What is a "leaky home"?

Articles: Conveyancing Articles

What is a "leaky home"?

© Copyright ASCO Legal June 2013

It is a term for a property which, because of the way it is made or what it is made of or when it was built, is likely to be at risk of very serious and very expensive problems.  These are not just a risk of leaks, but a risk that some or even most of the frameworks and concealed structure may rot away.  If so the whole house or major parts of it may need to be rebuilt.  (They are often referred to as properties with potential “weather tightness” problems – but the risks go far and beyond mere lacking weather tightness).

The properties concerned are commonly residential but can be commercial properties also, and they have some or all of the following features:

(a)       The exterior surface is or appears to be made of plaster or with some similar looking synthetic coating on it; and/or

(b)       The exterior cladding consists of large sheets of material known as “mono-lithic cladding”; and/or

(c)       It has wooden framing timber which was either not rot-proofed at all or not treated in any effective way, and usually was only  heat dried - “kiln-dried”; and/or

(d)       It was built without an air gap (or a sufficient air gap) between the exterior cladding and the framework underneath.

The above are the key features, but they are commonly associated with the adoption of other newer design features including for example items such as

(e)       Capping at the top of exterior walls (or, often, failing to have proper capping) and/or

(f)        A reduction or abolition of overhanging eaves from the roof, which in both cases and along with other items also allows easier water penetration into the structure.

 Problems facing leaky home owners are very serious indeed.  For this reason we strongly advise every house purchaser to check with us about properly investigating the position.  Depending on the particular circumstances, including how big a proportion of a particular building is affected, being classed as a leaky home may mean that the building on a property has no value at all or only very little value, and the only value may lie with land.  We emphasise that whether or not a property is technically classed as “a leaky home” may have nothing whatever to do with whether or not it actually currently leaks at the present time (or previously).

 Please contact us at any time if you have any questions or would like advice or more information on these or any other matters.

 We have prepared this guide to and for our clients. It is not a substitute for detailed advice as every individual situation differs, and also government policies, laws and general conditions constantly change. We are happy to assist anyone who wishes to obtain more detailed advice or information on these or other matters.

 This publication may not, in whole or in part, be lent, copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated or reduced to any electronic medium or such other form without the express permission of ASCO Legal except complete copies may be made if fully attributed.