the work yourself, as you need special training and equipment to safely handle asbestos.

You must share asbestos information with tenants

Residential tenants have a right to know if there is asbestos in your property. While your asbestos management plan may satisfy WorkSafe that you are taking the necessary steps to manage the issue, tenants must still make up their own minds. As such, you must keep your asbestos assessment report so you can share it with your tenants before they sign a tenancy agreement. You must also share the document with existing tenants renewing their lease.

You don't legally have to show the tenants the asbestos management plan, but it's a good idea to share all the information you have. If you tell tenants where they may come across asbestos in the property, you can also ask them to report any potential issues or problems they see. In fact, your tenants can actually help support your management plan because they may spot a hazard before you do.

Asbestos management plans help landlords manage tenant safety. Make sure you fully understand your duties under ACT law, or you could find yourself in serious legal trouble. For more information, you may want to contact an asbestos management company like Asbestos Audit Pty Ltd