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Anyone bought a house with previous subsidence?

(7 Posts)
CycleHire Wed 26-Apr-17 09:10:04

We are in the process of buying a house and have discovered that a couple of years ago the house suffered from movement. A eucalyptus tree was removed from the driveway and the house was repaired. The house was monitored and there were no signs of further movement. The house was issued with a Certificate of Structural Adequacy in September 2016.

We had a building survey done last week. The surveyor told us that in his view the house is no more likely to suffer further movement than other similar houses in the area. We are in London so clay soils. He has recommended that an overgrown pyracanthus in the back garden is 'killed and poisoned' and we ask the LA to prune a tree on the pavement outside.

We need buildings insurance 'on standard terms' as a condition of the mortgage (obviously we would want it anyway). When we initially phoned for quotes for buildings insurance companies wouldn't quote - some said 1 year from the date of the Certificate of Structural Adequacy and our current insurer (on our house) said 5 years . We were told we could get insurance from the current provider but our solicitor sees this as risky if we don't have a choice of provider. It now seems we will be able to get some quotes.

I have read articles from house owners who have struggled to get insurance or sell a house with any history of subsidence, even many years ago.

We love the house and we haven't seen anything else we would want to buy and I have been stalking Rightmove for a long time. Having said that, we don't have to move. We are moving for a bigger garden, better layout and more potential.

Are we mad to buy this house? Should we walk away? I don't know if our hearts are ruling our heads.

Thank you.

CycleHire Wed 26-Apr-17 12:32:18

Anyone had any experience or thoughts please?

johnd2 Wed 26-Apr-17 13:42:58

If a structural engineer has said it's fine then she's staking their pii insurance on it, so they won't say that lightly. So I wouldn't worry about the house, just don't grow trees close to it.
The insurance issue might be tricky as mainstream insurance and mortgage companies are very conservative. So you'll have to budget more for not being able to use the most competitive providers.

CountMagnus Wed 26-Apr-17 14:43:03

Eucalyptus trees are high water demand, so your clay soil will have been subject to shrinkage from the tree removing water from the soil and then some swelling after the tree has been removed - London Clay is particularly prone to this. As the problem tree and plant (pyracantha is also high water demand) have been dealt with you shouldn't get further problems.

You should be able to get insurance through a specialist provider (there are several out there - they should tailor your quote to your specific circumstances) as well as the current owner's insurance company.

heron98 Wed 26-Apr-17 15:17:06

OUr house suffered subsidence in the eighties due to a collapsed drain.

When we bought we had a structural engineer go round who said that the movement was historic and not likely to reoccur.

We went ahead with the sale as we loved the house. However, I do sometimes worry that other buyers will run a mile if we ever try to sell and there are cracks in the walls. However, what's done is done.

CycleHire Wed 26-Apr-17 20:59:08

Thank you all.

The pyracantha is still in the back garden but the building surveyor has told us it needs to go. I don't believe it has caused any damage (the eucalyptus was at the front) but I suppose he's trying to avoid that. On the other hand I know if you remove a tree it can cause more water in the ground and heave which is as bad as subsidence. Gah.

We are in the process of trying to get building insurance quotes. I have spoken to the current insurer today and they are contacting the underwriter to get a quote in 2 or 3 days. We are also trying to get other quotes. I guess whether we can and the premium and excess will tell us whether this is a go-er.

I wish I hadn't fallen in love with the house or it wouldn't be so hard to let go. But i don't want a millstone round our necks.

HarrietVane99 Wed 26-Apr-17 21:06:35

I bought a house which had had subsidence. My mortgage lender was happy as long as the existing insurer was happy to continue, which they were. Since then I've changed insurers at least twice, with no problem. Probably had to declare the historic subsidence issue, and I think at least one of them put on a higher, but not exorbitant, excess for any future subsidence. But I've been here well over twenty years with no problems.

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