Updated: January 17, 2022

Mortgages for Properties With Asbestos

Worried that asbestos might scupper your mortgage plans? That doesn’t have to be the case! Read our guide to find out how to get approved.

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Expert

Updated: January 17, 2022

It can be worrying to find out that your dream home contains asbestos, as it means some mortgage lenders will refuse to help you buy it. But don’t panic, because there are lenders who will consider mortgaging properties with asbestos.

In this guide, you’ll find out everything you need to know about buying a house with asbestos and how the right mortgage broker can help you secure the finance you need.

Can you get a mortgage on a property that has asbestos?

Yes, you can. Despite the dangers of asbestos, many properties in the UK ⁠— especially older ones ⁠— still contain it, so a blanket ban on mortgaging these homes isn’t feasible.

So while some lenders outright refuse to lend on properties containing asbestos, others are more flexible and will simply want to see a survey on the condition and location of the asbestos.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a material that was regularly used in building UK homes for decades as insulation and for fireproofing. Asbestos was used in cement, roof tiles and even paint.

However, in 1999 it was discovered that inhaling fibres of asbestos can cause serious damage to the lungs, leading to illness and potentially death. Disturbing or damaging the asbestos can release tiny fibres into the air, creating health risks.

After this discovery, asbestos was banned from use in properties. Unfortunately, many homes in the UK built pre-2000 still contain traces of it.

Where is it found?

Asbestos is most commonly found in homes built between 1930 and 1950. While it wasn’t banned until 1999, housebuilders mostly stopped using asbestos in the 1970s.

But in homes where it was used, asbestos can appear throughout a building, including the roof. The common areas where asbestos can be found include:

  • Ceilings
  • Garage and shed roofs
  • Loft insulation
  • Around boilers, ducts and pipes
  • Partition wall packing and loft insulation
  • Fireplaces

One of the most common places to find asbestos is in roof tiles. Thankfully, asbestos roof tiles pose less of a health risk because they are less likely to be disturbed (as long as the roof is in good condition), so properties with this issue can be more easily mortgaged.

However, even if your property only has asbestos roof tiles, it is still recommended to get a full house survey to prove to lenders that asbestos is not present anywhere else in the house.

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How a broker can help you get approved

If you’re thinking of buying a house with asbestos, be aware that many lenders will refuse to consider your mortgage application at all. Even those who do consider lending on properties with asbestos may reject your application depending on what risk the asbestos poses.

However, a mortgage broker can help direct you to lenders whose guidelines are more lenient and will be more likely to accept your application. A broker can also help you to organise a survey that will establish whether or not the asbestos needs to be removed.

It’s important that you speak to an advisor who specialises in arranging asbestos mortgages, whom you may not find by approaching any advisor at random. That’s why our broker-matching service can be very helpful, as it will quickly assess your circumstances and pair you with a broker who has the right knowledge and skills you need.

Call us today on 0808 189 0463 or make an online enquiry to set up a free, no-obligation chat with a broker who specialises in securing finance for these types of properties.

Which lenders will approve you

The good news is that there are lenders willing to offer mortgages for properties with asbestos, including high street names such as Nationwide, Santander and Natwest. However, their criteria varies, and some warn that their final decision will depend on the asbestos survey.

For instance, TSB says it will consider properties with asbestos as long as it is not present in load bearing structures, while Barclays says it will decline mortgage applications where asbestos poses a serious risk to health or significantly impacts a property’s valuation.

But there are also high street banks that will simply refuse to lend on properties with any asbestos. For instance Halifax, Virgin Money and Metro Bank all state they will not lend on properties where asbestos is identified.

Applying for a mortgage with a lender who does not accept properties with asbestos means you will be rejected, which will leave a mark on your credit report. This could jeopardise your future chances of getting a mortgage.

As such, it’s important to speak to a specialist asbestos mortgage broker, as they will make sure you approach the right lenders who are more likely to approve your application.

Why does asbestos make it more difficult to get a mortgage?

Removing asbestos can be very expensive, and many lenders will factor this cost into the valuation of a property. Similarly, if they have to repossess a property, the presence of asbestos will make it harder to resell. Due to these issues, plus the health risks and its impact on property prices, lenders are cautious to offer these mortgages.

However, much of the risk depends on the location of the asbestos and how likely it is that it will be disturbed. The criteria for whether a property with asbestos is mortgageable will vary from lender to lender.

What to do if you think your property has asbestos

If you suspect the property you’re looking to buy may contain asbestos there’s a couple of actions you could take to protect yourself and improve your chances of getting a mortgage.

Get an asbestos survey

All lenders will expect to see a mortgage valuation report and survey when approving a mortgage application. However, while a basic home buyers survey might suggest some of the possible areas that may contain asbestos, the surveyor may not be qualified to conduct an asbestos survey.

As such, you may need to pay for a specialist to take samples and perform a more detailed survey. Some lenders may insist on this specialised survey being carried out before making a final decision on a mortgage offer.

You will need an expert surveyor from either UKATA, UKAS, ATAC or RSPH to conduct the checks. Your local council or a broker experienced in arranging asbestos finance can recommend a specialist.

This survey can tell you how much asbestos is present and where it is, what risks it poses, and how much work will be needed to make the property safe. You may decide that there is too much risk or the repair work is too expensive and decide not to buy the property.

Alternatively, if the risk is minimal and you still want the property, you could use the survey results as a negotiating tactic and potentially get the seller to drop their price.

Consider removing the asbestos

This could be an expensive job, so it may be better to first decide whether the asbestos needs to be removed at all. You can find this out by getting an asbestos survey (see above).

If you’re buying rather than remortgaging a property, it may be possible to haggle with the seller to reduce the asking price to account for some or all of the cost of the asbestos removal – although there are no guarantees they will agree to do so.

Do not try to remove the asbestos yourself. Due to the health risks involved, asbestos removal must be carried out by a certified professional. A mortgage broker can help you to find a removal specialist.

Speak to a mortgage broker experienced with asbestos properties

If you need a mortgage on a property with asbestos, it’s important to first speak to a broker who has experience in arranging finance under such circumstances.

A mortgage broker can help you avoid rejection and unnecessary marks on your credit report by matching you with the right lender, first time. The advisors we work with have access to the entire market, including specialist mortgage lenders and exclusive deals that aren’t available to the general public.

For a free, no-obligation chat with a mortgage advisor who meets your needs and circumstances, call us today on 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry online.

FAQs

Can I sell my home if it has asbestos?

Yes, but you should disclose the fact to potential buyers. This will save time as the presence of asbestos will likely be picked up during the home buyers survey.

If the asbestos poses minimal risk, the effect on your property’s value should be small.

Can I rent out a property with asbestos?

Yes, but there are a few things to be aware of. If you are buying a buy-to-let property which has asbestos, you are legally obliged to minimise the tenant’s risk of exposure to asbestos. You will need to get an asbestos survey to determine what risk it poses.

If the survey finds that it is safe and best left undisturbed, as a landlord you are not obliged to remove it and can rent out the property — though your tenants may be unhappy living in a home containing asbestos. If you do not monitor and maintain the asbestos, your tenant may be able to sue you for breach of contract, or they may raise the issue with the local authority.

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We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with mortgage brokers who are experts in all different Property Types. Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

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Pete Mugleston

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Expert

About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for OMA of course!

FCA Disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms that are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs.

Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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