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Mundic: What do buyers and sellers need to know?
May 2019
 

If you’re thinking of buying property in Cornwall that was built between 1900 and 1950 you’ll probably need to get it tested for mundic to avoid potential structural issues. Here’s everything you need to know before you exchange contracts.

 

                           

What is mundic?

A Cornish mining term for the sulphide mineral pyrite, mundic is now commonly used to describe the degradation of concrete that can cause structural problems in affected properties. Between 1900 and 1950, mining waste was recycled to use as aggregate in concrete building blocks. Using recycled materials was a great idea in theory, but unfortunately, the mining waste contained mundic. When exposed to moisture, mundic attacks the glue that sticks the aggregate together resulting in weakened concrete that (in extreme cases) can cause properties to crumble and collapse.

How many houses are affected by mundic?

The exact figure is unknown, but experts believe that as many as 10,000 properties in Cornwall may be affected.

How do I know if a property has mundic?

If part or all of the property you are looking at was built in Cornwall between 1900 and 1960, your mortgage lender will likely insist that you get a mundic test as a condition of lending. A driller and surveyor will collect samples of concrete from the property walls and footings, which are sent to a laboratory to be analysed for the presence of mundic. Mundic tests usually cost between £300-400.

Are all properties with mundic unmortgageable?

No! There are different classes of mundic that provide an idea of the severity of the issue. While Class B and C properties are unmortgageable, Class A properties contain only traces of mundic that are of low concern and may cause no structural issues at all in the future. Many homes with mundic have stood firm for decades and will continue to do so without causing homeowners any issues.

 Can mundic be removed?

If the problem is localised (for example, the mundic is limited to an extension on the property) it may be possible to remove it altogether.

Are houses with mundic a bad investment? 

Not necessarily – mundic will not have any impact on the rental value of a property, so if you are buying a cheap house as a rental investment then don’t let the presence of mundic deter you. Savvy investors have purchased two rental houses for the price of one and managed to retain the full rental income for both. However, you should be aware that if you sell the property in future you may be limiting yourself to cash buyers only.

Whether you are buying or selling a property, Lillicrap Chilcott offers expert advice and professional service. Contact us today for more information.