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The Top Safety Checks When Buying a New Home in Britain

Buying a new home is always an exciting event. Whether it’s for the first time or if you’re a seasoned buyer working your way up the property ladder, buying a new home my design means buying new opportunities, new memories and new adventures.

At least it should be, but alas, in the United Kingdom as elsewhere in the world, not everyone operates ethically or to the standards that they should be. For that reason, the UK has some of the most stringent safety and compliance requirements that we’re all responsible for when buying a home, anywhere in Europe. Plus, you’ll want to make the best impression besides.

But because this isn’t the information that’s readily taught in school, we thought we’d compile a list of the top safety checks and certifications you have to ensure have been conducted, before taking ownership of your new home – and you’ll need to keep these current too.

Independent Surveys and Audits

Now, if you’re selling your home you can approach an independent auditor to survey your home and offer advice and guidance for areas that may need updating or to issue the correct certificates that confirm your legal and regulatory compliance.

If you are selling, this is a very handy tool to use in negotiating the sale of your home.

When you do instruct a qualified surveyor to conduct all the checks on your property, you’ll find that there are several types of surveys that they conduct that can uncover a range of issues you may not even have known existed – and this is where their real value is. Now, once you know what these issues are, they’ll also be able to recommend a suitable contractor or service provider to assist in rectifying these problems.

Common problems found in homes in the UK relate directly or otherwise to:

  • Asbestos.
  • Damp.
  • Electrical issues.
  • Roof problems.
  • Infestations, e.g. woodworm.

Some may also look for things like escaping from windows in a fire, lead pipes, exposed issues that can cause flips or falls, missing handrails on stairs or uneven parts of the ground and aged or breaking woodwork that could cause safety issues later on.

Then we move on to gas and electrical checks.

If you’re buying a home, you can reasonably expect the seller to show you that gas and electrical installations have been checked properly and consistently and if you are the seller, it pays to get this done as close to your listing time as possible.

Home Office statistics in 2019 reported that over 19,000 accidental domestic fires in the UK had some source in electrics. This means that if you’re selling an older home, you may have wiring that’s been around for more than 25 years, and this means that you could get into a lot of trouble if this causes property loss or personal injury – it remains your responsibility to keep all of the certifications on your home current.

In addition to these considerations, you should also make sure that you are well versed and up to date with the ‘certification’ and ‘rating’ requirements that you must fulfil when selling your home.

According to the UK website, “”, these checks are:

  1. The property must be marketed with an EPC and the rating must be ‘E’ or above.
  2. A copy of the gas safety certificate/record (annual check) must be given to new tenants before they move in and to existing tenants within 28 days of the check.
  3. Smoke alarms and, in rooms where there’s a solid fuel-burning appliance, carbon monoxide alarms are required and need to be tested when tenants move in.
  4. Any furniture and furnishings provided must comply with fire safety regulations and display a permanent label.
  5. Landlords must make sure any ‘portable’ electrical items provided – e.g. kettle, microwave, fridge – are safe. This is usually done via a PAT test every one or two years, with a safety ‘pass’ label attached to the item.

You’ll also need to get a EICR, to ensure that all of your electric work has satisfied legal and regulatory requirements.

While it’s not an inherent legal requirement, it is also a good idea to have your home checked if you mean to gain a bigger negotiating edge based on your home ‘green’ credentials. Increasing these is easier than you think, from installing a smart meter, using energy-efficient lightbulbs, installing solar panels for water heating, double or even triple glazing, and installing insulation in your home.

You can find lots of useful information for new home buyers, here.

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