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    • k_1982
    • By k_1982 9th Oct 17, 12:22 PM
    • 2Posts
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    k_1982
    Contaminated Land
    • #1
    • 9th Oct 17, 12:22 PM
    Contaminated Land 9th Oct 17 at 12:22 PM
    Hi, Around 2 and half months ago we put an offer on a house and decided to proceed. Got Mortgage approved as well as Searches done. One of the environmental Search result came back as "High Potential Risk" on a contaminated land. Please note the whole development is only 13years old so I assumed it must have been dealt properly.
    On asking Solicitors to advise on this contamination issue, they said they have asked seller's solicitor for more details but it seems seller' solicitor has been extremely slow (may be intentionally). As 2 and half months past, and me consistently chasing no answers yet. This has given me doubts about it, although I like the property but I just wonder if it's right decision to go ahead with the purchase ? and this contamination issue, could it devalue the property and make it difficult to sell in future ? obviously i feel bad equally if I walk out from the purchase after this time ? Any thoughts/suggestions please
Page 1
    • G_M
    • By G_M 9th Oct 17, 12:39 PM
    • 42,280 Posts
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    G_M
    • #2
    • 9th Oct 17, 12:39 PM
    • #2
    • 9th Oct 17, 12:39 PM
    Chances are that neither the seller, nor their solicitor, will have any more information than you do.

    Do your own research into the history of the site and the possible contamation.
    Last edited by G_M; 09-10-2017 at 2:36 PM.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 9th Oct 17, 1:42 PM
    • 14,218 Posts
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    • #3
    • 9th Oct 17, 1:42 PM
    • #3
    • 9th Oct 17, 1:42 PM
    I guess the first question is "What sort of contamination?"
    New Year's Resolution already made -

    Don't get mad....get firm ...
    • chappers
    • By chappers 9th Oct 17, 1:46 PM
    • 2,948 Posts
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    chappers
    • #4
    • 9th Oct 17, 1:46 PM
    • #4
    • 9th Oct 17, 1:46 PM
    If it has flagged up on the environmental search, then there must be some information in the public record.
    Check planning applications etc, was there a chemical factory or something there. Did the house originally have a warranty, such as NHBC, then check with them as usually they would have put in a requirement to clear the contamination.
    Make your own assessment and then consider taking out indemnity against the risk, maybe try and get the vendor to pay
    • chappers
    • By chappers 9th Oct 17, 1:48 PM
    • 2,948 Posts
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    chappers
    • #5
    • 9th Oct 17, 1:48 PM
    • #5
    • 9th Oct 17, 1:48 PM
    I guess the first question is "What sort of contamination?"
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    Usually won't be that specific, sometimes it is generic, for example if you are in an ex coal mining area, then it would be common to just say that there is the possibility of contaminated land and also mining activity, even though there wasn't any specifically in the area in question.
    • eittolder
    • By eittolder 9th Oct 17, 2:32 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    eittolder
    • #6
    • 9th Oct 17, 2:32 PM
    • #6
    • 9th Oct 17, 2:32 PM
    I had this recently on a property I purchased in Jan 2016 and Sold June 2017, when I purchased nothing flagged up but when I sold it flagged up on purchasers environmental search

    I've also had it flag up on another purchase I've just made...my solicitor suggested it's come back on lots of properties now

    My seller paid for an indemnity insurance for me to cover it, which was about £117
    • G_M
    • By G_M 9th Oct 17, 2:38 PM
    • 42,280 Posts
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    G_M
    • #7
    • 9th Oct 17, 2:38 PM
    • #7
    • 9th Oct 17, 2:38 PM

    My seller paid for an indemnity insurance for me to cover it, which was about £117
    Originally posted by eittolder
    Yeah like that's really gonna help when you develop a cancer, or breathing problem, or whatever, in 5 years time.......
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 9th Oct 17, 2:42 PM
    • 14,218 Posts
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    • #8
    • 9th Oct 17, 2:42 PM
    • #8
    • 9th Oct 17, 2:42 PM
    The thing that always strikes me about a property that is/might be contaminated is its not suitable for anyone that grows their own food.

