Would you purchase a house that had subsidence 20 years ago?

26
Found 23rd Apr 2017
We are really annoyed, 1 week away from exchanging my solicitor just found paperwork showing the house we were buying had subsidence due to faulty drains 20 years ago... the sellers omitted to inform us of this....as they did not claim on insurance they were only required to morally....

They have instantly offered £10,000 off and to get a full builders survey done at their cost, but of course suddenly finding house insurance is a nightmare, the second you put house has suffered subsidence almost no one will insure it and those that will want £600+

My solicitor feels that is it not a big issue as we will get a structural certificate and £10K off. But obviously when/if we sell the property the second you mention subsidence most buyers won't touch it..... the house was not underpinned the drains were repaired....

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If not happy walk away it was 20years ago

Get the full survey but this will most likely just say there was evidence of previous subsidence. You can get separate insurance against existing subsidence and the £10000 will pay for that for many many years to come. I'd be wary as the property wasn't underpinned but maybe the extent of subsidence didn't warrant it. 20 years is a long time to be happy the issue has been resolved.
Personally, I'd trust the survey and make the decision based on their advise. They should be able to tell if there's any continuing subsidence.
*** additionally, as the previous owner didn't claim on their insurance, theoretically you could get away with not telling your future insurance as there's no evidence you knew.
Edited by: "japes" 23rd Apr 2017

Don't let your heart rule your head... it's the biggest financial purchase you shall make so approach with caution!

For insurance purposes subsidence information is only required over the last 25 years. In my experience the difference from subsidence that long ago should be about £200 more over the year. So 5 years of that increase is £1000.

If the problem was fully rectified and no further issues have happened then £10,000 off a price you were happy to pay and a structural survey done is a great deal.

If you asked them about subsidence then they were required to tell you even if they didn't make a claim. I'm surprised your solicitor didn't ask them as these days it's a standard question along with questions about flooding.

I would have the full building survey done then make a decision based on the results

Original Poster

japes

Get the full survey but this will most likely just say there was evidence … Get the full survey but this will most likely just say there was evidence of previous subsidence. You can get separate insurance against existing subsidence and the £10000 will pay for that for many many years to come. I'd be wary as the property wasn't underpinned but maybe the extent of subsidence didn't warrant it. 20 years is a long time to be happy the issue has been resolved.Personally, I'd trust the survey and make the decision based on their advise. They should be able to tell if there's any continuing subsidence.*** additionally, as the previous owner didn't claim on their insurance, theoretically you could get away with not telling your future insurance as there's no evidence you knew.




Hi the report from then said it was 8mm so not a lot, and they said it was caused by the drains, drains have since been moved, I am fairly ok with it if new survey comes back clean, but insurance companies are being an ass, 3 I have phoned today won't touch it...CIS, Axa and Direct Line

Original Poster

alanrowell

If you asked them about subsidence then they were required to tell you … If you asked them about subsidence then they were required to tell you even if they didn't make a claim. I'm surprised your solicitor didn't ask them as these days it's a standard question along with questions about flooding.I would have the full building survey done then make a decision based on the results



I spoke to the surveyor, who done a home buyers report, he told me he asked them direct and they said no, so they were clearly willing to withhold it on the premise I would never find out I guess

Walk away. Think of the future. If you need to sell in 3/4/5 years its going cause you big problems.

Aeschylus

Hi the report from then said it was 8mm so not a lot, and they said it … Hi the report from then said it was 8mm so not a lot, and they said it was caused by the drains, drains have since been moved, I am fairly ok with it if new survey comes back clean, but insurance companies are being an ass, 3 I have phoned today won't touch it...CIS, Axa and Direct Line



​https://www.moneysupermarket.com/home-insurance/subsidence-insurance/

I've not investigated but a quick Google search shows lots of subsidence insurance specialist, worth ringing some of these

so long as they are ok with a full survey taking place but you guys still walking away, i'd take them up on their offer. but pick a firm of your choosing imo.

though the fact they didnt say anything, which they didnt have to, but then have decided to knock off £10,000 on the spot, tells me if you really want the house, maybe you can push for a bigger discount, or just move on.

Put it this way, if they had told you a structural wall had been damaged, but now fixed, would you still buy it?
My point is that the subsidence had been caused by drains, the issue has been fixed.
As long as the structural reports states that there is no issue or no evidence of recent subsidence, I'd personally be happy with that and money off.
I get the issue with insurance, but are you getting quotes on line or speaking to them direct? Maybe if you called up and explained the reasons behind the subsidence, they might not consider it to be subsidence in it's true form.
Nearly every house will have an issue somewhere - it's just about what issues you can put up with.

