All About Asbestos Fact Sheet

All About Asbestos - Plain English

All About Asbestos - Easy English

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral. In the past, it was used in building materials. But it now banned from use. Asbestos is dangerous when it is breathed in. Many houses in Tasmania were built before 2003. So, if your home was built before 2003, asbestos may be present.

Is asbestos dangerous?

Asbestos is not dangerous if it is not damaged, crumbled or crushed. This means that, while there may be asbestos in your home, it may not be a problem if left undisturbed.  However, damaged, crumbled or crushed asbestos can be a big problem for human health. When asbestos is inhaled or swallowed, the small fibres can get stuck inside the body. This may cause illness and can lead to death.

What is Housing Tasmania doing about asbestos?

We take asbestos very seriously. We know that many Housing Tasmania properties were built with materials that contain asbestos. In 2009, we looked at the properties we own to see if they contained damaged asbestos. At that time, we removed or repaired any building materials that were damaged or in poor condition.  We are continuing to work hard to remove asbestos from homes.

If there is asbestos in your home, but it's not damaged, then it can be left alone. We want you to know where asbestos might be in your home. That way, you can check it from time to time and make sure it's ok.

If you notice any damage, you must let us know straight away. A lot of the time, the areas that contain asbestos are on the outside of a home. This means they might be damaged by the weather.

It's also a good idea look out for damage when you and your tenancy officer do an inspection of your home. If we think there is damaged asbestos in your home, we will act quickly.

Sanding and drilling makes asbestos a problem

Please don't do any sanding or drilling in your home. This could create a problem with asbestos. Your lease agreement says that you can't do any renovations to a Housing Tasmania home.

What if you want to buy an ex-public housing home?

Before you buy an ex-public housing home, we suggest you talk to a builder about asbestos. Registered builders are the best people to talk to. They understand the problems with asbestos. Once you buy the home, the maintenance and upgrades are up to you. We suggest that you avoid disturbing any asbestos that is at your home.

Steve's story

Steve lives in a Housing Tasmania home. A few weeks ago, the weather was really bad. There were a lot of storms. After the weather settled down, Steve noticed that the eaves at the back of the house were damaged. He was worried that some of the lining sheets in the eaves might contain asbestos. He rang Housing Tasmania straight away. We inspected the home, repaired the damage and removed the damaged asbestos. Steve was glad that his health would not be affected by damaged asbestos.

Where to find out more

You can read our Asbestos Policy on our website

You can also visit to find more information.

More information

Other fact sheets that might be useful:

Our contact details

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Housing Tasmania - 1300 665 663

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TTY users phone 133 677, then ask for 1300 13 55 13. Speak and Listen users phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 1300 13 55 13.

Internet relay users connect to the NRS then ask for 1300 13 55 13.

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Department of Communities Tasmania
GPO Box 65

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