Buying and selling homes in radon affected areas
If you are thinking of buying a home in an area affected by radon you should establish whether the house is located in a radon affected area by contacting http://www.ukradon.org/ for the latest survey information.
PHE has published reports containing radon Affected Area maps for the whole of the United Kingdom which can be downloaded at www.ukradon.org Alternatively contact the PHE enquiry line on 01235 822622. For information locally the local authority environmental health department should be able to help you.
Radon is no different than other minor building problems such as rising damp or timber rot which is routinely dealt with at the time of house purchase.
Radon should not be seen as a reason for not buying a particular house.
Is the property in a radon affected area?
- If the answer is no you need take no further action regarding radon.
- If the answer is yes you will need to seek further information.
Ask the current owner whether they have had the property tested for radon.
- If the house has not been tested, consider your options.
- If the house has been tested ask to see the test result.
- You probably do not need to take any further action regarding radon.
If the result is between the recommended Action Level of 200 Bq m-3 and 100 Bq m-3 and occupants include current or ex-smokers
- You should consider taking further action. For example, continue with the purchase but consider renegotiating the price with the seller, move in and then consider options for carrying out remedial work.
If the result is above the government recommended Action Level of 200 Bq m-3
- You should consider taking further action. For example, continue with the purchase but consider renegotiating the price with the seller, move in and carry out remedial work as soon as practicable.
If the result had been high when originally tested but the house owner has carried out work to reduce the radon level
- Ask the seller to show you the work that has been undertaken.
- Establish whether there are any running costs involved.
- Ask to see written confirmation that a retest has been carried out that demonstrates that the radon level has been successfully reduced to below the government recommended Target level of 100 Bq m-3
- Once you have confirmation, proceed with purchase of the property ensuring to maintain remedial measures; this is particularly important where a fan powered system has been installed.
- Establish the likely risk of there being a problem with the property. The local authority environmental health department may be able to assist. The http://www.ukradon.org/Radon report service can advise on whether a property is located within a radon Affected Area and can provide local data summaries. Unfortunately no information on tests in a specific property can be provided.
- Continue with the purchase and test the house once you have moved in. This is probably the best approach. You may also wish to renegotiate the price or agree a bond to cover remedial costs should they subsequently prove necessary.
- Ask for the house to be tested before continuing with the purchase. This will inevitably slow down the sale of the property. http://www.ukradon.org/can advise on measurement options.
If the house was built after 1988
- It may incorporate radon protection.
More detailed information for solicitors, conveyancers, estate agents, property buyers and sellers is contained in the BRE publication: Buying Homes in radon affected areas available from www.brebookshop.com