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Do I Need a Survey on A Leasehold Flat?

Do I Need a Survey on A Leasehold Flat?

Key Takeaways

Importance of a Flat Survey: A property survey is not legally required in the UK, but it is highly recommended for buyers and sellers of houses or flats. Surveys are especially crucial for older or unique properties and can reveal hidden defects that might not be apparent during a casual inspection.

Cost of a Flat Survey in 2023: Survey costs can range from £300 to £1,500, depending on the type of survey, property size, and location. Smaller properties may have lower survey costs, while more significant properties with more inspection areas may incur higher expenses.

Arranging a Survey: Finding a professional or company to conduct a survey can be time-consuming. Recommendations from friends and family can be a reliable source for finding surveyors. Loftera is a tool that provides customized quotes from nearby professional RICS registered surveyors, making it easier to find a surveyor.


It is not mandatory or legally required to get a survey of a house or flat in the United Kingdom. However, if you want to avoid facing any potential problems or getting overwhelmed with the faults or shortcomings of the property later on, a survey is highly recommended.

A survey becomes more critical than ever if an old or unusual property is in poor condition. The process is pretty straightforward and does not involve much hassle. Both the buyer and the seller can opt for the survey separately, but as a potential buyer, you can ask for it from the seller, too.

When asked, the seller must provide a copy of the survey to the buyer in the form of a homebuyer report. That way, one can quickly understand the property’s condition down to its core.

But why are we emphasizing a house survey so much today? Is it that important? And, if it is, what type of survey should you go for? All of these questions are answered below. Just make sure to read till the end.

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Why is a Flat Survey Important?

Before buying a house, everyone wants to clarify that the property is free from damage or hidden problems. And that’s where a survey can play a significant role. It can decide whether you should buy the property or not.

In a survey, many underlying problems that a property is dealing with can be outlined. When you look at the home, these issues might not be visible at first.

However, if done professionally, a survey can highlight hidden defects that may lead to more extensive and more costly consequences after buying the house.

A survey can find out many problems, which are listed below:

  • Dampness
  • Asbestos
  • Structural movement of the property
  • Subsidence
  • Invasive plants
  • Other structural issues
  • Electrical issues
  • Faulty drains
  • Insect infestations
  • Issues that require roof repairs, etc.

When all the issues are listed in the survey, the buyer can set a budget for fixing the issues and adjust that amount in the property’s listing price.

Thus, while negotiating the property price, the survey can slightly cut down the price if there are any issues related to the house.

Therefore, a survey not only helps find out the issues but also plays a role in finalising the property’s price and might sometimes set the ongoing maintenance and safety standards.


Are House Surveys Required for a Newly Built Home?


Are House Surveys Required for a Newly Built Home?


It is not legally required, but house survey is something that might be worth getting. A professional snagging survey is what might be the best option for a house that is newly built.

It is best known to find out issues related to workmanship when the house was built. Defects related to common building materials, repairs, damages, or non-compliance with the property’s structure are some of the things that might get flagged during this survey.

If something comes up in the snagging survey, ask your developer to fix everything immediately before the moving-in starts. The cost of a snagging survey generally ranges between £300 and £600 in the United Kingdom.

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Get quotes from local companies and tradespeople in your area and saving you up to 40% and hours on researching. Let the Loftera experts take care of it.

What are the Various Types of Surveys? Which One Do You Need?


Types of House Surveys


House surveys are of various types, and the one you require will depend on the current condition and the property’s age.

Also, the amount of information that you need related to your house will determine the exact type of survey that would fit.

The surveys can be as detailed as you want; more details mean more money. A local surveyor will create a checklist depending on what you have asked to cover. Based on that checklist, a complete house survey report will be made. The types can be:

1.    Level 1 Condition Report or RICS Home Survey

It is the most basic survey and cheapest house survey available in the UK. Mainly known as the RICS Home Survey or Level One Condition home report, it is best suited for new and conventional properties with no prior defects.

Other than independent houses, flats or apartments are also ideal to be surveyed through the RICS Home Survey.

However, it must be noted that the RICS Home Survey is not that detailed and just a visual inspection.

2.    Level 2 Home Buyer Report or the Mid Level Survey

Those whose houses were built not more than 50 years ago can get the Level 2 House Survey. Modern properties that are still in good condition and haven’t faced any significant damage are recommended to get this survey.

