Selling a house with damp

Selling A House With Damp

Many people will ask about selling a house with damp problems, is it illegal, or will it devalue my home? Let’s take a deeper look into selling a property with damp problems.

We have enough to deal with in life without having additional worry and stress when we sell our beloved home. Discovering damp in your property prior to selling can be disheartening, however, if you follow some simple advice, it may not have to be as daunting as you first thought. Selling a house with damp doesn’t need to be stressful.

Sadly, there are many companies that will sell damp products that can sometimes be a waste of money and effort. In this article, we will look at selling a house with damp in detail and explain the best methods of dealing with it.

What is Damp?

Damp can be a nuisance but is also a common problem in properties throughout the UK, predominately because of our weather and the materials used for building houses. Damp can occur in properties of any age, new or old and is simply due to built-up moisture in the home that is unable to escape. Dampness in the home is often caused by poor ventilation, moisture ingress, defective wall ties, brickwork, stonework, flashing, guttering, or damage to the property.

What causes Damp?

There is a common misconception that many cases of dampness in a property are caused by Rising Damp. According to Stephen Boniface, the former chairman of the construction arm of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) ‘true rising damp’ is a myth and chemically injected damp-proof courses (DPC) are “a complete waste of money”.

One of the many common causes of damp in a property is due to poor ventilation, lifestyle habits, or moisture penetration. Drying clothes within a poorly ventilated room produces a build-up of moisture that can’t escape. Whereas moisture penetration can be due to dilapidation, wear & tear, defective brickwork, or guttering.

‘true rising damp’ is a myth and chemically injected damp-proof courses (DPC) are “a complete waste of money”.

Common causes of Damp

  • Building Defects – Building defects such as leaking/blocked pipes, dilapidated or poorly installed windows, missing roof tiles, overflowing gutters etc can all allow moisture into your property.
  • Porous Walls – As bricks get older, they lose the ability to keep out rainfall and cracks in the external render allows water ingress.
  • Spalled Bricks And Degraded Mortar – Damaged bricks and degraded mortar allow water to get into your home and for penetrating damp to spread.
  • Condensation – A build up of moisture in kitchens, bathrooms and drying rooms where there is a lack of ventilation. Paraffin heaters, breathing and even boiling a kettle all cause condensation.

How do you know you have damp in your property?

Damp and mould is often easy to identify. Sometimes you may see dark spots on walls or ceilings, this is often the start of damp and mould. Further signs of damp can include,

  • Damp, or very cold walls
  • Mould growing on skirting, carpet, walls and ceilings
  • Wet patches on the outside walls that don’t appear to dry out.

If condensation is left you may start to see the appearance of black spots (mould spores) and may also notice a musty smell.

Are there any laws in place with regards to selling a house with damp?

It is a legal requirement for sellers to disclose issues such as damp within the property to any potential buyers. Failing to disclose any damp problems to potential buyers may have serious legal ramifications.

Impact of damp on your health

Will Damp & Mould Damage My Home?

The Environmental Protection Agency found that 21% of asthma cases can be accredited to issues from mould and damp in a property. It can also affect people with weak immunity, such as the elderly, infants and children, who are all especially vulnerable to side effects from damp and mould.

Damp and mould can cause health issues in a number of people if left untreated. The health issues caused by damp and mould include,

  • Respiratory issues
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Rash

It is clearly far better to resolve damp problems in the home than it is to ignore them.

Can damp & mould problems devalue my property when selling a house?

The value of your property may reduce depending on the severity of the damp and mould problems.

How do you deal with damp & mould?

Any professional within the industry will advise you to have a damp survey carried out. A professional independent damp survey will highlight the true cause and source of the damp within the property, as opposed to recommending services without undertaking a thorough inspection.

All too often, there are many companies who will simply say you have rising damp, which, almost always, is not the case, and boils down to the fact that the company may be inexperienced with dealing with damp problems on a professional level.

Many damp problems can be resolved by simply adding adequate ventilation, in the form of extractor fans for example.

Can I sell my property with damp & mould?

The good news is that you can sell your property with damp and mould.

As long as the potential buyer is made aware of the issues and no attempts have been made to hide the damp problems. It is likely, the potential buyer will instruct a damp surveyor to carry out a damp survey on the property. This will determine the severity of the damp issues and may affect its value.

An alternative would be to have the damp and mould issues addressed prior to selling.


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