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RICS Guides

Guidance on a range of property related matters, covering common issues surrounding the sale, purchase and ownership of property.


Buying and selling property at auction

Property auctions have become increasingly popular with both buyers and sellers – whether they’re owners, occupiers, developers or investors. If you’re thinking of buying or selling a property at auction, it may be in your interests to make sure the auctioneer is an RICS member. Using the services of RICS members offers real peace of mind because we will give you clear, impartial and expert advice, we have strict codes of conduct to protect you – including proper insurance, and because you are protected by our formal complaints service.

Buying a home - from choosing the property through to completion

When you buy your home, you can take advantage of expertise from the outset by using an RICS estate agent who follows the standards laid out in the Blue Book: Residential Property Standards. There are many advantages to using an RICS estate agent. They will give you clear, impartial and expert advice, they will act in your interest, and they are tightly regulated and have to follow strict rules of conduct – including having insurance in place to protect you.

Buying a home - from choosing the property through to completion (Scotland)

When you buy your home, you can take advantage of expertise from the outset by using an RICS estate agent who follows the standards laid out in the Blue Book: Residential Property Standards. There are many advantages to using an RICS estate agent. They will give you clear, impartial and expert advice, they will act in your interest, and they are tightly regulated and have to follow strict rules of conduct – including having insurance in place to protect you.

Buying and selling art and antiques at auction

When buying at auction, make sure that you allow yourself enough time to examine thoroughly your chosen lot. If unfamiliar with antiques or fine art, make sure that you buy a catalogue, read the description and estimate and then ask questions. Auctioneers and valuers are more than happy to share their expertise and knowledge with you.

 

Compulsory purchase and statutory rights

Compulsory purchase is when the government, local council or utility company has the legal right to buy or take rights over your private property if it falls within a public or private construction project such as airport expansions, electricity pylons and cables, flood defence works, housing developments, rail or road building projects, or sewer, water or gas pipe schemes.

Dilapidations

'Dilapidations' refers to breaches of lease covenants that relate to the condition of a property during the term of the tenancy or when the lease ends. Using the services of a chartered surveyor during a dilapidations claim will prove invaluable. They will offer clear and concise information and advice to help you through a claim.

Extending or developing your home

Many properties provide potential for expansion – either up, out or even down. Providing building works are undertaken sensibly, such work can add value to your home while giving your family more room to live and work. With a little imagination and some expert advice, you could add a conservatory, convert your loft space into the home office or spare room you’ve always wanted, or even excavate a cellar or basement.

Flooding risks - how it can affect the value of your property

Read our Flooding guide which will tell you what you need to know about flooding and flood risk to your property (the land and the buildings on it), and what you can do to deal with this risk.

Identifying property boundaries and dealing with disputes

What happens, for instance, if a neighbour complains a new wall is overlapping their land, or their new extension takes up part of a pathway between your houses? A minor disagreement can quickly become a full-scale dispute involving solicitors’ letters and threats of court action. Even more damaging are the costs involved. Ultimately, the cost of protecting your right to land in court could be 50 or 100 times as much, so it pays to think hard before rushing into legal action.

Legal and practical issues involved in letting a flat or house

Whether you have let a property before or this is your first time, when you let a home there is a lot to think about. It's worth remembering that it could take several weeks for a suitable tenant to be found. Look out for firms that are 'Regulated by RICS' and that follow the standards set out in the Blue Book.

Legal and practical issues involved in letting a flat or house (Scotland)

Whether you have let a property before or this is your first time, when you let a home there is a lot to think about. It's worth remembering that it could take several weeks for a suitable tenant to be found. Look out for firms that are 'Regulated by RICS' and that follow the standards set out in the Blue Book.

Party walls, shared walls, alternations and dealing with disputes

If you live in a semi-detached or terrace house you share a wall (or walls) with your neighbour – that wall is known as a party wall. Party walls usually separate buildings belonging to different owners but could include garden walls built astride a boundary – known as party fence walls.

Renting a property

When you rent a property, you can take advantage of expertise from the outset by using an RICS letting agent who follows the standards set out in the RICS UK Residential Property Standards.

Renting a property (Scotland)

When you rent a property, you can take advantage of expertise from the outset by using an RICS letting agent who follows the standards set out in the RICS UK Residential Property Standards.

RICS Home Surveys

A home is the most expensive purchase most people ever make. As an owner you will benefit from expert advice on the condition of your property - whether you plan to live in it, rent it out or sell it. By commissioning an RICS Home Survey you can feel assured that the service you receive is impartial and reliable.

Right to light

So how do you know whether or not your right to light is being affected, and if you think it is, what can you do about it? A right to light may be acquired by ‘anyone who has had uninterrupted use of something over someone else’s land for 20 years without consent, openly and without threat, and without interruption for more than a year.’

Selling your home – marketing, exchange, completion

Buying, selling or extending a home is one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do – its also one of the biggest financial commitments you’ll make. When you want to sell your home, you can take advantage of expertise by choosing an estate agent who is an RICS regulated firm and follows the standards laid out in the Blue Book: Residential Property Standards.

Small business property guide

This guide takes you through the more common decisions and actions you may need to take – from acquiring a lease to challenging a dilapidations claim – along with vital property-related issues such as valuations, planning permission and the business rates system.
 
Though comprehensive, it is no substitute for the in-depth knowledge and advice a professional surveyor can provide, working in some instances with your lawyer or accountant. It should help you to appreciate when you need to call in the professionals and how to work with them.

Subsidence – causes, foundation and insurance

A chartered surveyor will be able to work out whether or not there is subsidence and what the likely cause is. Moving soil can sometimes crack drains or water mains. If it is subsidence, the sooner it is diagnosed the better.