16th March 2020

The new RICS Home Survey Standard

Buyers should be aware that they will not get any guarantee or warranty from a seller as to the physical state of the property they are buying. Buyers should therefore carry out a full survey in respect of the property before exchange of contracts, so that they are fully aware of any physical defects with the property. If buyers are obtaining a mortgage, then the lender will carry out a basic valuation of the property for their own purposes but this is not sufficient for a buyer to rely on. Buyers should therefore consider having a more detailed survey carried out themselves.

Surveys and leasehold properties

If buying a leasehold property, buyers will be responsible for a share of the maintenance and repair of the building by way of the service charge payments. The buyer should carry out a full survey of the building so that they are fully aware of any physical defects with the property and any future maintenance and repair works which may be required.

New three levels of survey

As reported by Today’s Conveyancer, ‘The way in which home surveys are undertaken will change from 1st June 2020. Currently, prospective purchasers have a choice of one of four survey options: a valuation by the buyer’s lender, a RICS Condition Report, a RICS Home Buyer’s Report, or a RICS Building Survey. The new Home Survey Standard (HSS) will replace the existing guidance with a new set of mandatory requirements for RICS accredited members. The new HSS will introduce three levels of survey:

  • Survey level 1 – a visual inspection but no testing of the building fabric or services. The survey report is brief and does not give advice on repairs or ongoing maintenance.
  • Survey level 2 – a more extensive visual inspection than level 1, but still involves no testing of the building fabric or services. The report is brief but includes advice on repairs and maintenance.
  • Survey level 3 – a detailed assessment, including the inspection of concealed areas (e.g. roof spaces). Testing of services is included and the report is more comprehensive, including the scope, priority and timescale of any repairs.

The new HSS is designed to ensure that prospective purchasers have a clearer understanding of the differences in the range of surveys available.’

For further information about buying or selling a property, please contact Sarah Harris in the Residential Property team in Petersfield on 01730 268211 or email shh@macdonaldoates.co.uk. MacDonald Oates LLP also has offices in Midhurst, Hampshire.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.