While this detailed report is undertaken, the professional surveyor accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors will review the house externally and internally.

Many other areas will be inspected, including garages, outhouses, conservatories, etc., and a complete home report will be presented to the buyer. It will enlist which repairs are needed and how urgently they are needed.

3.    Level 3 Building Survey

The most in-detail survey is the Level 3 House Survey, which can be used for old or an unusual property in poor condition.

Undoubtedly, it is the most expensive survey, but the number of parameters it covers is also huge, making it a full structural survey.

Every minor detail of the older properties is listed in the home report, allowing the parties involved to prepare for the houses’ fixes or decide whether the older properties are worth buying.

Also, if any issues arise in this full structural survey, it can be used to negotiate the property’s price.

4.    More Types of Surveys

Apart from the above type of survey reports, there are many others. It depends on the property that you are interested in buying. There are some specialist property surveys also, but let’s look into some commonly used surveys only here:

·        New-Built Snagging Survey for Mortgage Valuation

This one is only for newly-built houses. So, if you are about to buy a newly developed property, get this survey done. It lists out defects related to workmanship or non-compliance in a building. After finding the defects, hand over the list to developers so that they can fix the issues.

·        Damp Assessment Survey

When buying a property, if you spot a damp, getting a damp assessment survey can be worth it. The extent to which the dampness is ingrained in the property must be brought to light before you buy the property. Dampness and moisture are major problems which people often overlook. However, this survey can make things right.

·        Listed Building Survey

This specialist survey is meant for listed properties in the property market. The survey will ensure that all the requirements are fulfilled and that there are no defects before moving in.

·        Dry Rot Survey

We all know dry rot. For those unaware, dry rot is a type of fungi with decaying properties. It can be harmful to houses if found anywhere inside or outside. The dry rot survey is meant to find the dry out in the home and outlines the steps to remove it.


What if You Do Not Get a Flat Survey Done? What are the Risks Involved?


Do You Need to Get a Flat Survey Done?


Not getting a home survey in the United Kingdom will not attract legal penalties. However, it is for your safety and peacefulness that a property survey is recommended.

People often skip a house survey while getting mortgage valuations from a mortgage lender, only to realise later that it might have been worth it.

There is no need to think about cost-cutting when it comes to a home survey because it will cost a lot more if you ignore it, thus becoming an unnecessary expense.

Buying a house is one of those rare moments in someone’s life; you don’t want to ruin it to save money.

A property survey will ensure that you buy the right property free from any defects and shortcomings, thus making your investment sound and worthwhile.

What’s The Drawback of Not Getting a Flat Survey?

The result of skipping a survey is straightforward – you will run into buying a house without knowing the exact condition of it. Maybe the house has so many underlying defects, plagued with unknown issues, that will only show up once you move in and eventually cost you thousands.

At that point in time, you will realize that the damp survey cost was much lower than the repairs. But it would be too late.

House surveys are beneficial if they are done before doing market valuation of a house and selling it. They can even highlight an issue of defective wiring in the house. Avoiding such an important tool that can make or break your house-buying deal would be a huge mistake.

Get A FREE Quote from a Damp Specialist Now

Get quotes from local companies and tradespeople in your area and saving you up to 40% and hours on researching. Let the Loftera experts take care of it.

What is the Cost of a Flat Survey in 2023?


Cost of a Flat Survey in 2023


It ranges between £300 and £1,500. But it depends on the type of survey that you want to be done. Is it a RICS Home Survey or Level One Condition Report? It will cost less, maybe £300-£400. If it is a Level 3 building report, it will cost more, as it is a more detailed report.

Also, the mortgage valuation of a home done by a mortgage lender, its size, and the property’s location play a role in the cost estimates of a survey.

Large properties have a more significant number of areas and things to inspect for, so it would cost more. Likewise, smaller properties would have less cost estimates to get a survey.


How to Understand a Flat Survey?

You have received your property survey and the report but need help making sense of them. Well, it’s not that hard. Condition ratings in the form of a traffic light system are what make it easy to understand them. RICS or the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA) uses these ratings in the report, which can be understood as:

  • If the Condition Rating is 1, no repair is required on the property
  • If the Condition Rating is 2, some defects and repairs might be needed, but there’s no urgency
  • If the Condition Rating is 3, some defects and repairs must fixed urgently


House Survey is Done, What’s Next?

