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Property/DIY

Should we be hiding damp issue

30 replies

TheOP2 · 25/02/2024 17:31

The house is a very old (1900s) cottage which is up for sale. I bought the house about 12 years ago and hubby has lived here for about 4. I've noticed that one wall is very wet and water must be getting in from outside. I've spent years and £1000s trying to get the house damp free with little result! As it's up for sale hubby has been lathering on damp proof paint which has obviously helped but it's just masking the issue!! I think doing this is hiding the issue from buyers which I feel is un ethical... He thinks this is absolutely normal and moral ... Who's right,!?!?

OP posts:
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Yummymummy2020 · 25/02/2024 17:41

I wouldn’t feel right doing it but I’m sure people hide damp all the time.

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ClematisBlue49 · 25/02/2024 17:47

I think legally it's a case of caveat emptor, so your DH is technically correct. It is down to the buyers to get a survey and any specialist reports on aspects of the property they might be concerned about. A house of that age is always going to have some damp, so it's not the end of the world, but it's likely that buyers will want a Level 3 survey, and I would expect it to be picked up, even if you've covered the obvious signs. There may also be enquiries from the solicitor about previous works carried out.

NB If you did get away with it and it came to light later that you had lied about a problem when asked, then you might have problems in the future. So I think the best approach is to be honest, without actively pointing out problems.

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spottedinthewilds · 25/02/2024 18:03

If the buyer has any sense they will get a decent survey which will probably find it. If not, they need to bring it up with their surveyor.

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Twiglets1 · 25/02/2024 18:12

It is morally questionable but tbh I would slather on the damp proof paint. I wouldn't kid myself it was perfectly moral though. It isn't, but caveat emptor, as @ClematisBlue49 says.

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lemmefinish · 25/02/2024 18:20

I thought you had to declare damp nowadays as you tick the box to say if you have it or not?

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CharmedCult · 25/02/2024 18:23

Anyone sensible buying a 1900’s cottage will get the highest level of survey done, so they’ll find out about it then anyway.

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lemmefinish · 25/02/2024 18:23

Or do people lie when they tick the box?

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Twiglets1 · 25/02/2024 18:24

lemmefinish · 25/02/2024 18:20

I thought you had to declare damp nowadays as you tick the box to say if you have it or not?

Must be nice to have such faith in people's honesty in ticking those boxes. I'm cynical and always assume people won't declare anything that will prevent them selling their property unless they absolutely have to because there's a formal record of it somewhere.

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ClematisBlue49 · 25/02/2024 18:26

I've just gone through the forms I had to complete and the only reference to damp is to ask if there are any warranties for any damp proofing work done. It doesn't ask if there is damp in the property - that is for the surveyor to pick up.

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lemmefinish · 25/02/2024 18:29

I looked at one house & the EA told us about the damp during the viewing besides it's something I would always ask about.

If I received a survey on a house that showed damp & it transpired that the sellers had covered it up I would walk away personally. And it's not something I would do. You have to be a little trusting as the whole process requires it if you want it to run smoothly.

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Tiredgrumpyhormones · 25/02/2024 18:31

sold my 150 year old house last year. There was damp in a few places especially the basement which was a bedroom. Not serious damp but patches.

I didn’t hide it on viewings and certainly didn’t point it out unless someone asked. The person who bought my house didn’t get a survey.

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ClematisBlue49 · 25/02/2024 18:34

@lemmefinish , morally I agree with you. After my previous buyer pulled out citing damp as an issue, I had my own damp report done. As it turned out there were no major issues and I have since shared it with my current buyer when they asked why the previous sale failed. (I assume the previous buyer had other reasons and used that as an excuse to pull out.) I'd just rather be as honest as possible. I wouldn't necessarily pull out if I found that a vendor had attempted to cover it up though - I would just reduce my offer.

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caringcarer · 25/02/2024 18:41

lemmefinish · 25/02/2024 18:20

I thought you had to declare damp nowadays as you tick the box to say if you have it or not?

You do. Have you tried an industrial dehumidifier to suck out any damp. Then check drainpipes, lose tiles etc.

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Quitelikeacatslife · 25/02/2024 18:44

I'd always get a damp survey separate to home buyers survey on old house. You could get one to pre empt any questions or just be aware that you may need to knock money off

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ClematisBlue49 · 25/02/2024 18:51

caringcarer · 25/02/2024 18:41

You do. Have you tried an industrial dehumidifier to suck out any damp. Then check drainpipes, lose tiles etc.

Whereabouts does it have to be declared? It isn't a question on the Property Information Form. I'm in England though - it may be different elsewhere.

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lemmefinish · 25/02/2024 18:52

I thought I had to tick it on my last sale (3 yrs ago) but maybe I'm misremembering

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lemmefinish · 25/02/2024 18:54

@ClematisBlue49 agree, particularly if you're in a chain I just want it done & dusted so honesty upfront for me!

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Tel12 · 25/02/2024 18:56

I would have thought that a survey would show up any damp issues. A lot of older houses were built without a damp course.

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caringcarer · 25/02/2024 19:24

ClematisBlue49 · 25/02/2024 18:51

Whereabouts does it have to be declared? It isn't a question on the Property Information Form. I'm in England though - it may be different elsewhere.

I'm sure I had to tick a box to say there were issues not declared.

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caringcarer · 25/02/2024 19:25

caringcarer · 25/02/2024 19:24

I'm sure I had to tick a box to say there were issues not declared.

There were no issues not declared.

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ClematisBlue49 · 25/02/2024 19:34

@caringcarer , it's definitely not there now. Thinking about it, expecting the householder to know whether there are damp issues would not be reasonable as often it's not obvious, and sellers aren't qualified surveyors (hence the role of the surveyor to identify anything that impacts on the selling price / structure of the property).

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mummymayhem18 · 25/02/2024 19:41

Yes you do have to declare any damp problems to potential buyers.

Should we be hiding damp issue
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TraitorsGate · 25/02/2024 19:43

Surely damp proof paint just stops the damp wall breathing and dring out. What are the walls made of, isn't it better to ask a builder to rectify the water penetrative, clear the gutters etc.

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ClematisBlue49 · 25/02/2024 19:55

@mummymayhem18 , I've gone through every question on the TR6 form and the only mention of damp is under Q5.1: Does the property benefit from any of the following guarantees or warranties? Item (b) refers to damp proofing. So, for example, if a damp proof course had been put in, paperwork would need to be supplied.

The first link in your search is the Open Property Group, which is a property buying company. They have a vested interest in convincing sellers to use their services. There is no mention of the requirement to declare a damp issue on the Homeowners Alliance website, or anywhere else that I could find. But personally, I would not want to hide it either.

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SarahAndQuack · 25/02/2024 20:40

I think you're being a bit sharp, yes.

But TBH, any sane person and their surveyor will notice a newly-painted wall, especially painted with dodgy damp proof paint, so it's not as if you are really hiding the issue. It might well be that clue up buyers would want you to lower the price to account for removing the paint.

If the house is 1900s as in built just over a century ago, it is not 'very old'. Around 1 in 5 homes in the UK were built before 1919, and the majority of those are Victorian. A house build in 1900 may well have been built using old methods and may need traditional repairs (ie, not slapping damp-proof paint on it), but it's not so old that you can assume all buyers will treat damp issues as par for the course.

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