The word asbestos is synonymous with danger, but why exactly is this and what do you need to know when buying or selling a property that has asbestos present?
Asbestos is actually a naturally occurring mineral, rather than a man-made product, and the word is an umbrella term for six different types of material: chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, anthophyllite, tremolite and actinolite. Exposure to these materials can cause a number of problems including asbestos related cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.
Despite the risks, these materials were widely used in building up until 1985 when amosite and crocidolite were banned, and then chrysotile was banned a further 14 years later in 1999. So, in theory, if your property was built after the millennium there should not be any asbestos present, but if you want to know for certain it can be worth conducting a home buyer asbestos survey.
Where is Asbestos Found in the Home?
Thanks to its universal usage and the wide array of products that contain asbestos, it could technically turn up anywhere in the building. But some of the most common places are in roofs, flooring, airing cupboards, around boilers, behind fireplaces and around water tanks.
You should never go looking for asbestos yourself, or attempt any sort of asbestos management, if you have any suspicion that your home may contain these materials seek the help of a professional home buyer asbestos survey.
How Might Asbestos Affect Selling Your Property?
It is not illegal to sell your property if you know it contains asbestos, but you must declare it. Under the property misdescriptions action of 2013 it is an offence to withhold information about asbestos and doing so could invalidate the sale and even result in prosecution.
One option you may want to consider is a home buyer asbestos survey. This will ensure you know exactly where you stand when it comes to buying or selling a home and can prevent any unwanted surprises further down the sale timeline. If a home buyer asbestos survey uncovers asbestos you were previously unaware of, you won’t face any repercussions as there are no laws stating you should be aware of it before you attempt a sale.
In some cases, the presence of asbestos may be able to halt a sale altogether, this depends on the buyer’s attitude toward the material, the results of the home buyer asbestos survey, and the buyer’s willingness implement asbestos management. However, this completely depends on individual circumstances as there is no law stopping you from selling a property that contains asbestos.
Finding out your property contains asbestos isn’t the end of the world, and it is remarkably common in the UK, so it is just something you should be aware of and educate yourself on if you are thinking about buying or selling.