Many home buyers are put off by the idea of buying a property simply at the mention of the word ‘asbestos’. But is asbestos really all that dangerous? And should you give up on your dream home because it contains asbestos? Here we take a look at some of the key facts surrounding properties that contain asbestos.

Is it illegal to sell a home with asbestos?

Some new home buyers believe that it is impossible that they could buy a home that contains asbestos. Asbestos was completely banned in 1999, after all, so surely selling a property that contains asbestos is impossible, right? In fact, this isn’t the case at all. Asbestos was indeed banned from use in 1999, but there are still a huge number of properties that contain asbestos. Indeed, many homeowners may be living in a property that contains asbestos without even knowing that it is there.

If homeowners are aware of any asbestos in their property, they are legally required to disclose this information to potential buyers. As long as the material is in good condition, then the property can still be legally sold. It is only when asbestos is dangerous and poses a danger that selling the property can become complicated.

When is asbestos dangerous?

Asbestos is only dangerous when the material has been damaged or is in poor condition – any time when it is possible for asbestos fibres to be dislodged into the air where they can be breathed into the lungs.

So, if you are thinking of buying a property and the presence of asbestos has been disclosed to you, it can still be fine to continue with the purchase as long as the asbestos isn’t causing a threat to human health. Of course, it should be noted that asbestos does deteriorate over time, and if you do eventually need to take steps to have the asbestos removed, this can be expensive, as well as disruptive to your day-to-day life.

What steps can you take?

In any case if you are thinking of buying a property it is an excellent idea to have a specific asbestos survey carried out. In the case that there is asbestos somewhere in the property that the homeowners do not currently know about, a survey can reveal its location and potentially make it possible for you to negotiate a lowering of the asking price.

It can also help you to understand the condition of the asbestos and can give you an understanding of the kind of remedial costs that you could expect if you eventually needed to have the asbestos removed.

Should you buy a home that contains asbestos?

Ultimately, asbestos that is in good condition needs to be treated as an inconvenience rather than a reason not to purchase. Discovering that the property contains asbestos could give you the option to negotiate a reduced price.

However, if the asbestos is poor condition you need to strongly consider either having the current owner remove the asbestos at their expense before you commit to the purchase, or negotiate a heavy reduction in the cost to allow you to pay for these essential works to take place.