Be Aware! – Top 10 Property Defects



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It’s easy to assume that a property is in perfect condition on first glance, but many homes in London are hiding defects worth thousands in repairs. Some issues are minor nuisances that could help you reduce the property’s asking price, but others may dissuade you from risking your investment and family’s future.

A full building survey report includes urgent defects, areas for improvement and an overall estimate for the repairs, and hiring a chartered surveyor is often much more affordable than having to fix defects later down the line. Here are ten of the most common problems affecting London properties that you might want to know about before making an offer.

You don’t have to risk purchasing a potentially hazardous home that could cost thousands to remedy because our affordable building surveyors can perform a comprehensive inspection and have a report in your inbox the following day.


  1. Dampness
    Dampness may arise due to a number of issues such as defective weatherproofing, failed damp-proof courses, defective rainwater goods, and while it can wreak havoc on a property, it can also lead to mould growth, a fungus that adversely affects our skin, nervous system and lungs. Fortunately, a thorough damp test is included in a building survey.
  1. Timber defects- Dry/wet Rot, woodworm
    Excessive moisture can spur the growth of destructive fungi, which in addition to infestations like woodworm, can lead to timber rot if left untreated. Just some of the many issues that can lead to excessive moisture include damaged guttering, poor roof ventilation and plumbing leaks.
  1. Faulty Roofs
    Common problems include leaking and defective roof coverings that can cost thousands to repair, which is a small fraction of what a building survey costs.
  1. Asbestos
    Even though the use of asbestos in properties was completely banned in 1999, there are still thousands of properties at risk in London. Chartered surveyors will check your new property’s roof, cupboard lining, vinyl floors and ceiling to make sure you’re not unknowingly exposed to this dangerous carcinogen when you move in.
  1. Windows
    Windows can cost hundreds or even thousands to repair/replace, but some issues are harder to spot than others. A building survey uncovers potentially costly problems such as timber rot and condensation in double glazing.
  1. Structural Movement
    Many London homes are at risk of structural movement due to being constructed on shrinkable clay, which is why building surveyors look for signs of past movement and offer expert advice.
  1. Gas and Electrical Services
    Leaking gas services and faulty wiring are just two examples of common problems that pose safety issues and can be costly to fix. While RICS surveyors can only perform a visual inspection of your gas and electrical utilities, we can arrange for licensed contractors to carry out a thorough test.
  1. Fire Safety Systems
    As the recent Grenfell Tower disaster tragically proved, neglected fire safety is a real threat facing many London properties. A building surveyor will inspect your building’s fire doors, smoke alarms, escape routes and more to ensure it meets current safety regulations.
  1. Flooding
    Many homes in London, particularly near the River Thames, are at risk of flooding. Extending a basement also carries the risk of flooding from drains and surface water. A building survey report includes a flood risk map so that you can gauge the potential danger.
  1. Drains
    This is an element of a property that’s hard to inspect without a trained eye. The best way to tell if potentially costly drain problems exist is to hire a professional to perform a CCTV survey.

How You Can Avoid Paying Too Much for a Defect-Riddled Home

Call us on 020 7736 2383 to speak directly with a RICS Chartered Surveyor or get your free quote within seconds using our straightforward tool.


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Sara Thomas
09:07 19 Jan 21

The homebuyer’s report carried out by Harding Chartered Surveyors was clear informative and timely. The level of detail was just what I needed in order to appreciate what the property needed doing and to help me with my decision to proceed with the purchase process.

Aimee Glensor
19:09 08 Jan 21

Really helpful, made the process easy and really efficient service even though it was over the holiday period. Would def recommend / use again

Claudio Mascolo
18:24 30 Nov 20

Kate is very responsive and also took time to advise me on the phone at the very beginning. Scott Ingham did our report. It was thorough and informative. Felt in safe professional hands throughout.

John Simmons
15:53 29 Oct 20

Martina Glaser
17:56 28 Oct 20

Scott completed a survey for me on a flat purchase and both he and Kate were great – very quick to respond, knowledgeable, thorough and happy to address any additional questions I had. Would definitely recommend and use them again.

