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The recent case of Pullman Foods Ltd v The Welsh Ministers and another  EWHC 2521 (TCC) (23 September 2020) (HHJ Keyser QC) plays an important reminder to all potential tenants of commercial property to understand and review their repairing obligations in relation to buildings where asbestos may be present. It is important that you have a survey carried out and ask your Landlord for asbestos reports and seek legal advice on how you may limit your potential liability for asbestos clean up costs.
In this recent case, removal of the asbestos was reasonably required for compliance with the covenant, even if the asbestos had been present before the grant of the lease (which was not the case here). The court held that the tenant was liable for damages for breach of the covenant. The case highlights the importance of tenants undertaking environmental due diligence to ascertain the presence of any hazardous substances or contamination before entering into a lease.
If you require any further information or advice on the above, please do not hesitate to contact our Commercial Property team by email;
Nicola Crookes-West, Partner
Oliver Zaki, Associate
Gareth Maddern, Associate Legal Executive
Anastasia Davenport, Solicitor