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Radon Gas: What Has It Got To Do With Conveyancing?

Update: this blog has now been updated, and you can view it here.

Day 29: Everything You Need To Know About Buying and Selling a House or a Flat in 31 Daily Bite-Sized Chunks: "Radon Gas" 

Radon Gas is a naturally occurring radioactive gas, which is found in uranium in rock strata beneath the earth, particularly prevalent in areas with granite bedrock. The difficulty is that you cannot see it feel it or touch it.Radon Gas may increase the risk of certain types of cancer notably lung cancer. It is important, however, to note that it is only one of several factors in such illnesses and it would be difficult to single Radon Gas out as the main cause.

Your Conveyancing Solicitor will tell you when you are buying your new home whether it is in an area likely to be affected by Radon Gas.

This information will be revealed as one of the standard enquiries asked of the Local Authority.

There are traces in most parts of the country, but higher than average incidences are found in counties such as Cornwall, Devon and Somerset.

If you are buying a house and having your Conveyancing in Bristol, Bath or the Cotswolds, these areas are affected by Radon Gas, but are usually within permitted levels. Wales and the Pennine district are other areas to note.

There is a helpful Radon Gas map ( shown on the right) from the Department for Rural and Food Affairs website showing the incidence of Radon Gas in the UK

There is a helpful question and answer page on the Health Protection Agency’s website, and a full explanation of Radon Gas can be found on the independent Radon Gas Council website as well.

The Good News:

You can test the property and take relatively inexpensive counter measures.

Counter measures include increasing the sub floor ventilation.

If you home was built after 1988, additional sub floor ventilation would have been constructed by the Builders, as it forms part of the NHBC requirements.

If your home was built prior to 1988, you can install monitoring equipment which will judge levels of Radon usually over a 9 month period.

Will Radon Gas affect my ability to sell my home?

It is unlikely to do so even where properties were built prior to 1988.

The time taken to monitor is usually the reason why most people would not bother. It would always be possible for a buyer to have works done (at their expense, unless the Seller agrees to pay for it) after completion has taken place.

In all case where you have any anxieties, a test will be the only sure way of discovering, but your Conveyancing Solicitor will also be able to help with their local knowledge.