A question about wall ties of a flat im trying to buy

9 replies
Found 7th Aug 2007
Good afternoon,

Im very sorry to bother you but I wandered if I could ask for some impartial advice, as Its very, very hard to find nowadays!

I am currently in the process of buying a leasehold flat. I had a homebuyers report that recommended a wall-tie specialist inspect the building, which was built c.1930.

The report came back, and said that corrosion of the wall ties was found (using endoscope) and recommended wall tie replacment.

The freeholder of the building is also a surveyor,and he was very shocked, saying that the wall ties were fine, as there was no tell-tale horizontal cracks in the brickwork. Therefore refusing to pay for replacement.

He offered to remove some bricks so I could see the ties for myself. It hasnt helped really as Im now even more confused. The ties are metal rods about 5mm in diameter with a right-angled bend at either end, that beds into the mortar. The mid section of the tie apear to be covered in some superficial rust, but the part that is in the mortar is quite corroded but would still appear (to a layman!) to be structurally sound.

We have only inspected a couple of ties on the back, south facing wall. The freeholder insists the front north wall would be fine, as it doesnt get the weather.

Therefore the freeholder is still insisting that the ties are fine, and if they have lasted 80 year like that, they may well outlast the building!

As I hope you can understand, we are in a predicament, as we have two conflicting opinions, from a wall-tie specialist and a surveyor, and we dont know what to do.

We dont want to move into a building that is structurally unsound, and that we will be liable for 50% of the maintainence cost of. We also dont want to loose the flat over an argument such as this.

If you have any advice for me, regarding whether the wall ties would be ok or not, please could you let me know.

I thank you so very much for your time.

Regards

Tom

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9 Comments

Admin

Wall ties in victorian/pre-war houses were made from cast iron, and therefore are erodable. They rust and eventually need replacing with stainless steel pins. If not the walls can bow....

Original Poster

juliet_bravo

Wall ties in victorian/pre-war houses were made from cast iron, and … Wall ties in victorian/pre-war houses were made from cast iron, and therefore are erodable. They rust and eventually need replacing with stainless steel pins. If not the walls can bow....



Yes, thanks for that. I suppose the question is mor "do they need replacing now?" !!! Who decides?

The is a very common situation.

The freeholder will obviously say they don't need replacing - he has a vested interest.

I would suggest you try to renegotiate the purchase price to take into account the cost of the replacement.

Original Poster

fireheaven

The is a very common situation.The freeholder will obviously say they … The is a very common situation.The freeholder will obviously say they don't need replacing - he has a vested interest.I would suggest you try to renegotiate the purchase price to take into account the cost of the replacement.



I would understand this if the freeholder was just another man in the street, but he also happens to be a chartered surveyor, so surely he would know?!!?!!

also on the flipside of what you said, surley his interest would be to keep the building up, as he owns it and wouldnt want it falling down - would he??!!??

I don't know who to believe or what to do!

Obviously wall-tie specialists would recommended replacement at the first sign of rust, but this surely doesnt mean they are about to fail. They could last for many more years couldnt they?

tom2000000

I would understand this if the freeholder was just another man in the … I would understand this if the freeholder was just another man in the street, but he also happens to be a chartered surveyor, so surely he would know?!!?!!also on the flipside of what you said, surley his interest would be to keep the building up, as he owns it and wouldnt want it falling down - would he??!!??I don't know who to believe or what to do!Obviously wall-tie specialists would recommended replacement at the first sign of rust, but this surely doesnt mean they are about to fail. They could last for many more years couldnt they?



Are you actually buying from the freeholder or the previous leaseholder?

He does have a duty to maintain the building but I would presume the lease will also contain a provision that the tenant contribution a proportion of that cost.

They may well last for many years but this problem will raise its head if/when you come to sell so it best to get it sorted out as soon as possible.

Admin

Exactly what FH^^^ said.... it might not prove to be a problem, but bare in mind that anyone who might buy the flat from you in the future will also get the same report back, and will ask you to fix it... it's best to keep on top of structural problems as the worse they get, the harder they are to fix.

Original Poster

Hi again, thanks for all your help

Im buying from the current leaseholder. How do we enforce things such as structural repairs. Like you say, this thing might happen again in the future. If we say the wall ties need replacing, and have the agreement of a specialist, and he says no they dont-who has the final say?

Surely your mortgage lender will not supply the funds if your surveyor says they need replacing? Also any insurance will be void if the worst does happen and the ties do not hold the walls as you have been advised in your building report.
The vendor being a surveyor does not matter he wants to sell property for the biggest profit. If you have a solicitor or mortgage lender ask for their input and the legal stance they would take.
If I paid for a survey I would ask for the faults to be sorted or a reduction in the price to compensate for cost of repairs. failing that I would walk away. not much use paying for a survey and then ignore their advice

tom2000000

Hi again, thanks for all your helpIm buying from the current leaseholder. … Hi again, thanks for all your helpIm buying from the current leaseholder. How do we enforce things such as structural repairs. Like you say, this thing might happen again in the future. If we say the wall ties need replacing, and have the agreement of a specialist, and he says no they dont-who has the final say?



Ask them for a price reduction or for them to get the work done before you complete. If you decide not to proceed this will happen with any purchaser they find and their solicitor should make them aware of this fact.
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