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  • Buy-to-Let

    Polystyrene ceiling tiles

    I've just had a quote from a decorator about painting a house I've just completed on and he mentioned that the polystyrene tiles in one of the bedrooms are illegal.

    Is that the case?

    The tiles are in good condition and I wouldn't have been looking to replace them at this time , but if illegal they will have to go.

    Does anybody have experience of this?

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    Not recommended as they 're a fire hazard.

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    I do't know if they are illegal but, if they are not, they should be. I doubt very much if you can buy them today but it may not be illegal to leave them up .  However, the consequences of them starting to melt in a fire whilst somebody is in the room doesn't bear thinking about.  I can't imagine the cost of removing them and making good in one bedroom is going to be extortionate.  Certainly, as far as being able to sleep easy goes, it would be worth every penny. Just my opinion of course ;-)

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    If you have just brought a house did you not think about it. Regardless of the cost get rid of them. If renting the property they are considered a health and safety issue and can be subject to a Improvement Notice by the local authority.Failure to comply with an improvement Notice is a criminal offence, for which local authorities can impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 or prosecute in the courts which have the power to impose an unlimited fine.

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    I believe that as long as they are not in a kitchen or a room with a fire in  there fine    I don't believe its law for them to be removed

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    I did not say it was against the law just that if renting and the council tells you to remove them under notice you need to comply.

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    I have come across many houses with polystyrene tiles; I’m told there was a local factory which produced them.

    Having done some research in a professional capacity I have never established that polystyrene tiles are illegal.  However, best advice is to remove them, especially in a rented house where the landlord has a greater obligation than an owner occupier.

    If there is ever a fire and you haven’t removed the tiles then you may have some culpability in the event if injury.


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    They were all the rage in the 60s. My dad put them up in the kitchen and bathroom, and so did my uncle, plus lots of other people. One or two of them fell down (the tiles, that is), as the glue used, I suspect, was not very good, or maybe the old plaster ceiling they were stuck to was crumbling. I think they look blooming awful and would not hesitate to rip them down. I also suspect they are treated like asbestos (I have to do the asbestos refresher course every year): if you've got asbestos in a building, provided it's all out of harm's way, i.e. sealed, and not disturbed, then it's ok to leave as is, i.e. not illegal retrospectively. But I'd still rip polystyrene tiles down!

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    Later product variants had to be fire resistant, but in reality they burn like hell. Remove at once,  if only  for the sake of good taste!

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    I agree:  remove, skim and paint.  As you are doing the whole house it won't add much additional cost proportionately.

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    We were required to remove polystyrene tiles for an HMO licence and they were a nightmare.

    We spent days scraping them off and had to get the ceiling re-plastered.

    But then we removed them from a room in our own house and they just fell off as soon as we started pulling them. We just got the ceiling there re-lined and it was fine.

    So it just depends on the glue used.

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