Flat Survey for a Leasehold Flat: Why you need a homebuyers survey for your flat, from SAM Conveyancing. A RICS Surveyor assesses the walls with a spirit level during a flat survey.
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Flat Survey for Leasehold Flat

(Last Updated: 17/01/2024)
5 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Flats can make an excellent investment but you need to be sure of the condition of the property.
  • On average, homebuyers spend £5,750 on repairs once moved into their new home according to research by The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Sadly, in many of these cases these costs could be negated by simply getting a surveyor to inspect their property before they exchanged contracts.
  • Your mortgage valuation survey is not sufficient for your interests as a buyer
  • RICS surveyors are indemnified, so if they miss a defect which should have been discovered in their report, you should be able to recover your losses from them.
  • Surveyors have specialist knowledge about flats and maisonettes and will make the right enquiries that you simply wouldn't know to ask, unless you are an incredibly experienced leasehold property investor (and most of them would never buy a flat without a survey).


    'Sold as seen'...but what if you miss something?

  • A seller of the property is under no legal obligation to disclose faults or potential faults a property has and so can never be relied upon for this purpose.
  • The mortgage valuation - if you are getting a mortgage - is just that: a valuation for the lender's benefit to ensure that a property is worth the money it is considering lending. There's no focus on how sound the property's structure is and there's no obligation on the lender to give you any information beyond the valuation price itself. You can read an example mortgage valuation survey here.

16% of homeowners discover defects

In our recent survey, 16% of homeowners found defects; including 2% who were able to pull out of a bad purchase, 7% who were able to negotiate a better price, and sadly, 7% of homeowners who did not get a survey and discovered defects after the purchase.

12 of the 39 who remembered how much these defects cost to remedy spent over £5,000

Don't burn your money, book a survey.

RICS Surveyors | Fixed Fees | Same week availability | Access arranged



    Spots things that you CAN'T see

  • Unless you have considerable experience concerning residential building work, you will not have the competence to detect potential faults which might cost thousands of pounds to correct. This is likely to be even more the case if you are a first time buyer.
  • An experienced RICS surveyor will have seen hundreds of properties in your area and is on 'high alert' to spot signs of rising damp, rot (wet or dry), subsidence and infestation among many other issues.
  • Your surveyor will be able to tell if a fault is minor, thus putting your mind at rest if you are worrying unnecessarily about an issue.


    You could save £5,000!

RICS's own figures show that 20% of home buyers who did not book a survey later uncovered faults which required, on average £5,750 to remedy.

  • Your survey gives you professional 'ammunition' if you want to bargain with a vendor to pay all or part of the costs of correcting issues discovered in the survey. This 'ammunition' can be used in the first instance by your conveyancing solicitor.
  • Your home buyers survey flat/leasehold may show up so many problems that you cancel your purchase. Better to spend a few hundred pounds on a survey than discover very nasty surprises after you've bought which may lose you tens of thousands of pounds in repair costs or which may make resale difficult.


    All RICS surveyors are indemnified

Your RICS surveyor has to be indemnified which means that should a significant fault be missed during the survey that could have reasonably found by the surveyor during their inspection which ends up costing a large sum of money, you can look to make a claim. The claim would be for the fall in the property price because of the defects in the property.


    Surveyors have specialist knowledge about flats

Most flats and maisonettes in the UK are leasehold; this carries particular legal implications which your surveyor will know about.

  • The matter of maintenance responsibilities may arise and a surveyor can make the right enquiries. If, for example, a flat has a lift, a surveyor would be quick to answer questions about its service history, which might save you having to pay out huge sums should it break down.
  • With a flat, a solicitor will usually have a list of standard terms. Therefore if there are any quirks or design inconsistencies, your surveyor will detect them.

Need a Home Buyers Survey for your Leasehold Flat?
We have local RICS surveyors throughout England with early booking slots at competitive prices.
If you have any questions about these points, or would like to book a survey, please call us on 0333 344 3234.

RICS Surveyors – Leasehold Survey Specialists – Same Week Availability

Frequently Asked Questions

A survey is an assessment carried out by a professional, who looks for any faults or defects with the property. They are experienced in finding issues which are unsafe, likely to reduce the value of the property, or both.

Having a surveyor's report which finds defects can save you from buying a dodgy property, or enable you to negotiate the price down, so that you're not out of pocket when you move in and have to fork out, or go into debt, for unexpected repairs.

Read the full article above for the types of things that might be uncovered in your property with a proper survey.
Generally a Home Buyers Report (Level 2) will be sufficient, however, older buildings & buildings requiring renovation may require a Building Survey (Level 3). Our team can help you choose the right survey for you. Call 0333 344 3234 (local charges apply) or click for a quote.

RICS Surveyors – Leasehold Survey Specialists – Same Week Availability
Read the full article above for % reasons why you should get a survey on a flat. Including - RICS's own figures show that 20% of home buyers who did not book a survey later uncovered faults which required, on average £5,750 to remedy.

Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Reviewed by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

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