While asbestos is widely regarded as a construction evil of the 20th century, it’s been around far longer than most people realise. Asbestos was, in fact, used by both the Roman and Persian Empires. The substance is a great insulator and fire-resistant. It also conducts electricity well.
This cost-effective material was used to provide safe and relatively cheap insulation in buildings for several decades. But when the link between asbestos and a degenerative respiratory condition was established, the substance became synonymous with ill health and life-threatening conditions.
Asbestos creates dust — both during the manufacturing process and when it’s disturbed. In this dust are tiny and very sharp shards. Then they get into the lungs these shards can cut and scar tissue relatively easily. And when that happens, diseases such as tuberculosis and fibrosis become more likely.
Following hundreds of thousands of asbestos-related deaths around the world, the substance was banned from construction during the 1970s and 1980s. But the sale of buildings containing asbestos remained legal. And to this day, you can still sell a house with asbestos. But whether you inherited the property or bought it several years ago, there are a few things you need to know.
Do I have to disclose the presence of asbestos when selling a house?
You must inform potential house buyers that your property contains asbestos. Of course, you may not know that the substance is present. But even the most basic of surveys will detect it.
If your home was built before 1978, there’s an excellent chance that it contains asbestos. Any surveyor or mortgage provider knows this, and they will look for the material before a house sale goes through.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that failing to detect the presence of asbestos could result in criminal proceedings against the surveyor. If there’s even the slightest possibility your home contains the material, expect surveyors to move heaven and earth to find it.
But a surveyor is only expected to detect asbestos by reasonable means. Asbestos used as insulation in a loft is easy to identify, for example. But authorities wouldn’t necessarily expect surveyors to find asbestos inside solid walls or in hidden areas.
Can I sell a house with asbestos?
Surveyors are rarely experts in asbestos. They know what to look for, but they aren’t usually qualified to assess the risk and manage the removal process. If asbestos is found in your home, you’ll have to enlist the services of a qualified professional.
One of the issues an asbestos expert will look for is the state of the asbestos. If it’s in a bad way, it poses a serious health risk. But if it’s intact, it won’t be regarded as a threat. Even if the asbestos is in good condition, you must still disclose its presence to anyone who wants to buy your home.
Sell the house fast or deal with the issue first?
The decision on whether to purchase a home with undamaged asbestos is fully down to the buyer. If they want to proceed, that’s up to them — although they may expect a reduction in the sale price. If your home contains damaged asbestos, you’ll probably need to address the problem yourself. If you want to sell your house fast, however, you can. But you’ll be forced to accept a substantially reduced final sale price.
The removal of asbestos is a highly skilled and painstaking process. It requires special equipment, sophisticated precautionary measures and specialist knowledge. Expect to pay between £50 and £100 a square metre for removal of the substance. Even in an average-sized home, the final bill could be well in excess of £2,000.
Or maybe you just want to cut your losses and sell a house with asbestos as fast as possible. Flying Homes can buy your property as it is right now. This means that you can leave the problem of asbestos to someone else. We buy UK homes for up to 100 per cent of their market value. And in the right circumstances, you could have the proceeds of the sale in your bank account within just a month or so.