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Last edited 03 Apr 2020
Failure to mention asbestos
In the case of First Tower Trustees Limited & Anr v CDS (Superstores International) Limited (2017), a tenant of warehouse premises was awarded a seven-figure compensation after asbestos was discovered shortly after the lease was signed.
In reply to the tenant’s inquiries prior to execution of the lease, the landlords stated that they were unaware of any environmental problems relating to the premises. The landlords had in fact received an email from a specialist firm which reported a health and safety risk arising from the presence of asbestos.
The High Court acknowledged that landlords do not generally warrant the state or condition of premises before they are let and that it is for tenants to make their own inquiries, by survey or otherwise.
However, the statement that the landlords knew nothing of any environmental issues, when they had in their possession information that clearly pointed to a serious problem, amounted to a misrepresentation.
However, the Court found that that provision was highly unreasonable and did not enable the landlords to escape liability. The tenant was awarded the costs of the remedial works and of arranging alternative warehouse accommodation during the period that it took to complete them.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Asbestos cement.
- Asbestos register.
- Failure to notify tenant.
- Five signs you are at risk of asbestos poisoning at work.
- Material non-disclosure.
- Misrepresentation and insurance.
- Pre-construction information.
- Property disrepair and landlord liabilities.
- The risk of asbestos on brownfield sites.
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