Its all about perception, rather than facts. Walk away.

If you do manage to get insurance the excess for a subsidence claim will be at least £1000

Original Poster

So I just phoned direct line, and after talking to the guy for 20 mins they have agreed to insure the property for a small premium on top, if the new survey shows there has been no movement in the last 20 years....

so excellent news

The fact the sellers lied to the surveyor makes me wonder what else they are hiding from you. I personally would walk away, we did it with a house we liked but had issues with ground rent going up to nearly 10k a year. was told it was an error by the builder and just to sign and it would get sorted! we refused and walked away and the property still 8 years later has not sold.

Timbeeeeeeeeer...walk away you may regret buying it and if you do it will always be on your mind.

You should look at the price of the house, is it similar to other properties sold on the market? if it is similar I would purchase a different or ask for more discount.

I would await to see surveyors report

good luck and keep us posted

get structural survey. the fault should have been rectified and you should ask to see the paperwork to show what work had been done. did the owner declare this on the sale papers or did they try to hide it?

you can also get a report of the amount of subsidence claims in the local area - might be helpful

If your insurance company is willing to insure for a small premium, I would say this is a good sign

I would rely on the professional survey unless you have real concerns and won't truly be happy. If you can accept what the survey says (on the assumption it comes back fine) and are happy with the results, I would take the discount.

Its also worth noting that most of south London, hampshire and many other places are built on very clay rich soil causing many surveys in those areas to show a risk of subsidence. This obviously doesnt stop people buying, i think hampshire is the 6th most expensive county.

I would advise speaking to 2-3 well established estate agents in the local area on what this would possibly entail. I would also base the decision on the report outcome, how long you wish to stay for, and cost of underpinning in the future. It could be very much in your favour that you have£10k knocked off if the above indicators are all positive. Also bear in mind at least you know now, for any future purchases you will have other rigmeroles to contend with.

So if the house fits your main criteria why let it go when you at least have all the information already. In the other hand if it's not a competitive marketplace in this location then you could well walk away easily.

Original Poster

mutley1

get structural survey. the fault should have been rectified and you … get structural survey. the fault should have been rectified and you should ask to see the paperwork to show what work had been done. did the owner declare this on the sale papers or did they try to hide it?



They hid it, the surveyor confirmed to me that he asked them directly if they had any issues with subsidence as the area is built on clay...

Once my solicitor discovered it (by accident) they sent the paperwork in, and they have a structural certificate etc saying all the work has been completed.... we are really annoyed they hid it (that is house buying I guess) my solicitor said that as there was no insurance claim they only really had a moral duty to notify us

Aeschylus

They hid it, the surveyor confirmed to me that he asked them directly if … They hid it, the surveyor confirmed to me that he asked them directly if they had any issues with subsidence as the area is built on clay...Once my solicitor discovered it (by accident) they sent the paperwork in, and they have a structural certificate etc saying all the work has been completed.... we are really annoyed they hid it (that is house buying I guess) my solicitor said that as there was no insurance claim they only really had a moral duty to notify us



the fact that they hid it would indicate that there may be issues. i would instruct your own structural engineer and ask that they pay the engineer upfront before the survey. if that comes back fine then negotiate a big drop in price to make the property more valuable to you to cover any future insurance costs.

Original Poster

mutley1

the fact that they hid it would indicate that there may be issues. i … the fact that they hid it would indicate that there may be issues. i would instruct your own structural engineer and ask that they pay the engineer upfront before the survey. if that comes back fine then negotiate a big drop in price to make the property more valuable to you to cover any future insurance costs.



the bank have insisted on a full structural survey, and they are paying for it... the message my solicitor got was that they are "old and de creped" so did not remember to tell us.... I reckon they are in their 70's but still no excuse

Aeschylus

the bank have insisted on a full structural survey, and they are paying … the bank have insisted on a full structural survey, and they are paying for it... the message my solicitor got was that they are "old and de creped" so did not remember to tell us.... I reckon they are in their 70's but still no excuse



I would be interested in what the structural survey comes back with so keep us posted.

Iron_Man

If you do manage to get insurance the excess for a subsidence claim will … If you do manage to get insurance the excess for a subsidence claim will be at least £1000


Every policy I have ever had has had a £1000 excess for subsidence

They offered 10k off straight away....
So you could easily push for more off.
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