Asbestos And Mortgages

If your property contains asbestos, find out what help there is and what lenders will look at when you are getting a mortgage

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Home Property Types Asbestos And Mortgages
Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

Nathan Porter

Reviewer: Nathan Porter

Independent Mortgage Advisor

Updated: March 18, 2024

How we reviewed this article:

Our experts continuously monitor changes in the financial space and work closely with qualified mortgage advisors for factual verification.

March 18, 2024

Naturally-occurring asbestos was used to build many homes in the UK and around the world until the late 1990s, when the dangers of the fibre fully came to light. While it’s now banned in the construction industry, there are still buildings out there where asbestos is present.

If the property you want to buy contains it, you’ll likely be wondering how to go about mortgaging a house with asbestos, how to overcome the obstacles, whether it’s even possible, and what help is out there. Read on to find out.

Is it possible to get a mortgage on a property with asbestos?

In theory, yes, it is still possible to get a mortgage on a property that houses the substance.. However, it’s going to be a more tricky process and there will be hoops to jump through.

About half of all lenders will consider offering mortgages on properties with some degree of asbestos, and each of these have their own set of rules around it. The implications are serious, so thorough surveys to assess the risks are often essential before any firm offers will be made.

Seeking professional help from a mortgage broker in the first instance is wise. It will save you time in finding accommodating lenders and understanding what steps you need to make.

Why is it more difficult?

The effects on the human lungs from asbestos inhalation can be severe over time, leading to lung disease and cancers. The dangers to human life and health are the drivers behind caution over the substance by lenders, which also ties into the financial implications.

Asbestos is extremely costly to remove, and lenders will see a risk there when it comes to that all-important resale value. Essentially, if you default on your payments and a lender is left needing to recoup their loan via the sale of your home – and that home contains asbestos – they could be left with an expensive problem or struggle to sell the property at all.

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Where is asbestos commonly found?

Asbestos was used in the construction of buildings, mostly between 1930 and 1950, to fireproof, insulate and sound proof them because it’s a cheap and strong material. It was largely used for flooring and roofing, and even sprayed on walls and ceilings. It can also be found near boilers, pipes, garages and fireplaces too.

The presence of asbestos alone does not pose a threat, however it becomes dangerous when damaged or disturbed in some way, such as in old buildings. If you’re looking at buying a house with asbestos roof tiles, which is the most common place for it to be found, the risk could be considered minimal by lenders because it’s unlikely to be disturbed. Builders had mostly stopped using asbestos by the 1970s.

What do you need to do?

Your first port of call is to find a mortgage broker to work through your situation and application with. Initially they will point you in the direction of the most accommodating lenders, who will then most likely request a surveyor assess the property in question before any further steps are taken.

Some lenders will insist on using their own surveyors, while others will expect you to source your own independent expert, demanding they are UKATA, UKAS, ATAC or RSPH qualified. Their findings will determine the extent of the problem and what happens next in the process – a firm no or something you and the lender can work with.

Will removing asbestos improve your mortgage chances?

If the report results conclude that the asbestos will have an adverse effect on getting a mortgage on a particular property, you could consider removing the material, but bear in mind a professional will need to carry out the work and it will likely be an expensive job, so you should consider whether it is worth the cost.

Work with your mortgage broker to plan a course of action, which could involve negotiating the house price with the seller in order to offset the asbestos removal costs.

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How a broker can help in this situation

Navigating the issue of asbestos in a property you really want is complex and unpredictable. A specialist in this area, such as the ones we work with, will make a huge difference to the outcome of your situation.

Experienced mortgage brokers understand which lenders are open to lending to applicants for asbestos properties and what their criteria is. They will also be able to advise you of the implications of going forward with the purchase and undertaking a mortgage under the circumstances, as well as finding a good surveyor.

Call us today on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry online to get matched to a mortgage advisor who specialises in asbestos properties. The more niche and focussed a broker you can find, the more insight you’ll receive, so it’s crucial you find a specialist asbestos advisor, rather than a generic one.

Which lenders will consider mortgages of this type?

There are a good number of lenders who are willing to consider mortgaging properties despite having asbestos present – about half of the total number on the market. This is good news if you have your heart set on a home with this issue, however you should note that lenders will approach each application on its own merit, so the circumstances surrounding the hazard and property type will always determine the outcome.

The most accommodating lenders towards asbestos range from the big high street names, such as Barclays, Nationwide and HSBC, to more niche lenders, such as Mansfield Building Society, Furness Building Society and Precise Mortgages.

Lenders who will not entertain the prospect of an asbestos mortgage have a similar range, with examples being Metro Bank, Norton Home Loans and Pepper Money.

Approaching a lender directly is not recommended if the property you’re buying has asbestos. Applying through a broker is a better alternative as they can match you with a mortgage provider who is most likely to approve you for a mortgage based on the extent of the problem.

Are there additional eligibility requirements?

As well as the fact that your property would be reported on individually, there are a number of factors that some lenders stand by as a general rule, such as that the asbestos must not be in a load bearing wall, the age of the property and any damage that has occurred.

Other than that, getting a mortgage on a property with asbestos is the same as getting a mortgage on any other property, with all of the usual eligibility and affordability criteria to meet. There is just another feasibility element to the process.

Can you get a buy-to-let mortgage?

Potentially, yes. The rules work the same for a buy-to-let mortgage as they do with a residential; that it will be considered on its own merit, subject to a professional surveyor’s report and that it must not be a load-bearing wall (in some cases), or breaking down or damaged.

What if you’ve already had a mortgage declined because of asbestos?

If you’ve already come up against resistance, try to not to lose faith in your goals just yet. This is a complicated corner of the mortgage landscape and, without professional help directing you and drawing upon contacts and experience, it can be very difficult to be successful. With the right support, being declined for a mortgage before doesn’t necessarily mean you will be again.

It is, however, recommended that you apply through a broker who specialises in asbestos properties the next time around, as this can boost your chances of a better outcome.

Get matched with a broker who specialises in asbestos properties

When it comes to needing a niche advisor, the ones we work with are just that. We can match you up with someone who has the expertise and experience in the exact area you need, which means they will understand what you need straight away.

Asbestos in a property doesn’t have to mean the end of your mortgage dreams. It just needs a little extra care and attention. Call us on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry online for an initial, free consultation to find out more.

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FAQs

The guidance works the same way for commercial properties as it does residential ones. Lenders will consider your situation on an individual basis and assessment. Lenders such as Harpenden Building Society stipulate that borrowing is possible as long as there is a satisfactory asbestos management plan put in place.

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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 Online Mortgage Advisor of course!

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Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

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