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Buying a House With Asbestos

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7th Dec 2021 (Last updated on 22nd Apr 2024) 5 minute read

If you’re buying a house that has asbestos, you should proceed with caution. You must carry out the right steps to detect it. Your mortgage lender may even suggest carrying out a specialist survey.

Asbestos is most commonly found in properties built before 1999. It can exist in textured wall coatings, insulation board tiles, roof tiles, floor tiles, and more.

A RICS Home Survey Level 2 can highlight signs of asbestos in the home. Your surveyor may also be able to advise you on the next steps to take, before finalising the sale. However, you will need a specialist survey to understand how to remedy the issue.

  1. What is Asbestos?
  2. Does Artex Contain Asbestos?
  3. Testing Artex For Asbestos
  4. What To Do If Asbestos is Found in the Property
  5. Selling a House With Asbestos
  6. Finding a Surveyor

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used in certain building materials. It is common in non-standard construction homes because these homes have roof covering usually containing asbestos.

Whilst this is no longer the case, it is still present in residential properties. This includes corrugated roofing and textured wall coatings like Artex.

Asbestos in property is a common issue. It was used in construction as it is highly resistant to fire, and heat. It was also an affordable option at the time.

However, asbestos fibres are lethal when inhaled, resulting in serious health conditions. Mesothelioma is a specific type of cancer caused by inhaling asbestos specific fibres.

The use of blue (crocidolite) and brown (amosite) asbestos was prohibited in the UK in 1985. However, the use of white asbestos (chrysotile) was only banned in UK construction in 1999. So whilst it will not be found in modern properties, homes built before 2000 may contain asbestos.

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Does Artex Contain Asbestos?

Artex is a term used for a textured coating application on walls and ceilings in properties. It has a stippled or swirled pattern and was often applied by decorators and plasterers. This was particularly popular in the UK during the 1980s.

Between the 1950s and 1980s, Artex was commonly mixed with white asbestos (chrysotile). This was used to help thicken the product. Whilst the amount present was fairly low, it is still considered a health hazard. This is especially the case when Artex is broken or sanded down.

When Did Asbestos Stop Being Used in Artex?

Artex was mixed with white asbestos in the UK until 1984. The mineral was eventually fully banned in the UK in August 1999.If your property was built after 2000 it will likely not contain asbestos. Homes built before this date should be tested. Although it is considered low risk in general, it can be hazardous if broken down and inhaled.

Sanding or drilling materials containing asbestos can release fibres. If these fibres are inhaled, it can result in serious health risks, including types of cancer.

Testing Artex For Asbestos

If you suspect the Artex in your home contains asbestos, do not attempt to test or handle it yourself. Any work on the material must be completed by an experienced and licensed contractor.

You can have the material sampled and tested to identify the presence of asbestos. This should only be completed by a qualified specialist surveyor. If not conducted properly, you have a higher risk of receiving false results.

You will need an asbestos surveyor to confirm the issue. Depending on how extensive the search is, testing can cost anywhere between £100-1000 in the UK.

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What To Do If Asbestos is Found in the Property

If your home survey uncovers the presence of asbestos, you should contact an expert. If it is undisturbed, it won’t pose an immediate threat to your health. An expert should be able to evaluate the risk further. They should also be able to calculate the potential costs of removing the materials.

Whilst they can highlight the issue, property surveyors are not trained asbestos surveyors. A specialist can go into further detail about the risks based on the level of asbestos uncovered.

Whilst you can remove some asbestos-containing materials yourself, it is not advised. It is always recommended that you hire a trained, accredited and licenced operator.

A specialist will have safer methods of removing and disposing of hazardous material. Costs will vary but, on average, you can expect to pay at least £1,500 (plus VAT) to remove up to 20 sqm of Artex.

Selling a House With Asbestos

There is nothing stopping homeowners from selling a house that contains Artex asbestos. But, there will be some factors to consider.

The condition of the asbestos found will likely be a factor that impacts a buyer’s decision. It’s also important to note that the presence of asbestos may impact the property’s value. Therefore, this is an opportunity for negotiating house prices for those found to have asbestos. The buyer may ask you to lower the asking price in order to cover the cost of asbestos removal.

Do You Have to Declare Asbestos When Selling a House in the UK?

Under the Property Misdescriptions Act, sellers must disclose if the property contains asbestos. This has been a legal requirement since 2013. It is not illegal to sell a house with asbestos in the UK. But, a seller must disclose this information during the sale.

If you fail to abide by this law, you could risk invalidating the transaction. You could also potentially face prosecution. If the seller is unaware of asbestos being in the home, then there will likely be no repercussions.

Finding a Surveyor

Here at Compare My Move, we can connect you with up to 6 surveyors and save you up to 70% on your surveying fees. Simply fill in our surveying comparison form to get connected today and find the right company for you.

Our surveying partners have all passed our strict verification process. Companies offering Home Surveys and Valuation Reports must be registered with RICS. Firms specialising in Party Wall and Snagging Surveys can be regulated by the RPSA or RICS.

Need a Removal Company?

Once your survey and property transaction goes through, you will need to hire a removal company. Our integrated surveying form allows you to match with removal companies in just a few extra steps. We can connect you with up to 6 removal companies and save up to 70% on your removal fees.

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