Buying a Thatched Property

Thatched PropertiesMany prospective owners of thatched houses are often dissuaded by friends and family who ‘wrongly advise’ that owning a thatched property is expensive, has an increased risk of fire and requires constant attention.

This is not the case!

However, if you are considering owning a property that is part of our National Heritage, it is advisable to find out as much information about the property as possible.

Below we have listed some suitable advice and questions to ask.

Questions about the thatcher & roof

  • Which thatcher does the current owner use?
  • What thatching works have been carried out?
  • What materials have been the used on the both the ridge and main coatwork?
  • Does the thatcher know if any fire barriers have been fitted?

Consider a separate thatch roof survey

  • The thatcher will be able to offer an opinion on the current condition of the roof, advise when work is likely to be required and an idea of the costs involved.
  • If you prefer to also have an impartial survey, please contact us and we can recommend other thatcher’s that can offer this service.

Is the building listed, are there any planning or conservation issues?

  • There may be certain restraints imposed if the property is listed and you should be fully aware of these before you proceed.

Chimney & flue liner

  • Is a liner installed? If so what type and who installed it? Ask for copies of any related documents such as a HETAS certificate etc.
  • Has the chimney and/or liner been inspected by means of a CCTV inspection, if so request details
  • When was the chimney last swept and by whom?
  • Does the chimney have a spark arrestor fitted?

All too often we receive calls from new owners that when asked, have no idea what the makeup of the chimney is and very often not knowing if a liner is fitted.

If you are unsure about any of the above matters relating to your chimney, please do not light a fire until you have had the necessary checks completed by a competent person.

Are there any wood burners or open fires in the property?

If a wood burner is in place, request the date and details of the installation if available.

Are there suitable smoke alarms & fire extinguishers?

On the basis that the owner might take the fire extinguishers and smoke alarms with them, you need to make sure that you have these ready if you purchase the property. Smoke detectors should be interlinked, so you might need to arrange for an electrician to install a new system. Consult with your insurance company.

When were the electrics last inspected and tested?

Insurance companies will require electrical test inspections, so request a copy of the last inspection certificate from the current owner.

Establish if there are any fire barriers in place

These could be directly underneath the thatch or a fire retardant spray may have been applied. The current owners should be able to tell you if any are fitted. These can help to reduce insurance premiums and give you added peace of mind.

Speak to insurance companies beforehand

Specialist thatch insurance companies may have a ‘checklist’ or certain criteria that has to be met. Please read the conditions & requirements of your policy carefully and check any areas such as what you are required to do or any things that you are prohibited from doing.

Once these questions are answered, an informed decision could be made as to whether the property is right for you.