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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7435
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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I purchased our property 18 months ago and have had it confirmed

Resolved Question:

I purchased our property 18 months ago and have had it confirmed that the house is suffering from subsidence. The claim is being covered by our buildings insurance as the subsidence, or possibility of subsidence, was not picked up by our surveyor.

We are however still having to pay the £1000 excess cost. I am convinced that the previous owners knew of the problem as the internal and external cracks have been filled in and re-painted etc - basically covered up. And I have since also heard that the property went onto the market at a much higher price, at which point we think the price was dramatically lowered as they knew there was a problem (difficult to prove unless the Estate agent confirms or another survey was previously undertaken that picked up the issue?).

I want to find out if we can make a claim against the previous owners for selling us the property and get them to cover the insurance excess cost, plus possibly our fees for buying the property?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for your question.

You need to consult your file from the purchase and speak to your solicitor. Your prospects of a successful claim for the subsidence excess will depend upon whether the Sellers have misrepresented the condition or history of the property.

Your Solicitor will have submitted pre-contract enquiries and I would expect a enquiry was made by them of the sellers asking if the property has ever suffered from or had incidences of subsidence. If the Sellers did not reply truthfully to this (ie. by saying that it has not and no remedial works were undertaken) then you should (subject to what they have actually said) be able to claim the cost of the excess from them by issuing proceedings in the small claims court if they do not accept it and offer you damages.

If they claim that they genuinely did not know of the problem and did not repaint over the areas then you will have to prove they did. If they have lived in the property for a long time then it would be reasonable to assume that they had painted over the areas

You should also consult your survey or mortgage valuation to see if evidence of this was found. If it was and it was not brought to your attention by your solicitor or perhaps no further enquires were made by the solicitor then you may have a claim against them.

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Kind regards,

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