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MIDWEEK HOME: Tightened asbestos law identifies duty holders.

WOULD you please explain the recent changes in the law applying to asbestos?

sbestos-containing materials can harm health and in recent years there have been various initiatives to tackle the issue.

These culminated in the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002, which identifies a duty holder and places certain obligations on that person.

The regulations apply to non- domestic buildings and access to themand, since May 2004, non- compliance has been a criminal offence.

Practicalguidance can be obtained from the Health and Safety Executive and it is unlikely that, if your commercial building was constructed in the past five years, you will have to take any action.

There is particular concern for buildings erected between the 1950s and1980s, although asbestos cement continued to be used until 1999.

A duty holder is required to take reasonable steps to find materials in premises which are likely to contain asbestos and check their condition then prepare a written plan to manage them, which must be reviewed periodically.

It may be safer to leave asbestos than remove it.

The duty holder may be landlord, tenant, builder or managing agent and, in some cases, responsibility shared.

Not only are businesses affected but hospitals, libraries and places of worship and communal areas of housing developments.

It is possible to appoint a competent person to carry out the work, but this does not relieve the duty holder of its responsibilities.

There is a further duty to inform those liable to work on or disturb the asbestos, who should be warned of the potential threat and proper precautions taken.

Your insurance company may require proof of compliance in connection with employer's liability cover.

ARE considering purchasing a property with another couple and would appreciate your advice on any legal pitfalls.

o take the first steps on the property ladder and in view of rising prices, joint ownership may be an affordable solution.

It would be usual for the purchase to be made so the interest of the couples is held as tenants in common rather than as joint tenants.

This has nothing to do with landlord and tenant relation-ships, but relates to the legal structure of the property ownership.

In the case of joint tenants, the survivor would be entitled to the whole of the property, whereas the beneficiaries of a tenant in common would succeed to the deceased's share of it.

What you must secure before completing the purchase of a property is a trust deed setting out the proportions in which the property is owned between the individuals, dealing with disputes and, most importantly, providing an exit strategy should any of the owners wish to sell.
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 7, 2004
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