National Trading Standards has announced that from next year, landlords and sellers will have to reveal when there are high levels of air pollution in their districts from next year.
National Trading Standards will require the disclosure as “material information” that must be made clear to buyers and renters.
Addresspollution.org, a not-for-profit website, says that Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster in central London has Britain’s highest housing costs but the highest levels of pollution.
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The Times reported that while the average property in this area costs about £2.5 million and rents are over £7,000 a month, yet air pollution is well above the legal limit of 40 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic metre of air (mcg/m3).
James Munro, head of the estate agent team at National Trading Standards, said, “Now that pollution mapping is more widely available, and the facility is there to search by postcode how badly a property is affected, we’re saying that this is material information. This is something people should know if they’re buying a house especially if they have children or elderly family members moving into the property.
“It can work both ways for the agent. If it’s a low rating, it could be a good marketing tool, but if it’s a high rating — of which there are quite a few hotspots in London — people need to know.”
The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) is to include air pollution in its property information questionnaire, which owners complete before they put their homes up for sale or rent. Under consumer law, the form asks sellers to disclose any issues such as asbestos, Japanese knotweed and neighbourhood disputes that could influence a person’s decision to buy.
“The owner has a legal duty to provide the right details and not withhold anything but the agent is also under a legal duty to be aware of all the facts and to check them,” Munro (left) said.
Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA, said: “In certain urban areas, buyers and tenants will look more closely before committing to a property, particularly if they have young families. It will be important. People are staying in their homes for 18 to 21 years when they buy, so you need to be careful when you commit.”
The Clean Air for All campaign, launched by The Times in May, calls for a live pollution monitor in every postcode. The Royal College of Physicians said that dirty air kills 40,000 people a year in Britain and costs healthcare services and businesses £20 billion.