The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has launched a new guide in a bid to end what it calls inconsistencies and inaccuracies in how agents measure homes.
The institution claims that buyers and renters are at risk of paying more than they should for a property based on “inaccurate floorplans.”
Controversially, the guide says buyers and renters should also check with the sales or lettings agent that they person measuring their property was qualified to do so.
The guide says this can be evidenced if the individual who undertook the measurement was an RICS-qualified professional or an RICS Certified Measurer, likely to have undergone training and assessment as to their skills in this activity.
RICS’ new ‘Measurement Matters’ guide says a residential property’s floor plan must include accurate wall-to-wall, window-to-window measurements of internal rooms such as the kitchen, dining room or lounge and all bedrooms.
However external areas such as balconies, decking, detached garages, outbuildings, as well as any uninhabitable basements or lofts should not be included in the overall measurement of a property “as this will result in a misunderstanding of floorplans that show a home to be larger than it really is.”
"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” according to Alexander Aronsohn, RICS’ director of technical standards.
“Our Property Measurement Standard, and new supporting guide, aim to ensure anyone who purchases or rents a home, is doing so based on accurate information about the property. This is particularly important for buyers and renters looking for a home in urban areas where space is already limited, and at a premium.
“Above all, our guide will help to drive down the level of inconsistent and inaccurate measurement practices, which will have a hugely positive impact on the market place.”
RICS has even recruited TV property expert Phil Spencer to hammer home the size issue.
“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 per cent, which can result in them hiking the asking price or rent up” says Spencer.
“It’s vitally important that every room in a property is measured accurately so that buyers and renters pay a fair price, and RICS’ Measurement Matters guide offers just that; a consistent and transparent way of measuring and producing accurate floorplans using RICS’ mandatory Property Measurement Standard.
“In turn, this will create a fairer, more robust market place, and give buyers and renters the peace of mind that they are not paying for something they aren’t getting.”
The new guide is essentially a consumer-facing document but represents a ramping up of the profile given to floorplans and measurements across the industry. You can see the guide here.