Selling a property with asbestos - Image 1

Selling a property with asbestos

Posted on: 14/07/2021

Asbestos is a natural fibrous mineral that has been in use within property construction in the UK since the 1930s. It was prized for its resistance to heat, chemical corrosion, and non-conduction of electricity.

It found its way into roofs and around water pipes and electrical wires but was banned in stages, with a complete ban on its usage in 1999. The ban was a result of the carcinogenic properties of the material. Although there have been drives to remove asbestos from many commercial and private properties, there are many sites where it still exists. Identifying whether you have asbestos in your home is essential, especially when it comes to selling. To ensure this is done correctly, hire a trained professional to carry out an assessment.

  1. How to find out if you have asbestos in your home
  2. Where will asbestos be located in your property?
  3. Are you legally able to sell a property with asbestos?
  4. What are the three kinds of asbestos in homes?
  5. Will you need to have an asbestos survey to sell?
  6. Should I purchase a property that has asbestos?
  7. Is it worth buying a house with asbestos?

1. How to find out if you have asbestos in your home.

Any property built-in or before 1999 has a chance of having asbestos within it. The three main types of asbestos in residential properties are white, blue, and brown, which we describe in more detail below.

If you do believe that you might have asbestos in your home, our guide below will help you to identify which type you might have, to help with getting it removed.

2. Where will asbestos be located in your property?

Whilst there is the potential for Asbestos to be in most areas of your home, but below is a list of the most common areas that an investigation might turn up one of the forms of asbestos.

  • Roof and wall insulation
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Artex decorative coating
  • Vinyl floor tiles
  • Fireplaces
  • Roofs & roofing felt
  • Wall Panels
  • Water tanks
  • Pipe lagging
  • Gutters
  • Soffits
  • Exterior window panel

3. Are you legally able to sell a property with asbestos?

There is no law preventing the sale of a property that contains asbestos, but you are legally required to disclose that asbestos is present on the property. If you fail to do so, you risk running afoul of the Property Misdescriptions Act from 2013. However, if you buy a property and later discover the existence of asbestos and the seller had no reasonable way of knowing that it was there, there is not a lot that you can do. Additionally, this should have been discovered by your chartered surveyor.

4. What are the three kinds of Asbestos in homes?

There are 3 main types of asbestos

  1. Brown Asbestos: This form of asbestos is called Amosite. It is particularly strong and was commonly used in cement sheets and for insulation of water pipes and electrical cables. It is very heat resistant.
  2. White Asbestos: Properly known as Chrysotile, it was the most commonly used type of asbestos. It consists of fine fibres and is resistant to heat transfer, thus making it a great insulator. It is commonly found in cement and roofing material.
  3. Blue Asbestos: Blue Asbestos is Crocidolite, a very thin fibred material. The fibres are brittle and can easily break down, which can release a toxic cloud of sharp dust particles that can become lodged into the lungs. Exposure to this dust is increasingly dangerous over time.

All forms of asbestos are a threat to human health due to the release of hazardous fragments as they break down. Due to the health hazard posed, you will require a specialist asbestos removal company to locate and remove any of the material from your home.

5. Will you need to have an asbestos survey to sell?

You do not have to get an asbestos survey done, but it is worth noting that these typically only cost you around £85 to procure. You might be asked to do such a survey as a condition of sale of your property, but it will be up to you whether you decide to go ahead with the sale, though there is little reason to refuse.

6. ​Should I purchase a property that has asbestos?

The history of asbestos is enough to scare many prospective buyers. Asbestos is a hazardous material that is dangerous to human health, so it is right to be cautious when considering a property with asbestos. It is only dangerous though when disturbed as this can lead to the fibres being inhaled.

As asbestos remains relatively common in many homes in the UK, there is every chance that a property you are considering to purchase may have some asbestos within it. You should not be immediately put off by asbestos, but you must know not to disturb it in situ, and to plan a removal strategy with a specialist.

7. Is it worth buying a house with asbestos?

Whilst it is something to be mindful of, don't automatically be put off if the property has asbestos. There are inherent costs in properly removing asbestos from the property, but this can often be a tool to leverage a better purchase price, therefore making the actual cost of asbestos removal negligible.

If you are looking to sell a property where asbestos may be an issue and you struggle to find buyers, or you are looking for a fast sale, Quick Property Buyer can help. We will carry out a RICS survey and can advise you on the best course of action for removing any asbestos that is discovered and we can then go on to buy your property for cash, completing in a timescale that suits you. Get in touch today to find out more.

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