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  • Buy-to-Let

    Buying house with Basement - damp issues?

    Hi,

    Please can anyone advise on pros and cons of buying a Victorian terrace property which has a basement, for a BTL?

    Basement is unconverted and just used for storage.  We would do the same as too expensive to convert,

    It is unheated and does smell a bit damp - what should we be checking? Would it make a sound or poor investment?  Will insurance be difficult/more expensive?

    There is the gas meter down there and lots of pipework lagged with fibre-like insulation. The top of the gas meter connector pipe looks rusty and worried this is from the area being damp.

    House itself seems all good but we are worried about issues arising with the basement.

    We assume the basement is original. It has a window but not sure how usable/accessible this is.

    Just overall concerned as to whether we should buy or not - never had a basement to worry about before!

    Any advice gratefully received.

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    Get a surveyors report done first, then decide based on the report. 
    You might be able to negotiate on the purchase price based on the surveyors report.
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    Hi SuJo 2018 - In my experience damp and cold cellars are present in half the cases when buying a Victorian Terrace BTL here in Bham. Personally I regard them as bonuses rather than liabilities, especially when extra storage is needed  - just be careful of the level of damp as the resulting mould can ruin stuff.Some of my cellars are really dry and great for storage.The watch-out might be the ground water level rising  during wet & rainy weather, especially if the cellar floor has not been concreted and still has its original brick/ dirt floor, a pump then might be needed.Also, ventilation is key, it might be useful to add some extra air bricks or replace a window with a grill, this might help improve air flow and help to dry the cellar out. If its a rental and a tenant is going to live in the room directly above the cellar, then insulating the ceiling joists and capping the cellar ceiling with a water - proof layer such as UPVC shiplap can help both to stem heat loss and prevent damp odours permeating into the room above. In this case I also tend to ply-board the floor of the room above and ensure that the door to the cellar stairs is well sealed/ a snug fit to prevent any damp odours travelling upstairs. Locally cellars are a definite selling point for investment or living purposes , there's no insurance implications as far as I've experienced. As a landlord the meter being in the cellar can be a pain meter reading wise but that can sometimes be overcome by replacing with a smart meter.Hope this helps.

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    Had two properties with basements with the usual damp smell. In both cases the ventilation had been sealed over in one case with carpet then a weak motar mix. Clearing the vents and ensuring the rear vent bricks were clear allow a draft dried out well in both cases. We were recommended an insulating quilt under the floor above but I cannot see a real beneit. We did lay a plastic membrane over the above floor plus thick laminate underlay and laminate. In one case the basement floor was very rough so screeded over with a waterproof cemenataous layer. Warmth and ventilation does wonders!

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