Do I Need an Asbestos Survey to Sell My Flat?

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Do I Need an Asbestos Survey to Sell My Flat?
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If you plan to sell a flat, you might have heard about asbestos surveys. But what exactly is asbestos, and should you get your flat surveyed before putting it on the market?

In this blog, we’ll answer all your questions about asbestos, asbestos surveys, and whether you need to get one before selling your flat.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral widely used in building materials between the 1950s and the 1990s. It is durable and heat-resistant and was used in various construction projects, including roofing, flooring, and insulation.

However, we now have information not available back then; asbestos can lead to serious health problems and even death. This is because when they are disturbed, asbestos containing materials can release small, sharp fibres that are easily inhaled. The long-term effects of exposure to asbestos include mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, and other respiratory conditions.

There are six types of asbestos. These are classified into two groups: Serpentine and Amphibole. Chrysotile, or white asbestos, is the only serpentine type and is the most used in the UK. There are five amphibole types of asbestos, which are:

  1. Amosite (brown asbestos)
  2. Crocidolite (blue asbestos)
  3. Anthophyllite
  4. Tremolite
  5. Actinolite

While amphibole asbestos is less commonly used in the UK, it is more hazardous. They have been linked to an increased risk of mesothelioma.

In 1999, the UK banned the use of asbestos for this reason, and it has been illegal to use in new construction projects ever since. However, it is estimated that up to fifty per cent of properties built before the ban was put in place still contain asbestos in some form. This means that if you own an older property, it could contain asbestos.

Asbestos is not always easy to identify if you are not a trained professional since it may have been mixed with other materials, disguising it as a harmless substance. Asbestos may also be present in unlikely places, such as paint, textured coatings, and even tiles.

What is an Asbestos Survey?

An asbestos survey involves a detailed inspection of a property to determine whether it is present and, if so, what type it is and where it is located. There are two main types of asbestos surveys:

  1. Management survey: This survey is designed to locate the presence and extent of any asbestos-containing materials within a building, assess their condition and risk and provide recommendations for managing or removing them.
  2. Refurbishment/demolition survey: This survey is required before any refurbishment or demolition work is done on the building. It is more intrusive than a management survey. It involves sampling and analysing suspected asbestos-containing materials to identify if it is present, where it is located, and to what extent.

Do I Need an Asbestos Survey to Sell My Flat?

You are not required to have an asbestos survey carried out before selling your flat. However, it can be helpful to have one if you plan to sell a property built before 1999.

As a responsible seller, you must disclose any known issues or defects with the property to potential buyers, including asbestos. Additionally, since asbestos is a valid concern with older properties, a survey document that proves asbestos is not present at your property can encourage buyers to make an offer.

Even if you are unsure whether asbestos is present in your property, erring on the side of caution and conducting a survey is always the wise option. If asbestos is discovered during the survey, you can then take steps to ensure that it is managed or removed before putting your property on the market. This will ultimately make your property more attractive to prospective buyers and allow you to command a higher asking price compared to a property with asbestos issues that will be left for the buyer to address.

Why an Asbestos Survey is Important

Asbestos surveys are essential to identify the presence of asbestos in properties and assess its risk. This information is vital for the health and safety of anybody who lives or works in the flat, along with anybody conducting refurbishment or demolition work.

The good news is that asbestos in your property does not always mean there is a danger to your health. Whether or not there is a risk will depend on the type of asbestos, the condition that it is in, and whether it is likely to be disturbed.

Having an asbestos survey carried out allows you to identify the presence of this substance in your property and take steps to manage or safely remove it if needed. This protects the health and safety of anybody residing in the property and gives potential buyers more peace of mind when you put the property on the market.

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