What are a Landlords responsibilities with respect to Radon Gas

by Readers Question

3 years ago

What are a Landlords responsibilities with respect to Radon Gas

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What are a Landlords responsibilities with respect to Radon Gas

We are almost completed on the purchase of a 1900’s mid terraced house in Nottingham and the final search we received today says that the house is in a radon affected area “as between 3 and 5% of homes are above the action level”.

We are newbies but we will no doubt carry the responsibility to the sitting tenant to minimise any risks to them from Radon. However, it takes 3 plus months to test for Radon and if we don’t proceed then we will no doubt lose the purchase and incur costs which may not be so far away from the cost of rectification anyway.

Does anyone have experience of dealing with Radon, and what is the opinion about whether to continue with the purchase?

Thanks
Johnradon



Comments

Neil Patterson

3 years ago

Hi John,

I found the Official UK Radon web page under public health England >> http://www.ukradon.org/information/tennants

Landlords have a responsibility to their tenants under Duty of Care and the Housing Act to provide a safe home.

Radon is identified as a potential hazard in dwellings in the Housing Act 2004. The need for action is defined by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System which applies a numerical score to the different hazards depending on their overall risk to the occupant. If the score exceeds certain trigger points the local housing authority (Local Authority) is obliged to act. The Local Authority will take the 'appropriate enforcement action' which is dependent on the severity of the risk. The measured annual average radon level is used to calculate the risk.

I hope this helps.

Ian Ringrose

3 years ago

What sort of ground floor does the house have?

Paul Lucke

3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Patterson" at "02/03/2015 - 14:38":

The most comprehensive guide to radon mitigation I have found is issued by the USA Environmental Protection Agency section based at Iowa State University.
see http://www.abe.iastate.edu/extension-and-outreach/radon-reduction-methods-a-homeowners-guide/
This looks at the practicalities, effectiveness and costs of various mitigation methods and is worth a read. The impression they give is that it need not cost more than a few months' rent to fix initially but that performance will need to be re-tested after the fix to make sure it has worked and annually thereafter to check for any reduction in effectiveness.
I certainly wouldn't buy without knowing if there is a problem or not. and if there is a problem and you do buy remember you might not be able to rent it out until you have implemented a fix and had its effectiveness measured and accepted by the local authority. I personally wouldn't touch any property in the affected area that is not being offered with a certificate already in place stating that it has an acceptable radon pollution level - but how lucky do you feel? Measurement may show that you do not have a problem requiring action because old houses have such a high natural ventilation that the radon never builds up to a dangerous concentration!

John Mugleston

3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Ringrose" at "03/03/2015 - 14:37":

Hi Ian,
They are solid floors, so IF there is a Radon issue it will need a 'sump' digging inside the house, rather than a simple air circulation fan in the air space under the floors.
John

Ian Ringrose

3 years ago

If it is raised wooden floor it’s likely I could fix it for less than 1 months’ rent by unblocking any under floor vents. If it is concrete floor, it is unlikely to be a problem unless you are somewhere like Dartmore.

John Mugleston

3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Paul Lucke" at "03/03/2015 - 20:47":

Hi Paul,
Thanks for a comprehensive article. My concern arises out of the fact that properties over quite a large proportion of the UK are at risk of having unhealthy levels of Radon gas in them, and yet (to me at least) this is not something I have heard of before.

You can see in this interactive map that there are large areas where testing has shown that there is a risk of over 30% of housing being above safe levels:
http://www.ukradon.org/information/ukmaps/englandwales

The house we are buying is in an area where between 3 and 5% of homes have above the action level.

Its only because of comments in the search responses by my solicitor which showed this risk that I thought I would raise it on this site. Maybe its a normal part of the property search process nowadays, but Landlords carry the responsibility to check if the homes they provide are safe.

The upside is that if served with a remediation notice by the LA then there is a possibility of up to £60k remediation contribution through Landmark.
Regards
John


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