Subsidence on prospective neighbouring property?Make Text Bigger
My wife and I have had our offered on a property accepted by the vendor. The problem lies in the fact that at the bottom of the garden are a row of adjoining terraced houses with the foundations of the end terrace alleging to have been affected by the tree planted at the bottom of the vendor’s garden.
The vendor made us aware of this situation as soon as we had our offered accepted and had promised to bear any costs a successful claim by the neighbour would incur. The problem lies in the fact that the owner of the property at the end of the garden didn’t take out insurance and has therefore looked to use the tree as the reason for the subsidence and make a claim against the vendor. The vendor believes it is a spurious claim that won’t be upheld…but the report by an independent arboriculturalist proved inconclusive as they weren’t prepared to commit either way.
On driving past a couple of weeks ago, we noticed that the end terrace at the bottom of the garden had a for sale sign outside. After further investigation, we found that it was sold to a cash buyer at knock-down price due to the property being unmortgageable and uninsurable (a tell-tale sign of subsidence). The property now no longer belongs to the former owners who were looking to claim against the vendor of the property we are looking to buy.
We are left in a bizarre limbo situation where we don’t know if the previous owners of the subsidence house can still legitimately bring a claim, who they will make the claim against and what the likely cost of this would be. We do know that the property was sold for around £50k less than market value. If that weren’t complicated enough, the vendor is terminally ill and if he were to die in the intervening period, this situation is made worse.
The question to ask is if the owner of the subsidence-affected house were to make a claim, who would it be against and what would be the likely limit of the claim. I am led to believe that the new owners cannot make a claim as their losses have been mitigated by the reduced cost of the house.
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