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Alex J.
Alex J., Law
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 3522
Experience:  LPC, 2 Years Conveyancing
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Our house requires significant (£100k+) remdial work due to

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Our house requires significant (£100k+) remdial work due to subsidence. The NHBC have accepted as a valid claim. Our builder has denied any responsibility for the subsidence and has, to all intents and purposes, turned their back on us. Do we have any recourse to claim compensation from the builder for the distress and massive inconvenience caused by this issue?
Hi

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer.

How long ago did the builder build the house? Did they give you a warranty?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The house is 10 years old this year and was covered by the NHBC guarantee. We reported the fault 12 months ago. I'm not aware of any warranty from the builders.


 


Other properties on our development have encountered similar issues with subsidence.

Hi

Thank you.

Do you have an expert opinion from a surveyor or some other professional that says the subsidence was caused by the builders negligence?

I think it is highly unlikely you will have a succesful claim against the builder. Even if the builder gave a warranty, this would still be a contractual claim and you will probably be statute barred from brining the claim as it has been more than 6 years.

I would suggest your best option is to get a solicitor to write a few letters threatening a claim and see if they will give you some compensation but I would not recommend pursuing a full claim in the courts. The builder probably knows your claim is statute barred and that is why they are ignoring you.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

As far as I understand it, a "soft spot" has been identified by the experts that they believe to be the cause of the problem, exacerbated by the long dry spell we had in 2011/12. This same "soft spot" caused subsidence for one of our neighbours, (same builder).


 


Structurally the house is sound: the raft foundation system has done its job correctly by moving with the ground. There is no damage to the house, but the experts have concluded that remedial work is required.

Hi

Thank you.

If that is the case there may possibly be a professional negligence claim if you can prove that the issue could have only become apparent 12 months ago when you noticed it. In which case you would have three years from that date to bring a claim.

In that case you would have to prove you had out of pocket expenses other than those for repairing the foundations and not covered by the NHBC bond. You will not be able to claim for inconvenience.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

At this point in time we are not "out of pocket". However the first home insurance premium renewal since the claim was accepted by NHBC is due in June and I'm concerned that it may significantly increase. Equally I can only speculate at this stage what effect there will be on the resale value of the property.


 


Against whom would a professional negligence claim be made?

Hi

Thank you.

The professional negligence claim would be against the builder. You would need to prove the additional loss it has caused you.

If the subsidence is properly fixed it should not affect the resale value although you will have to disclose it.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

AJ
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