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(Ancient historic fixed) Structural movement and insurance

(8 Posts)
NoPlanYet Mon 18-Apr-16 13:46:01

Posted about this before but got new questions now.

Selling my flat (GF 1900s built flat, on a hill in SE London)

Survey flagged up evidence of structural movement - walls bulging.

Survey didn't flag up that there is a bloody great metal plate which is the result of repair work carried out in the 50s or 60s to tie the house together to stop structural movement.

Buyers pulled out due to shoddily rushed survey, we commissioned a structural engineer report to find out whether movement was historic or current to try and keep them on board / put our minds at rest.

Engineers report concluded there was no evidence of current movement, repair work was old (mid 20th c) and seems to have done the job. The phrase "Given the absence of any recent or continuing movements and the buttressing of the wall provided by the chimney breasts, it may reasonably be concluded that the problem was adequately resolved at the time and the wall may now be regarded as stable" is used.

So far so good! I think.

My question is: we were not aware of any of this when we bought the flat, so we stated that there was no structural movement to our insurer, including saying there had been no movement in the past. We didn't have the repair pointed out in our survey (6 yrs ago), the external walls were given a condition 1 and we green FTBs assumed all was well. Do we now need to notify our insurers to correct this 'mistake' now that we know better?

And more pertinently since we're trying to sell our flat, we've been asked "Can you ask the vendors how the structural situation, including the tying is covered with their existing building insurance e.g. is the insurer aware and are there any additional costs/restrictions because of it?"

I'm not sure how to answer this without basically saying we've skirted the issue until now and we suggest they do the same!

What would you reply? What reply would you want to hear if you were an anxious FTBer? We are relatively happy to throw some money at this so will it be horribly expensive to change our insurance and just pass them the new details? Current buildings insurance is about £150pa.

Shall I call the insurer and get it updated or will they tell us to fuck off and refuse to insure us, therefore meaning we lose our buyers and lose our mortgage as we have to be insured?!?!?! Trying not to catastrophise

NoPlanYet Mon 18-Apr-16 14:58:07


bilbodog Mon 18-Apr-16 15:45:48

Sounds a tricky situation and cant give you any advice. Hopefully someone else will.

NoPlanYet Tue 19-Apr-16 07:55:25

Thanks Bilbo.
Bump for any more replies please

wowfudge Tue 19-Apr-16 08:35:19

I don't really see what the problem is - you have a structural engineer's report and the 'issue' only came to light when a potential buyer had a survey carried out. You have the report, surely this is a storm in a teacup and you just make your insurers aware in line with the terms of your insurance policy?

Who has asked whether your insurers are aware? Any survey carried out for another potential buyer, show their surveyor the engineer's report. Some people will always shy away from anything even slightly potentially problematic, most won't.

bilbodog Tue 19-Apr-16 10:32:40

I think fudge is right. Now you know let your insurers know. Sounds like these buyers might not be right for your property and you might have to find someone else. You will find that solicitors and surveyors bring up more things each time you move e.g. It is now common to have to take out chancel repair liability indemnity insurance on lots of houses but this wasnt the case when we first bought 20 years ago! You need a buyer who understands issues that come along with an older property. Hope it all works out.

NoPlanYet Tue 19-Apr-16 17:31:20

Thanks both.

I was irrationally worried the insurers would tell us the insurance is cancelled and we'd be stuck in an uninsurable hole. DP called them today and they actually said fine, don't care as movement was more than 20yrs ago, no change to the premium.

We've fed this to the buyers so up to them what they decide to do... If they still want to back out then they probably would have regardless of anything as our investigations have led to best possible case resulting.

Back to being calm hopefully... and poss still setting up a LTB mortgage as a backup just in case...

Spickle Tue 19-Apr-16 21:11:45

I would photocopy and send the part of the engineers report that you quoted above and respond to the buyer's solicitors with something like this "structural movement is historic and was repaired over 20 years ago as evidenced in the engineers report prepared when we purchased the property. There have been no problems with movement or in obtaining buildings insurance in this respect during the period of our ownership, but the buyer must rely on their own inspection and survey".

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