What Property Care Issues Do Sellers Have to Disclose?
23 March 2023
Buying or selling a property can be a stressful experience, one of the most arduous someone can go through. What can make the whole process even worse is when once you have the keys, and are settling in, you discover all kinds of different property care issues that you weren’t aware of before you signed the contract.
So, what property care issues are the sellers of a property bound to disclose on the sale of a property, and what can you do to lay bare any and all issues that might be present in the property itself?
What are the Most Common Property Care Issues that Need Resolving?
So, if it’s your first time looking for a property and you are unfamiliar with some of the different property care issues that you may be faced with, here is a quick run down of some of the most common issues that we encounter on our pre purchase surveys.
Firstly, you have damp. Damp is easily classified as when moisture has entered your properties features, like its walls or flooring, when it shouldn’t have. You can split damp into three distinct categories which depend on what caused the damp in the first place.
First you have rising damp, a form of damp where moisture in the ground around your property is drawn up into your properties walls through capillary action, and is usually the result of a broken (or non-existent) damp proof course.
Secondly, you have penetrating damp. Caused by a fault in the properties features (like overflowing drains or bad guttering), penetrating damp can only be solved by mending the initial problem causing the errant water before mediating the damage of the damp itself.
Then you have condensation. If warm, dense air isn’t allowed to ventilate properly from your property then its highly likely that it will simply condense onto the nearest cool surface. If this is allowed to happen over time then what might start as small patches of resting condensation can easily turn to lasting damp – and lead to all the associated problems.
In any event, damp is a nasty and common property care issue found in all different kinds of properties on the market both before and after they are sold.
Woodworm is exactly what it sounds like – a type of insect devoted to burrowing within and eating your timber from the inside out. Despite what the name suggests, the insect is not in fact a worm. Woodworm are actually beetles, which means that once they have reached maturity and change from larvae to beetle they can spread from one piece of timber to another, compromising any timber within the property itself.
What makes woodworm so tricky is that they can appear dormant or invisible for a very long time, because they are only active in the warmer months of the year. This means that to the untrained eye, a property that appears stable and clean might start to display the telltale signs of woodworm once the weather starts to warm.
Wet rot and dry rot might sound similar, but they are actually quite different in both cause, appearance and behaviour. You can read more about the differences between the two here, but the key thing to remember is that rot is a problem that might not always be immediately visible.
Think about it this way: wet rot is most likely to appear in dank areas that have a constant source of water. A leaky pipe is a good example of a common cause of wet rot for example – and more often than not, pipes are in your walls or below your floorboards.
In many instances you could have widespread wet rot growth, and not even know its there as its all contained below your floorboards, or within a cavity in your loft, or behind the plasterboard on a wall.
Simply put, wet and dry rot are both very common, but they aren’t always the easiest things to discover if you are just walking through a property in the hopes of buying. All of this begs the question then, how can you discover property care issues in a property you don’t own – and how many of these issues should be disclosed before purchase.
Should Property Care Issues Be Disclosed by The Seller?
When it comes to putting a property on a market the rule is that any known problems are made available to the potential buyer. So, if there is a known issue with say, damp, that needs to be disclosed during the selling process.
Simply put; yes – take damp for example. It is a legal requirement for a seller to disclose damp problems to a purchaser in the UK.
However, a major problem is that sometimes property care issues can’t be disclosed because they haven’t been discovered. This isn’t down to anyone in particular, as someone cannot disclose what they do not know.
However, that isn’t to say these issues won’t, or can’t be discovered. As anyone familiar with the purchasing process knows, mortgage lenders will often require a survey to be done on the property in question before the sale and mortgage can be agreed.
These surveys are often great at discovering a wide variety of different elements present in a property, but we should point out that they aren’t property care specific. That means that if you want a comprehensive, property care specific survey you will need to engage one yourself.
This usually isn’t a problem at all, and the surveys can be done in tandem, or to complement each other if the general mortgage survey finds that further investigation is needed because of a suspicion of damp has been made clear in the original findings.
All this means is that once your pre purchase survey is complete, you are going to have all of the information on the property ready available to you – with the results, obviously, open to your exploration and future choices.
Of course, the inverse is true as well. If you are looking to sell, and you have a survey conducted which turns up the presence of woodworm, damp, or dry rot, then that information will need to be made available to the purchaser.
How Do I Arrange a Pre Purchase Survey?
The process of having a survey carried out on a property you are interested in buying is incredibly simple. Just get in touch with our team, and we can make all of the necessary arrangements to have our surveyor visit and inspect the property in question.
Don’t worry about our survey conflicting with any other surveys either. Our findings our backed by the Property Care Association (PCA), and they can be relied upon when it comes to further negotiation or if you have to make an informed decision on whether the property is still something you want to pursue.