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Broken up Asbesdos hidden in make shit airing cuboard

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424 views 1 replies latest reply: 28 January 2015

I would really like some advise please. I have been living in my house  through a housing association for 10 years.

3 weeks ago I discovered in the bottom of a very  badly made huge airing cupboard in my kitchen, broken up very old band asbestos

The last 3 weeks have just been awful. What I have found out is that prior to me moving in to the property another lady lived here who I mutually exchanged with.

what has happened is she had a blow heater system in the house when she lived here but around 1994 it blew up was condemned and removed by housing association and they made the huge aring cupboard to put in the new heating sytem ie hot water tank. When in fact what they had actually done was not take out the old blow heater system fully but left it all there with all broken up asbestos and very badley tried to cover it all up with the airing cupboard with a make shift bottom. But at the bottom of this airing cupboard was a open vent and also a open vent leading to my front room from a it , so for years I have had rubbish and dust coming out into kichen and front room but thinking it was just norm as slightly old house and now to find out  and what has actually been concealed and left open to my family and i and also the old tenennt I am absolutely horrified and cannot quite belive what has happened in my home and how this has been let happen.The asbestos has been tested and it was Amosite which was banned a long time ago. I still have half the asbestos still in the house as it has a 2 week notification period on in I had no hot water or heating for 5 days as heating broke and no one would come near the airing cupboard but I’m still living here with my children and my housing association have just been terrible about the whole situation. I’m getting no answers to any of my concerns or worries regarding our health the contence of my home as we have been trampling it about the house for years as it was coming out vents as we was unaware of what it was. We was completely clueless untill 3 weeks ago surely there has been huge huge negligence and complete disregard towards the health and safety to my children and i? Please could someone help me with this horrid situation right now and give me some advice as a tenent and if what my housing association has done is illegal? many thanks Claire


Hi Claire

This must be incredibly distressing for you, what an awful situation. Looking online it seems like housing associations dealing badly with asbestos issues is a very common problem and it’s even something that the Health & Safety Executive has reported on. Do you have anywhere else that you can stay? It might be worth moving out, even temporarily for the two weeks, if you’re finding it very difficult to be there.

From what you say it sounds like the HA broke the law by simply leaving the broken up asbestos – Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act) applies to protect householders from any risks from work activities being carried out in their homes. Where work being done involves asbestos-containing materials then the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 will also apply, in particular, regulation 11 (Prevention or reduction of exposure to asbestos). Does your HA have an asbestos management policy like this?

The problem is how you start getting anything done about this if the HA is not being helpful – as you say there is urgency now. Given the nature of the way the HA has handled this perhaps it might be worth consulting the Housing Ombudsman as this is the body that deals with complaints about HAs. They might be able to help you get the HA to take action to safely remove the asbestos.

You could consult a solicitor about a compensation claim if you do find that you have suffered an injury as a result of the way the asbestos was dealt with – hopefully you haven’t. You should be able to find a solicitor who will work with you on a ‘no win no fee’ basis so you don’t have to pay them unless your claim is sucecssful. You could also contact the Citizens Advice Bureau or, if you would prefer to try and find free legal advice, there are law centres all over the country that can offer this.

I would start with the Housing Ombudsman and hopefully they will be able to give you some advice on next steps.


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