Subsidence risk is directly linked to an unusually wet winter followed by a particularly dry summer. With the potential of UK property owners suffering hundreds of millions of pounds in damage resulting from shrink/swell subsidence it’s well worth keeping an eye on the Met Office website
Some winters, such as 2016/17 are generally drier than the average. When the summer is looking to be a fairly dry one, there is much less chance of subsidence than 2009 for example where a very wet winter preceded an unusually dry summer saw a one third increase in subsidence related claims.
Areas built on highly absorbent clay soil are particularly at risk with much of North London and Surrey and the South East of England being built on this type of soil. Indeed subsidence is a familiar issue in these areas even where relative stability in water saturation has existed.
Purchasing a property without a professional building survey, particularly in clay soil areas, leaves buyers exposed to the serious and expensive consequences of owning a house with subsidence. A RICS building survey gives buyers the ultimate peace of mind in knowing a property’s history and susceptibility to subsidence.
In the event that historical subsidence is found, it is common practice to renegotiate the buying price in proportion to the cost of remedy.
If previous subsidence repairs have been carried out, the buyer’s conveyancing solicitor will ensure that suitable warranties are in place and that the property is insurable.
To arrange a building survey on your next home please contact us.