So, the survey is done. The surveyor came to your house, and an in-depth inspection was done. Now, what happens is that after a few days, you will receive a report from the surveying professional or company.

The RICS Home Survey or any other more detailed survey will give a complete overview of the house, outline defects or significant problems, direct what can be done to fix them, and also guide how to prevent dampness in the future. You may wish to act on the fixes or need clarification on certain things in the report.


What if Issues or Defects are Found in the House Survey?


What if Defects are Found in the House Survey?


Look, if the issues are too much to handle, then you might think twice about buying the house. Because it would cost a lot (although not your money, the seller would get the repairs done), and the time it would take will also be longer.

If the problems listed in the house are less, get along with the house’s seller. Ask them to solve the issues and get things fixed. Only after that can we exchange the contracts and buy the property.

Make no mistake by not asking for proof of repairs and checking whether all the problems listed in the house survey have been resolved. It’s all about ensuring the seller has done their part and completed what was agreed upon.

Also, if the seller takes too long to fix things, revise your informed decision to buy the property or try to renegotiate at a lower price.

Tell them you will get things fixed by yourself; slash the amount of money that will go into repairs from the property’s final selling price.


How Do You Arrange a House Survey for a Flat?

Finding a professional or a company that deals with house surveys is often time-consuming. The easy way, however, might be to ask for recommendations from your relatives or friends. Recommendations are unique because they tend to be more reliable and trustworthy.

If there are no recommendations, use Loftera, a valuable tool to get quotes from surveyors nearby. All you have to do is tell Loftera what you are precisely looking for, and they provide you with three customized quotes from nearby professional RICS registered surveyors.

Compare the quotes thoroughly and select the one that suits you best. Upon selection, you will get the service you need, in this case, the house survey.


Final Word

Look, whether to get a flat survey depends on certain circumstances of the buyer, seller, and property in question. It may not be mandatory, but it is recommended.

Surveys help identify underlying property issues and can influence the property’s final price. If a house survey is not done, you might face unprecedented situations related to your property in the future.

The key takeaway here is that getting a survey will ensure you are moving into a flat free of any problems, compliant, aligns with your expectations, and is worth every penny of yours.

Get A FREE Quote from a Damp Specialist Now

Get quotes from local companies and tradespeople in your area and saving you up to 40% and hours on researching. Let the Loftera experts take care of it.


When Should You Get a Flat Survey?

The professional opinion is that whenever you are about to buy a new flat, get a comprehensive survey done. Also, after buying it and moving in, get a flat survey done annually. It will allow you to save money, which can go into unexpected repairs.

Do You Need a Building Survey When Buying a Flat?

Getting a survey when buying a flat is not a legal requirement, but it is highly recommended. Before purchasing a flat, a building survey can outline if there are defects in it and also pinpoint whether it complies with local housing market regulations.

Do You Need a Survey on a 5-Year-Old Flat?

The professional advice is that it is recommended. If any issues come up in the survey, the seller will play a role in fixing them and ensuring that you are getting a defect-free flat.

Table of Contents

About Loftera

Loftera bridges the gap between homeowners and trusted tradesmen, serving as the go-to platform for top-notch home improvement advice and solutions. With a foundation rooted in hands-on construction expertise and a commitment to transparency, Loftera connects you with local, vetted professionals, ensuring quality and reliability for every project. Explore our carefully curated articles, benefit from expert insights, and discover a seamless way to transform your living spaces. Whether you’re contemplating a renovation or seeking the best tradesperson in your vicinity, Loftera stands as your reliable guide in the realm of home improvements.

Joe Bruckland

Joe Bruckland

Construction Expert and founder of Loftera

Having immersed myself in the construction and home improvement world for over two decades, I’ve developed a deep-seated passion and expertise in the intricacies of the industry. My journey, beginning on construction sites and evolving to helm significant home renovation projects, has provided me with a hands-on perspective and a wealth of knowledge that I bring to Loftera. Holding certifications from premier industry bodies, I’ve been a go-to consultant for leading construction magazines, participated in industry forums, and collaborated with renowned tradesmen and architects across the UK. My mission is simple: to demystify the complexities of home improvement, ensuring homeowners are empowered with information that is both current and reliable. Through Loftera, I aim to provide insights that are a blend of field experience and data-driven research, cementing my commitment to be an authoritative voice in the home improvement landscape.

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