Health & safety – duties of landlords and tenants

Health & Safety: Asbestos and Fire Safety


Health and safety issues for landlords and occupiers

Many health and safety duties are placed on landlords and occupiers of commercial property. Some will relate to the use of the premises – e.g. food hygiene requirements for a restaurant, display screen regulations for offices with computers – but others affect all types of premises. Two important areas are asbestos and fire safety.

How the Asbestos Regulations apply to landlords and occupiers

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 provide that anyone who is responsible for maintenance of non-domestic premises has a “duty to manage” any asbestos in the premises, to protect anyone using or working in the premises from the risks to health that exposure to asbestos causes.

If the property is tenanted, this duty is likely to fall on the occupier while the lease or licence is in place. However, during void periods the landlord will be the dutyholder. Even if the landlord is not the dutyholder most of the time, it will need to ensure that the Regulations are being complied with. Before a tenant enters into a lease it will want to see a copy of any asbestos reports and plans for managing asbestos. The landlord must be in a position to provide these.

Our template leases require the tenant to comply with the Control of Asbestos Regulations and to provide the landlord with copies of asbestos surveys and other documents. Our Health and Safety folder contains a suite of documents relating to asbestos.

Fire safety requirements for commercial premises

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 places duties on landlords and occupiers of non-domestic premises in relation to fire safety. The duties include taking precautions against fire and carrying out risk assessments.

As with the Control of Asbestos Regulations mentioned above, the responsible person will be the occupier but the landlord will become the responsible person when the premises are unoccupied. Therefore the landlord needs to ensure that fire safety procedures are being followed and records kept up to date.

Our template leases require the tenant to take appropriate fire precautions and to provide the landlord with copies of risk assessments and other documents. Our Health and Safety folder contains template risk assessments, policies and records relating to fire safety.
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