The property market is rife with complications and can at times be overwhelming, but it’s important not to overlook the details when purchasing a house. Checking details about the area a property is located in should always be a top priority as buying your dream house in a nightmare location is never recommended. So what should you do if during your solicitor’s enquiries you find your potential new home is in a radon affected area?
1. Don’t Panic
A large part of Great Britain is considered to be a ‘radon affected area’ but that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t live there. The radon map that is used to estimate which parts of the country are most likely to be affected by radon is only a prediction and has no real bearing on the specific home you are looking to buy, so don’t panic and don’t pull out of the transaction.
It is very possible that the current home owners and their solicitor are aware of the radon risk in the area and have already carried out tests to check the property’s radon levels.
If they have, you need to know what the levels mean:
If the radon levels are below 100 Bq/m3 (target level) there is no cause for concern as this is below the level at which action is recommended to reduce radon concentrations. If, however, the radon test results show radon levels in excess of 100 Bq/m3 work should be done to the property to bring the radon down to below the ‘target level’.
The cost of work should be negotiated with the property price, and for reference radon remediation usually costs under £2500, although the price will of course vary depending on the levels of radon and the type and size of the property.
It is also possible that no previous test has been carried out, which leaves you with two options:
- Obtain a short term screening test: the radon testing device is left in the property for 10 days and will give a good indication of the radon levels inside so you know whether action will need to be taken to bring those levels down.
- Obtain a full 3 month test:
In order that radon testing doesn’t hold up property transactions the solicitors on both sides can agree a ‘radon bond’ wherein a sum of money from the purchase price, agreed upon by both parties, is retained by the solicitor for the 3 month period whilst testing is carried out. If radon remediation work is required, it is paid for from this sum with any leftover balance being released to the vendor once the works are complete.
Remember, if an area is designated as a radon hot spot it doesn’t automatically mean it is unsafe; testing is the only way to be sure of accurate radon levels within a property.