What to do if you suspect asbestos is in your council home and how to get rid of it.

What is asbestos

Asbestos used to be a common building material and can be found in many council properties. Disturbing asbestos can lead to deadly diseases that don't show until many years later.

Many people have concerns about the health effects of asbestos, but if left undisturbed it's not dangerous.  Most people are exposed to low amounts of asbestos fibres present in the atmosphere with no ill effects.

Where you might find asbestos

Asbestos is commonly found in the following places.


  • eaves and soffits
  • rain water pipes and guttering
  • central heating flues
  • corrugated cement sheets on garages and sheds


  • decorative coatings on ceilings and walls, often inside artex
  • linings for walls, ceilings and duct panels
  • insulation in some electric night storage heaters
  • bath panels
  • floor tiles and adhesive
  • boarding around fireplaces

Asbestos may be found in other areas not included in this list.

Find out more about how to spot asbestos on the Health and Safety Executive website.

What to do if you suspect asbestos is in your home

If you think you've found asbestos in your council property stop any work and contact the Customer Services Centre, and ask for the Council Housing Repairs Team, on 0117 922 2200 between 8.30am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.

We'll check our asbestos register to see if asbestos has been recorded at your home in the past.  We might need to carry out a survey and take samples to check if there is asbestos in your home. We'll do this for free.

Doing DIY when asbestos is present

You may need to get permission from us if you're carrying out alterations to your home.

Once we've received your form we'll look at the work you want to do and check the asbestos register.

If you're planning on decorating, extra care is needed is needed if you have asbestos in your home.

This includes:

  • don't drill, cut or sand any materials that you think contains asbestos
  • use hand tools instead of power tools
  • wear disposable overalls and a dust mask CE marked to EN149 with FFP3
  • keep other people away from the work area
  • keep the material wet to avoid producing dust

When you've finished the work:

  • clean up carefully: try hiring a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter for clearing any dust
  • take off your overalls carefully to avoid raising any dust
  • put your overalls and any other rags or cleaning materials in a double bag clearly marked ‘asbestos waste' 
  • take all asbestos waste to one of our Household Waste Recycling Centres 

For more information on working safely with asbestos go to the Health and Safety Executive website.

Getting rid of asbestos

You'll need to take asbestos to one of our Household Waste Recycling Centres at St Phillips or Avonmouth. 

Before you leave, check that there is enough space in our storage skip by calling the Customer Services Centre on 0117 922 2100 between 8.30am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.

Find out about hazardous household waste