RICS launches new guide to measuring property

The inaccurate measuring of property in the UK has led to new guidelines being introduced by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). A consistent method of measuring houses, flats, and other property types for sale and letting means buyers and renters can rely on accurate information about the homes they’re considering.

A previously inconsistent approach has led to misunderstandings when looking at floor plans and details of a property’s footprint – an issue of particular importance in cities where space is often at a premium.

RICS director of technical standards, Alexander Aronsohn, summed up the problem when he said,

“Residential property has been measured inconsistently in the UK for far too long, and there are significant variances in measurement depending on the standard adopted and the measured areas included.”

So what does the RICS’ Measurement Matters guide cover, and how will this improve a property purchaser’s or tenant’s experience?

What does the new RICS guide for measuring include?

  • RICS have introduced a Property Measurement Standard whereby measurements must be taken on a uniform basis for internal spaces – wall to wall, window to window, for example.
  • External areas such as basements and lofts that aren’t habitable, decked areas, garages and other outbuildings, are not to be included in a property’s overall size in sales or rental details, as this can result in a misleading floor plan and cause a potential tenant or buyer to believe the property is larger than it actually is.
  • RICS also states the importance of confirming the person measuring a property is qualified in this respect.

Presenting accurate information that can be relied upon by those interested in purchasing or renting is the driver behind RICS’ actions, and is an important issue for anyone involved in the property market.

If you’re looking for a property to purchase or rent, these standards provide greater peace of mind that you’re only paying for the space you have, and aren’t being misled in any way.

Why is there a need for the new guide?

Property firms have used different methods of measuring property in the past, the result being inaccurate or inflated property sizes advertised within sales and lettings information packs and online.

With sales and rentals being based on square footage, this is an important issue when considering whether a property is worth the money being asked, and could influence a potential purchaser or tenant to go ahead.

Property expert and TV presenter, Phil Spencer, talks about just how inaccurate measurements can be in some cases,

“The size of a home – whether buying or renting – can often make the difference in what a buyer or renter will pay for that property. Yet many companies measure the size of property differently and can notch up square footage by an extra 10%, which can result in them hiking the asking price or rent up.”

Standardising the way properties are measured is a positive step if you’re purchasing or renting. Given the financial outlay in such a transaction, reliable information is fundamental to finding the perfect home for you.

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