    I can imagine just how hard I'd "hit the ceiling" if someone told me that the organic food I've been growing in my garden (mainly to protect my health) hadnt gone "according to plan" some years down the line..

    Hence I would never knowingly buy a property with contaminated land personally.
    New Year's Resolution already made -

    Don't get mad....get firm ...
    • chappers
    • By chappers 9th Oct 17, 2:57 PM
    • 2,948 Posts
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    chappers
    • #9
    • 9th Oct 17, 2:57 PM
    • #9
    • 9th Oct 17, 2:57 PM
    Exactly that happened to a friend of mines Mum about 15 years ago. The houses were built after the war and the tenants were obviously encouraged to grow their own veg. Well about 15 years ago it was discovered that the ground was contaminated, they came and dug something like 4 feet of soil out of everyones garden and the neighbouring park and replaced it with fresh.
    But as suggested earlier some of this reporting is becoming a catch all. for example if you live in a n area of historic industry.
    • k_1982
    • By k_1982 9th Oct 17, 3:11 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    k_1982
    These new properties come with a very small garden, so chances are very low that I might be growing any veg (although I love to). Which brings me to next question, how do i find out the history of the land, another detailed search etc or should I go to the council to find out ?
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 9th Oct 17, 3:16 PM
    • 24,053 Posts
    • 66,667 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    Hi, Around 2 and half months ago we put an offer on a house and decided to proceed. Got Mortgage approved as well as Searches done. One of the environmental Search result came back as "High Potential Risk" on a contaminated land. Please note the whole development is only 13years old so I assumed it must have been dealt properly.
    On asking Solicitors to advise on this contamination issue, they said they have asked seller's solicitor for more details but it seems seller' solicitor has been extremely slow (may be intentionally). As 2 and half months past, and me consistently chasing no answers yet. This has given me doubts about it, although I like the property but I just wonder if it's right decision to go ahead with the purchase ? and this contamination issue, could it devalue the property and make it difficult to sell in future ? obviously i feel bad equally if I walk out from the purchase after this time ? Any thoughts/suggestions please
    Originally posted by k_1982
    It isn't unusual to have a contamination flag on land when the searches are carried out. In my district, there are five figures of potentially contaminated land that are flagged for various reasons. It does not mean that they are contaminated at all and most will not be. Our LA says that if it's flagged but hasn't been assessed already then it isn't a major concern. A lot of houses fall within a radius of something that would never affect the land the house is on, but it just falls in the area.

    If your estate is 13 years old then the planning history for the site should be available. Major developers are usually required to submit contamination reports and soil analysis alongside their applications. That can usual dismiss the issue, but any actual issues then have to be addressed by removing an appropriate layer of soil. It is usually put into the planning approval as a condition to be discharged before building begins. I doubt that the search information is updated after that point. It probably just remains as a potential flag for future reference.

    We have that condition on our small site. I've had people out making bore holes in the last couple of weeks on our land, far deeper than any potential contamination would go. The analysis is thorough.

    You can speak to planning or land charges at your LA. Information available should be available to allay your fears faster than your vendor's solicitor can. It is highly, highly unlikely that there is any kind of problem.

    You search maps should flag where and what the potential problem could be. Often landfill - which rarely means household rubbish, can mean brick works when the Victorians would fire on site of large developments, though you never know with modern major developers :roll eyes:
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 09-10-2017 at 3:19 PM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 9th Oct 17, 3:22 PM
    • 14,218 Posts
    • 38,528 Thanks
    moneyistooshorttomention
    Exactly that happened to a friend of mines Mum about 15 years ago. The houses were built after the war and the tenants were obviously encouraged to grow their own veg. Well about 15 years ago it was discovered that the ground was contaminated, they came and dug something like 4 feet of soil out of everyones garden and the neighbouring park and replaced it with fresh.
    But as suggested earlier some of this reporting is becoming a catch all. for example if you live in a n area of historic industry.
    Originally posted by chappers
    4' of soil wouldnt cover everything.

    I'm growing comfrey, for instance, because the roots go down very deep and get all the "nourishment" and I believe I recall those roots go down about 7'.
    New Year's Resolution already made -

    Don't get mad....get firm ...
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 9th Oct 17, 3:28 PM
    • 24,053 Posts
    • 66,667 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    4' of soil wouldnt cover everything.

