Asbestos is considered a problem if it is damaged and has potential to release fibres that could be inhaled into the lungs. If the asbestos is in poor condition, or if building works are planned that would disturb it, an asbestos survey would be required.
Mortgage lenders will want to know whether asbestos is present and if so, whether it will affect the value of the property and/or whether it needs removal.
If the material does pose a threat, then remedial treatment will be required and lending will be conditional on this being carried out. If there is a perception that the value of the property is affected by asbestos, lenders may reduce the amount they would otherwise be willing to lend.
Valuers carrying out a valuation for a mortgage lender would assume that there were no hazardous materials such as asbestos present at the property. However, if the inspection indicates to the valuer that asbestos is presumed to be present, the valuer would report this to the lender.
The lender may insist on an asbestos survey report before releasing the funds for the purchase. If the property contains asbestos, lenders will generally want assurance that the material does not pose a health threat. The view of the council of mortgage lenders is that it is for individual lenders to decide what steps to take if asbestos is present at a property.