Advice on settling a Subsidence ClaimMake Text Bigger
We own a commercial premise which we trade from. Our neighbour has developed land directly at the back of our property. When he excavated the site we experienced subsidence.
Our neighbour proved to be awkward to deal with. Please note prior to the build we did engage the services of an architect who was supposed to act on our behalf as our Party Wall Surveyor. Unfortunately he should not have offered his services as we now know he wasn’t competent in this area and didn’t fully understand the act.
We therefore turned for help to our insurance company who engaged the services of a structural engineer who found that the damage had been caused by subsidence and attributed the blame directly at our neighbours development.
Two years down the line we are at the position where we have a schedule of works/repairs which the insurance can carry out or we can negotiate a cash settlement.
Most of the works are really cosmetic apart from a slightly sloping floor in an upstairs toilet. To carry out these works would cause significant disruption to our business for approximately a month as we only have one toilet in the building and most of our customers and staff would have to use a Portaloo in the backyard which for a hairdressing salon is not good…to say the least!
We have discussed the condition of our property with the structural engineer and she has said that as far as she is concerned she is happy the building is in a sound and stable condition and that she doesn’t predict any further movement even if we don’t have the work carried out by the insurance company. She is happy to give us a Certificate of Structural Integrity with the building in the condition it is in.
Our main concerns and priorities are firstly
• that we have appropriate documentation that we can show to a solicitor, valuer, engineer acting on behalf of any future purchaser to demonstrate the building is structurally sound. So that we would have no problems selling the property in the future
• having appropriate documentation that we can show future insurance companies so that we are not tied to our present insurer
• having appropriate documentation that we can give to any future lender so we could use the property as security if we chose to lend against it.
Furthermore we feel particularly upset that as a consequence of us having to make this claim our insurance premiums have gone up considerably these last two years due to our claim. Even though we have been told by the loss adjuster the insurance company will probably look to recover their costs from our neighbour.
In the event of us accepting a cash settlement we would also have to accept a £1000 excess which again seems unfair considering fault is not ours.
My questions are this;
• What advice can people give regarding the appropriate documentation required for the three points I made. Is it simply a Certificate of structural Integrity or is there other documentation I would require?
• What advice can people give in relation to realistic dealings with future insurance companies because of the subsidence claims. Will most insurance companies shy away from quoting and will we have to pay increased premiums from now on as a consequence?
I thank you in advance for reading this post and look forward to your reply.
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