Damp showing on survey

(17 Posts)
Loveluella Tue 18-Aug-20 21:46:58

After advice please! We've had an offer accepted on a house we loved and just had the survey through. It shows that there's damp in the house and that damp proofing has previously been put in but has clearly failed.

We're waiting for the estate agent to get back to us to see if it's under warranty, but if not do we negotiate? The mortgage has been approved even with the issue but don't fancy paying out as soon as we get the house!

Not has this situation before and don't want to make a knee jerk response!


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Pipandmum Tue 18-Aug-20 21:52:55

Damp must be the most common issue - I don't think I've bought a house without it.
How serious did the survey make it sound? Did they recommend getting a damp report? This will cost (usually deductible if you hire them to do the work and therein is the conflict - they may make the damp sound worse to get the work), but will also give you a bargaining chip. Usually you would expect the sellers to pay half the estimated cost. Damp is not anything that would put me off buying a property if I loved it.

Loveluella Tue 18-Aug-20 22:06:30

It said there's been previous damp work done and that they recorded a high level of damp. Splitting costs seems a fair approach - don't want to get lumbered with a huge fee but equally I imagine a lot of houses have it if they're not new?

It also referenced some textured walls could have asbestos - again they indicated this is fairly normal?

So new to this!

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cattasaurus Tue 18-Aug-20 22:07:46

I brought a house with "damp" in all honesty it depends what they mean. Visible signs of mould or crystaline structures on the wall not great. If it's just a "damp meter" reading which are normally only calibrated for wood indicating there is damp then i wouldn't be so concerned. Many houses with previously used chimneys will show high damp meter readings when the probes are reading salts from burning coal in the house. Certainly i would use an independent damp surveyor no-one who would have any conflict of interest. And be conservative in your treatment of it. why pay for damp proofing if fixing the gutter and downpipe or simply airing the house would be sufficient.

gingercatsarebest Tue 18-Aug-20 22:08:02

How old is the house

Loveluella Wed 19-Aug-20 06:42:15

Thanks, sounds like a independent report is the way to go

The house is about 90 years old I think

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nomorespaghetti Wed 19-Aug-20 07:03:01

Our house (1910 build semi) showed damp from a damp-meter reading on the survey. We’re in Manchester where you’d be hard pushed to find a house without a bit of damp! We had some budget put aside for a new DPC, but in the end we didn’t do it. The house doesn’t feel damp, there are no patches or mould, it’s well heated and ventilated and there are no issues. Been here 5 years now.


gingercatsarebest Wed 19-Aug-20 07:11:31

This may be useful

cattasaurus Wed 19-Aug-20 07:49:23

I used the YouTube videos from Peter ward (him of heritage house) and they managed the "damp" fine. Basically stop sealing in moisture allow walls to breathe and fix guttering and drains.

WoolyMammoth55 Wed 19-Aug-20 09:01:06

Hi OP, we moved in a year ago to a 1930s house with a survey flagging damp (previous failed damp treatment!) and also mentioning asbestos. We basically ignored both on advice from a chartered surveyor friend and my brother who used to work in commercial asbestos removal.

We did renegotiate the price after the survey but it was more due to the ancient electric consumer unit meaning we needed to re-wire the whole house, and some concerns with the roof that will sometime in the next 10 years cost us £10K ish to replace...

You can ask the vendor to give access to a local damp proof tech to quote for remedial works and use that as a negotiating tool if you want. Depends how much it worries you. We (as others have said) open our windows a lot, like to live in a well-aired house vs a stuffy one, and have a good efficient heating system so it's not an issue for us. Our vendor was elderly and on a low income and clearly didn't ventilate or heat the property well...

As for the asbestos, I think they have to mention it whenever there's an older house with textured walls or ceilings. In reality it's a very small chance that the texture is in fact asbestos but where we had texture on the ceilings we covered with plasterboard rather than it chipping off - means lower labour costs and avoids the risk since asbestos behind paint is not dangerous, only particles of it in the air can cause harm.

Lastly - if you have any doubts do call your surveyor and ask them questions directly - you have paid them for this survey and you deserve to understand what the implications of it are! Best of luck <3

FreshfieldsGal Wed 19-Aug-20 09:29:42

If you're concerned then definitely get an independent damp survey. Lots of damp proofing firms offer free surveys which show up damp issues thus creating work for themselves.
Independent survey around £400 I think.

Lots of times the damp discovered is due to poor ventilation rather than actual damp. Was there any visible signs eg wet patches on walls, mould, etc?

Fleurchamp Wed 19-Aug-20 09:53:48

I live in a Victorian house and when we bought it damp was flagged as an issue.
We got three different companies round to provide a survey and an estimate. All three came back with slightly different results!!
We reduced the price for that and some other works which were flagged in the survey.
Tbh I think damp is just in the nature of the house - as a PP said, you need to ventilate and heat the property well to avoid it. Our chimney breast also gets damp (it never came up in any of the surveys) which was to do with the plaster we used when we redecorated and it does not allow the wall to breathe. It has never impacted our life.
We are selling at the moment and I just know this will come up in the survey. I am prepared to take the hit on the cost (ours was something like £2k in total) but I actually think most of the remedies are useless.
I doubt any old houses are free of damp.

PigletJohn Wed 19-Aug-20 10:57:07

The previous treatment might have been a chemical injection.

A 90-year old house might have leaking waterpipes, broken drains, blocked airbricks or a dripping gutter. Chemical injections do not repair any of these faults. But for some reason they often satisfy mortgage lenders.

Loveluella Wed 19-Aug-20 12:18:17

Thanks all you've reassured me it's not all doom and gloom!

The estate agent is speaking to the vendor to check certificates/warranties etc so we'll go from there

There was no visible damp and no smell so I'm hopeful it's more condensation and poor ventilation. There is a tenant in at present so may be less care taken than if it was your property.

I'll give the surveyor a call too to gather their thoughts.

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Darcysshirt Wed 19-Aug-20 13:56:56

I echo PPs comments - you have to find out what's causing the damp. Also so many problems in old houses seem to be caused by using modern materials that stop the walls breathing as they were designed to.

user1471538283 Wed 19-Aug-20 14:42:14

You absolutely negotiate the price. Our house supposedly had a spot of damp. What it had was historic damp covered up which meant virtually rebuilding the bay and having new joists and floorboards. I wish I had insisted on a much bigger reduction

Loveluella Wed 19-Aug-20 21:01:12

The owner has replied and they're speaking to the company that originally did the damp proofing. Hopefully it's under warranty... but at least I'm feeling less pessimistic!

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