Air pipes

Faulty boilers and leaky pipes: the domestic nightmares plaguing British first-time buyers

Almost half of UK homeowners have discovered hidden nightmares after moving in – from dodgy electrics and faulty boilers to rat infestations and leaking pipes.

The days and weeks after moving into a new property can be an exciting time, but a study of 2,000 homeowners found that 44% made disappointing discoveries along the way.

Windows that wouldn’t open, peeling paint and faulty lights were also on the list.

Other unhappy buyers have found leaking toilets, rats and mice under the floor or in the attic, and mold in the bathroom.

One unlucky respondent even found the kitchen hood held up with Blu Tack while another had to redecorate after previous owners painted around their curtains – leaving part of the wall a different colour.

As a result, 64% admitted they regretted buying the property after discovering the issues.

It also emerged that 32% of all homeowners have a problem in their home that needs fixing, but have avoided fixing it because they can’t afford it.

And 41% admitted they will put things like installing carbon monoxide alarms, boiler maintenance and drafty windows on the back burner, and focus on ‘easier’ tasks such as painting and decorating.


TV presenter Dion Dublin, who supports Gas Safety Logwho commissioned the research to mark Gas Safety Week, said: “Buying a property can be a stressful process and can have its downsides.

“You would expect to have problems – especially if it’s an older house – but some have discovered serious problems, which have even led them to regret the purchase.

“Buying a house is a huge and expensive thing. So it’s important to ask as many questions as possible throughout the process – no matter how silly or unnecessary you think they are – and do all the necessary checking before or as soon as you move in.

“It may cost money at first, but it’s better than costing you more in the future, or even being dangerous.”

(Phil Bentley/SWNS)

The study also found that 55% of homeowners had their property surveyed before moving in, but 49% still encountered an unexpected problem.

These issues have cost homeowners an average of £1,506 since moving in.

When they encountered a minor problem at home, 39% tried to solve it themselves, while 17% turned to YouTube how-to videos for help.

However, 30% would seek professional help, with 35% admitting that they are often unaware of the seriousness of certain problems at home.

But it also emerged that 66% would not know what to do in the event of a gas leak and 14% were unable to locate the gas safety shut-off valve after moving in.

(Phil Bentley/SWNS)

And only 44% of respondents, via OnePoll, have their gas boiler serviced or checked every year.

Of those who don’t, 48% didn’t know they needed it if the boiler seemed to be working normally, while 35% blamed the cost.

More than three in 10 (31%) didn’t think it was necessary because they’ve never had a problem with it.

This comes as the latest Gas Safe Register inspection data revealed that one in five households where unsafe and faulty gas appliances, such as gas stoves, boilers and fires, were identified are properties that have changed hands in the past two years.

While a survey of 1,730 registered gas engineers found that 40% believe the first year of ownership is the “riskiest” for owners, 36% say they see more instances of faulty appliances and safety issues gas despite having only recently moved in.

(Phil Bentley/SWNS)

Bob Kerr, director of gas services at Gas Safe Register, said: “Worryingly, many people do not realize that gas appliances such as stoves, fires and boilers can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. if they are not maintained and checked year after year.

“They can also cause gas leaks which, in extreme circumstances, can lead to fires and explosions that claim lives and destroy neighborhoods.

“This Gas Safety Week, we are urging homeowners nationwide who have gas appliances in their homes to schedule their annual Gas Safety Checkup with a Gas Safe Certified Engineer.

“And, just as important, to learn about the signs and symptoms of dangerous gas appliances, so they can act quickly in an emergency.

“The costs can be high financially if repairs or replacements are needed, but you can’t put a price on your family’s health and safety.”

Common problems faced by Britons after moving into a property:

1. Dodgy Power Outlets

2. Chipped paint

3. Leaky pipes

4. Windows won’t open

5. Defective/failed boiler

6. Realizing that some lights don’t work

7. Leaking toilets

8. Rats/mice under the floor or in the attic

9. Unable to open or close the water supply

10. Appliances with exposed wiring

11. Leaking shower on the ceiling below

12. Unable to locate gas safety shut-off valve

13. Garage flooded every time it rains

14. Mold in the bathroom

15. Can’t stop outdoor faucet from leaking after turning it off

16. Birds nesting in the roof / under the floor

17. Smoke detector without batteries

18. Ants in the kitchen

19. Rotten floors

20. Blocked/Covered Air Vents