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Property details must use Imperial Measurements after Brexit

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Mon 01 Apr 2019

Property details must use Imperial Measurements after Brexit

A statement this morning from the government says that property details must use Imperial Measurements after Britain leaves the EU.

The Imperial system is a collection of measurements - covering distance, space and weight - first defined in the British Weights and Measures Act of 1824 but largely replaced by metric measurements in recent decades.

Property descriptions routinely use one form Imperial measurement already - feet and inches - on floorplans and when measuring square feet of property. 

However, the government statement says it will also be expected that measurements be expressed in ‘links’ (equivalent to 7.92 inches) and exceptionally long rooms will be described in ‘rods’ (equivalent to 25 links).

The guidance - augmented by a note issued this morning by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government - suggests that property descriptions may have to take this the change still further.

Long gardens, for example, will have to be expressed in ‘chains’ (an Imperial measure the equivalent of 22 yards) while grounds of larger rural houses will have to use the term ‘furlong’ (equivalent to 10 chains). 

Estates which have rivers or substantial lakes or ponds will be expected to set out their depth in ‘fathoms’ (equivalent to 2.02667 yards). 

Overall areas of house interiors will be expressed using the ‘perch’ (defined as 272.25 square feet).





Although the National Association of Estate Agents and the Guild of Professional Estate Agents say their members will have to abide by the ruling - or risk being the subject of action by Trading Standards - there has been political fall-out with some MPs seeing it as a 'soft option' instead of a hard Brexit.

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, for example, believes there may be scope to adopt even more traditional property descriptions, saying agents could build on the use of Caveat Emptor and put more details in Latin. “Aegroto dum anima est, spes est” he says.

You can read about Imperial Measurements here and see the government statement