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    • katepower
    • By katepower 22nd Sep 16, 7:22 PM
    • 76Posts
    • 23Thanks
    I think vendor may have lied to me about subsidence issues
    • #1
    • 22nd Sep 16, 7:22 PM
    I think vendor may have lied to me about subsidence issues 22nd Sep 16 at 7:22 PM

    I am currently in the process of buying a Victorian 2 bed terrace. I've had the buildings survey done on the house, and the survey came back saying that there was evidence of rising damp, crumbling chimney stacks and a chimney stack that had been taken out of the downstairs front room but not upstairs. I was advised by my solicitor to get s structural survey done.

    I tried to find a structural surveyor by using local surveyors direct. It came up with two names. I gave the first surveyor my name and address of the property. He sounded surprised and said that he had recently had a quote from the same address to carry out a survey as there had apparently been some subsidence 30 years ago, and as a result the property had needed underpinning. Apparently the work was needed for a insurance quote. He then gave me the name of who had requested the work, unprompted by me, and it is the name of the seller.

    I have contacted my solicitors who have confirmed no history of subsidence has been disclosed. Whilst I appreciate that I have not heard it from the seller himself, that information has come from somewhere and I strongly suspect the vendor has purposefully concealed the information. It makes me worry what else he hasn't disclosed and I'm strongly tempted to walk away from the house. Obviously I have made enquiries which I am currently waiting to hear back from. My solicitor had suggested that I carry out the structural survey to get an idea of the level of subsidence but I don't think I can buy the house - I will always be wondering what else I don't know about it.

    I wondered if anyone could give me some advice on whether it would be worth further investigating or just walking away?
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    • walwyn1978
    • By walwyn1978 22nd Sep 16, 8:05 PM
    • 141 Posts
    • 120 Thanks
    • #2
    • 22nd Sep 16, 8:05 PM
    • #2
    • 22nd Sep 16, 8:05 PM
    You have doubts and you think the vendors haven't told you everything.

    Unless it's very competitively priced to take account of this possible issue, for your own sanity I suggest you keep looking elsewhere.
    • kilby_007
    • By kilby_007 22nd Sep 16, 8:58 PM
    • 401 Posts
    • 214 Thanks
    • #3
    • 22nd Sep 16, 8:58 PM
    • #3
    • 22nd Sep 16, 8:58 PM
    We've had a run of bad luck (or lucky escapes) from structural damage or subsidence. Out of the 3 properties we viewed/offered on with subsidence, only one of the vendors was upfront about it, but even she tried to play it down as "tree root damage", I had to keep pressing the issue to get the "s-word" out of her! The second property we offered on (and they accepted our offer) I had suspicions after a passing comment that the EA made, so I did some detective work and found out from a local builder working on a property across the road that there was an issue with corrosion of the bricks below the damp proof course and concrete floors. The builder even told me that he'd been approached by the vendor for a quote, but they'd rejected the work as it was too costly. When I approached the vendor about this on a second viewing she flatly denied there were any problems. The third property we viewed we fell in love with (huge house/garden and at a rock bottom price, but obviously for a reason!) I noticed cracks across the kitchen floor which correlated with cracks across the full width of the house outside. It was blatant subsidence but when I requested information about it through the EA they said the vendor disagreed that it was subsidence and was willing to pull the wool over our eyes reassure us if we went for another viewing.

    When it comes to the prospect of losing a large chunk of money from your house sale (by my reckoning about 15-20%) a lot of people will forget to mention subsidence both to your face and on property information forms. Personally, I would back away from this one. If the vendor says there is no problem, you won't believe them. If they say there is a problem, it'll just confirm your fears and you'll back out anyway.
    Last edited by kilby_007; 22-09-2016 at 9:44 PM.
    • Ozzuk
    • By Ozzuk 23rd Sep 16, 10:58 AM
    • 801 Posts
    • 1,252 Thanks
    • #4
    • 23rd Sep 16, 10:58 AM
    • #4
    • 23rd Sep 16, 10:58 AM
    Unless you are getting this for a bargain price I'd run for the hills (or at least make sure you get a full structural survey).

    I was very interested in a house last year that soon became obvious there were subsidence issues. I walked away and bought another. Since then that house is still on the market...was 185k, then 165k then its 125k. Stunning house backing on to fields but noone will touch it.
    • dsdhall
    • By dsdhall 23rd Sep 16, 11:23 AM
    • 38 Posts
    • 38 Thanks
    • #5
    • 23rd Sep 16, 11:23 AM
    • #5
    • 23rd Sep 16, 11:23 AM
    Underpinning, done properly, is fine. Ask the structural engineer for his opinion given he's already been involved with this property.

    If it's all been done fine, has the paperwork and not reoccured since it was fixed 30(?) years ago plenty of insurers will have no issue with it.

    Worth asking the vendor who the property is insured with and whether they have disclosed the subsidence issue to them and if so what the annual renewal price is.

    My current property had subsidence that the vendors 'forgot' to mention. We got everything sorted in the end but it took eighteen months for the purchase to go through, and a succession of increasingly specific surveys, local authority planning department, builders, etc., No other buyer would touch the place so we got a huge discount on the original asking price!
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