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Are mortgage companies destroying our building heritage?

Despite all we hear in the media about how difficult it is to get a mortgage, enticingly low interest rates are meaning that the desire to purchase is still high. The new stricter mortgage criteria has meant that mortgage providers are asking applicants to jump through hoops and often spend unnecessary money before they have even made a purchase.

For those people deciding to purchase an older property, things are often even harder. Undoubtedly the building survey will mention signs of damp and in many cases this leads to the mortgage provider asking for a full damp survey to be carried out and any recommended works to be completed before full funds are released. There are many issues with this approach: the first being that many damp proofing and timber treatment companies will miss-diagnose a damp problem in order to gain future work. The second issue which is one that we see regulary, is that the property purchasers are forced to carry out the work in a method specified by the mortgage provider- 9 times out of 10 this will be chemical damp proofing.

We have experienced such issues first hand when selling our Victorian terraced house. Our purchasers building survey mentioned that there may be signs of damp behind the kitchen cupboards. The mortgage provider then asked the purchaser to commission a full damp and timber survey and that if damp was found it would need to be rectified. We of course offered to carry out a survey but this wouldn’t be valid as we were the current owners. The outcome was that our purchaser couldn’t afford a survey or any subsequent work and so had to pull out of the purchase costing both her and us money.

How we can help

The key when purchasing an older property is to find a surveyor and damp specialist that aren’t intent on selling you chemical damp proofing and that have a solid understanding of older properties. We can offer damp surveys which are tailored to your needs and include full costs of any suggested works.

To find out more about how we can help please contact us on

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