    I'm growing comfrey, for instance, because the roots go down very deep and get all the "nourishment" and I believe I recall those roots go down about 7'.
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    When checking for contamination, they go down far, using bore holes across the site.

    4' would have been the affected area with some margin for error.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • chappers
    • By chappers 9th Oct 17, 8:22 PM
    • 2,948 Posts
    • 1,701 Thanks
    chappers
    When checking for contamination, they go down far, using bore holes across the site.

    4' would have been the affected area with some margin for error.
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    Yep I don't know the full in's and outs but assume that was the case.
    Most of that ground was made up after the war and I think the contaminated soil had been brought in from somewhere else
    • elsien
    • By elsien 9th Oct 17, 8:30 PM
    • 15,422 Posts
    • 38,718 Thanks
    elsien
    The thing that always strikes me about a property that is/might be contaminated is its not suitable for anyone that grows their own food.

    I can imagine just how hard I'd "hit the ceiling" if someone told me that the organic food I've been growing in my garden (mainly to protect my health) hadnt gone "according to plan" some years down the line..

    Hence I would never knowingly buy a property with contaminated land personally.
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention

    My house was flagged up as potentially contaminated land, due to an old battery factory at the end of the road. I was advised not to grow food in the ground, so when I started to get into gardening I just grew it in pots instead.
    The council did some tests in gardens along the street a few years later and the results were that there was nothing to worry about. The initial flag was because no-one was sure at the time I bought.
    Maybe see if your council have any further information? I found the planning officer very helpful when I turned up with my list of questions.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • Time2go
    • By Time2go 9th Oct 17, 8:47 PM
    • 198 Posts
    • 43 Thanks
    Time2go
    Virtually every property in my county and next one has contaminated land radon to be exact due to the granite everywhere. However I rather like living in Devon so think I'll risk it.
    • Atomix
    • By Atomix 9th Oct 17, 9:25 PM
    • 239 Posts
    • 200 Thanks
    Atomix
    This happened to us a few years ago,
    It turned out that the house (and a few other properties) were built on a disused gasworks.
    The house we were going to buy, was actually on top of where a gas tower once stood (built in 1850, disused in 1950s) so the old fashioned gas, not like gas nowadays, it was horrible stuff back then... anyway surprise surprise - lack of paperwork, no soil tests etc etc.
    Walked away. (This was before environmental survey was mandatory - lucky we did one)
    • cjmillsnun
    • By cjmillsnun 9th Oct 17, 9:32 PM
    • 346 Posts
    • 224 Thanks
    cjmillsnun
    This happened to us a few years ago,
    It turned out that the house (and a few other properties) were built on a disused gasworks.
    The house we were going to buy, was actually on top of where a gas tower once stood (built in 1850, disused in 1950s) so the old fashioned gas, not like gas nowadays, it was horrible stuff back then... anyway surprise surprise - lack of paperwork, no soil tests etc etc.
    Walked away. (This was before environmental survey was mandatory - lucky we did one)
    Originally posted by Atomix
    Most of the gasholders date from the town gas era, and the land is heavily contaminnated.

    The sites are being fully decontaminated prior to being sold for development.
    • Thrugelmir
    • By Thrugelmir 9th Oct 17, 9:42 PM
    • 56,203 Posts
    • 49,585 Thanks
    Thrugelmir
    Get the seller to pay for an indemnity policy on the site and the demolition/rebuilding of the property.
    “Opportunities come infrequently. When it rains gold, put out the bucket, not the thimble”
    ― Warren Buffett
    • Mutton Geoff
    • By Mutton Geoff 10th Oct 17, 2:09 AM
    • 998 Posts
    • 1,036 Thanks
    Mutton Geoff
    Which brings me to next question, how do i find out the history of the land, another detailed search etc or should I go to the council to find out ?
    Originally posted by k_1982


    Try looking at a range of historic maps using the "side by side" viewer here:


    http://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/side-by-side/#


    That might throw up a clue if you can find an OS 25 inch or similar for your area.
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