Bene Walters
10:47 05 Oct 20

I requested Harding to provide a valuation for a lease extension. Albert Wellington was in charge of my property and he was extremely professional and helpful in addressing all my concerns. I would recommend him and the company with no hesitation.

Claire Brown
14:17 19 Aug 20

A very efficient, timely and thorough service for us, as we go through the house buying process. I’d definitely use them again.

Nicholas R.
10:05 23 Jul 20

Very satisfied with service. Report was delivered promptly and provided the information we needed.

Richard Denison Gay
14:49 02 Jun 20

Excellent service; professional, helpful, communicative and courteous as well as relatively quick. I would highly recommend.

Marianna Ciampa
14:25 30 Jan 20

Very efficient and professional. I had my survey few months ago before buying my house and I am still following the advice from the survey to fix and repair what needed. I dealt with Scott Ingham and I think he worked very accurately and checked everything very carefully. Highly recommended.

Amel Ahmed
16:15 13 Nov 19

Needed a valuation for a property purchase and can honestly say the service was 1st class from start to finish. Queries were dealt with promptly and followed up via telephone to make sure I was happy with the responses.The team are extremely knowledgeable.Thank you Kate, Albert, David and the rest of the team I will definitely use the company again.

Millie Jones
16:07 30 Oct 19

Harding’s were great – very responsive, gave a very clear and detailed report and were happy to run through their comments with me over the phone.

Emma Goldschmidt
16:21 01 Oct 19

Brilliant thorough service!

Jennifer Smith
11:12 30 Aug 19

Harry Coaker
09:46 22 Aug 19

Dealt with James Brook, very efficient and professional, James had the report sent out to us within 24hrs. would highly recommend.

Karen Royal
21:33 14 Aug 19

David Good
10:34 20 Jul 19

Harding Chartered Surveyors are a very professional business who handled a challenging task for us with ease. I highly recommend them and will be using their services again.

Karen Ng
22:30 01 Jul 19

Very efficient service and very detailed report. We are very satisfied.

Lily Kwong
10:38 24 Jun 19

Really quick turn around and professional service.

Sue Hodgkins
16:42 20 Jun 19

Neill Ghosh
14:22 11 Jun 19

Have used for years and always been very happy. Competitive on service and always good on deadlines and quality. Recommended.

tom binks
17:56 09 Apr 19

Kevin Loughlin
20:27 28 Mar 19

The surveyor turned up on time as planned to survey the roof, both inside and out, then was happy to discuss it all with us afterwards. Bit tricky in high winds. Report arrived 2 days later, just what we needed. Professional and thorough. Recommended.

Jon Brennan
09:44 01 Mar 19

Quick, responsive and very thorough. Would definitely recommend Hardings to others, and will come back to them the next time I need a survey completed.

Abi and Andy La Fontaine
20:57 20 Feb 19

Quick, efficient and excellent service. Came as a recommendation from a friend and we’d happily recommend too.

Bradley Roth
01:56 16 Feb 19

Giulio Pepe
16:25 16 Dec 18

Thorough and professional surveyors. Very happy with their service. Highly recommended.

Margaret Rowley
16:09 03 Dec 18

Simon Wilson
15:54 10 Nov 18

Good, thorough, and promptly scheduled homebuyer survey in Fulham. The surveyor called me and explained everything clearly.

Daniel Vernazza
10:41 29 Apr 18

I highly recommend David. Very good technical knowledge. He was always available for our questions, which included a detailed call on the same day as the survey. The written survey report was clear, detailed and included pictures and estimates of the cost of repairs.

James Palairet
11:16 09 Jan 18

David gave us a fantastic service and has been a huge help during our property purchase process. We have had 2 surveys carried out, both of which were arranged very promptly. Thorough and extremely useful telephone calls and full written reports were received shortly afterwards. David’s reports and advice have been invaluable to us.

Sarah Dixon
14:13 08 Jan 18

I have worked with David and his team as a buying agent for many years now. The service they offer is an excellent one, timely with a commonsensical approach. I would recommend them to anyone.

William Sharples
08:57 05 Oct 17

James provided a very professional and thorough service, highly recommended.

Elif Erdine
14:30 04 Oct 17

Very experienced firm and friendly staff. Highly recommended.

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