Do You Have to Disclose Damp When Selling a House?
Estimated reading time 6 minutes
Yes, when selling a house, it’s generally required to disclose any known issues with the property, including damp. Sellers are legally obligated to fill out and provide a property disclosure statement to the buyer. This document includes information on various aspects of the property’s condition, including the presence of damp, mould, or water damage.
What is damp and why is it a problem?
Damp refers to the unwanted presence of moisture in a building. It can come in many forms like condensation on the windows, rainwater seeping through the roof, cracks in the walls possibly caused by subsidence, or poorly fitted window frames, which can and will cause visible damage to ceilings, walls, floors, and furniture.
Damp will cause mould, which, if left untreated grows and causes musty, nasty smells, structural damage to the property, and health issues to everyone living there. Therefore, identifying a damp problem in your home and treating it quickly is crucial if you want to maintain your property’s value and have a healthy place to live.
How do you spot the signs of damp?
The most common indicators of damp include:
- A musty smell is often the first sign of a damp problem.
- The appearance of mould or mildew on walls, floors, or ceilings.
- Walls, floors, or ceilings that feel cold or damp to the touch.
- Dark or discoloured patches on walls or plaster.
- Wallpaper that is lifting or peeling.
- Rotting skirting boards.
- Excessive condensation, particularly on windows.
Looking out for these signs is essential for early detection, and by detecting damp early you will be able to prevent more significant problems further down the line.
What are the different types of damp?
Understanding and identifying the type of damp you have is important to get the correct treatment solution.
The main types are:
1. Rising damp
Rising damp occurs when groundwater moves up through a wall or floor. Signs include damp patches that start at the floor and move upwards, wet and lifting carpets and flooring, rotting skirting boards and tide marks on walls.
2. Penetrating damp
Penetrating damp is caused by water infiltration from an external source, like leaking roofs or faulty guttering. It’s characterised by staining on external walls, damp patches on walls or ceilings, and wet or crumbly plaster.
Condensation is caused by moisture-laden air condensing on colder surfaces. Indicators include water droplets on windows and walls, leading to black mould if it’s not treated.
4. Lateral damp
Lateral damp penetrates from the outside due to ground-level differences. This type of damp is common in basements or cellars where the external ground level is above the internal floor level. Signs of lateral damp include damp patches on walls, peeling wallpaper, and a musty odour similar to those seen in other forms of dampness. However, these damp patches typically appear at a higher level on the wall.
Is it worth addressing damp before selling?
The first thing you should do if you think you have a damp problem is to contact a company that specialises in tackling damp and request a professional damp survey to clarify the extent of the problem. The damp specialists will identify the problem and suggest solutions. They will quote for any necessary works and once you have established the severity of the damp, the cost of repairs and the potential impact on the property’s value it is then down to you to decide if you want to carry out the works.
- If the damp is minor and can be easily treated, it might be worth spending the money to address the damp and improve the house’s appeal to buyers.
- If the damp is severe and the survey indicates significant underlying problems it could be more complicated and expensive to rectify. Then you have to weigh up the pros and cons of carrying out the work before selling.
Many companies will offer a free damp survey, something worth booking if you need a little more understanding of the problem.
Addressing damp before selling, if feasible, removes a potential obstacle for buyers and can prevent your property from being sold for less. However, if the cost to rectify the damp is prohibitive it may not be feasible to carry out the works.
If you want to sell your house fast or you don’t have the resources (time, money, effort) to deal with the damp, selling the property as-is might be a better option. In such cases, selling to Gaffsy a cash house buyer can be a great solution as they buy properties regardless of their condition.
Is disclosing damp a legal obligation when selling a house?
In the UK, under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, and the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991, sellers are legally required to disclose known issues like damp. Failing to disclose known problems with damp can lead to legal actions, financial consequences, and reputational damage. If the new owner discovers the issue after purchase and can prove that the seller didn’t disclose damp and knew about it, the seller might be liable for the cost of repairs or could face legal action for misrepresentation or fraud.
How much does damp devalue a house?
Damp can significantly devalue a house. Some damp specialists indicate a home’s market value will decrease by approximately 10%. However, in severe cases, the house could lose as much as 50% of its value. In this scenario, it is usually down to significant structural damage which is why timely treatment is crucial to minimise the impact on your property’s value.
Can I sell a house with damp?
Yes, you can. While damp can put buyers off and can adversely affect mortgage approvals, selling a house with damp is still possible. Being transparent about the issue is key. Cash house buyers like Gaffsy offer a viable option, as they purchase properties in their current state and don’t require funding to buy the property, so they can facilitate a faster and hassle-free sale for problem properties.
How to sell a house with damp
Dealing with damp effectively requires a combination of early detection and professional assessment. Whether you choose to fix the issue before selling or sell the property as-is, much comes down to choosing the right selling method. Once damp issues are known they can be off-putting to buyers, selling your property through traditional estate agents may prove more challenging as it is likely to lead to lower offers and your property being on the market for a longer time.
Companies like Gaffsy offer an alternative solution for homeowners looking to sell properties affected by damp. Specialising in buying any house in any condition including those with damp issues; Gaffsy your genuine trusted cash house buyer can offer a fast, uncomplicated, hassle-free sale of your property.