Risk reports for blocks of flats

Whether you are buying, selling or staying put, Argyll Environmental recommends flat owners find out more about the health of their block before it starts to cost money

In March, a tragic death occurred in Cornwall when a landslip destroyed a block of flats. The building collapsed due to a combination of torrential rain and an alleged subsidence problem that had not been remedied. According to consultants Argyll Environmental, UK homeowners are running the risk of underlying hazards damaging their properties and costing them money because they are not being identified early enough.

Many of the hazards which can affect our homes are invisible to the untrained eye and range from flooding and subsidence risks to landslips, radon gas and underground contamination.  As homeowners, it’s important to understand and manage these risks in order to protect your property and also ensure you are fully informed of any potential problems during the process of buying and selling a home.

Chris Taylor, Technical Director for Argyll Environmental, believes home owners should give properties an annual health check by obtaining vital property reports as he explains:“Many home owners simply don’t realise that apart from the basic land survey and check for land contamination, there are no other reports or surveys required under property law when buying or selling a home.  Underlying problems such as radon gas and subsidence can therefore go undiscovered for years, making property owners extremely vulnerable whether they are staying put or trying to sell their home.   

“Simple reports, available for less than £30, can reveal the secrets our homes are hiding and ensure both property buyers and sellers have the right information before committing to a transaction.  That’s why we are urging property owners to give their homes an MOT this year and ensure they understand exactly what the eye doesn’t see.”

Supporting clients through property transactions, Argyll has the following advice for homeowners:

Buying a home

  • Ask the conveyancer to supply you with property reports on land contamination, flooding and subsidence so you understand the full picture of the property you are considering buying.
  • Do not rely on public websites for property data as you will have no protection if a problem is later found.  Obtain reports that include professional indemnity insurance so you have peace of mind should a problem later be found.
  • If an environmental problem is found by a report, don’t discount the property immediately.  See what solutions can be found and whether the seller is willing to share the costs of rectifying these with you.

Selling a home

  • Obtain property reports to help you identify environmental and planning issues before you put your property on the market.      
  • Address any issues that can easily be resolved before selling the property and think about compromises that could be made with a buyer if any expensive or long term problems are found.
  • Arm yourself with information that could help raise the value of your property.  Point out any strengths of the property to buyers i.e. a solid structure that should make modifications and planning approval relatively simple.

Staying put

  • Don’t assume that because you have lived in your home for years that nothing has changed.  The environment is constantly evolving and home owners should be aware of the rise of natural perils such as flood and subsidence.
  • Climate change is impacting our environment with subsidence and ground stability problems on the rise. Obtain land reports to assess the environment around your home and understand any environmental and planning issues that could affect your home now or in the future.
  • Insurance claims for subsidence and ground stability are rising and impacting on home insurance premiums.  Understanding if you are at risk and what you can do to mitigate any problems before the need for an insurance claim could save you money.

Argyll Environmental is a premier risk management consultancy specialising in environmental due diligence and risk assessment for property and land transactions.  The consultancy offers advanced flood and contaminated land risk reports for residential properties with prices starting from just £15.

Further information can be found at www.argyllenvironmental.com