New Subsidence Risk Services Launched to Help Property Professionals Fulfil Due Diligence Requirements
– 1 in 5 homes (6.5 million) in the UK are at risk of subsidence*
– An estimated £200-£250m per annum is spent on subsidence claims*
– Typically the same number of insurance claims are made annually for subsidence as for flood*
– A range of Subsidence Risk Services — the only reports of their kind in the marketplace – launched today to assist solicitors to meet their due diligence requirements
1 in 5 homes in the UK* (approximately 6.5 million properties) are at risk of subsidence each year with an average estimated £200-250 million spent on subsidence claims per annum. Despite this, thorough checks of a property’s subsidence risk may not always be carried out as standard during the conveyancing process; as a result, many homebuyers may be purchasing a property without realising the dangers or understanding the impact upon value, insurability and saleability.
Subsidence is not an issue that is going to go away; European research predicts a more than 50% increase in subsidence over the next 30 years alone**. The Council of Mortgage Lenders advises conveyancers that they ‘must carry out any other searches which may be appropriate to the particular property, taking into account its locality and other features.’ Landmark Information Group has teamed up with Property Assure in launching a range of Subsidence Risk Services to provide clarity of all forms of subsidence risk. As an initial investigation, solicitors can obtain a ‘Subsidence Risk Rating — Postcode Report’ which will determine the level of risk of subsidence at a detailed, specific postcode level; the report also includes a manual expert review. Depending on the findings, further reports, which investigate issues of concern more deeply, are available to purchase.
There are many causes of subsidence and local knowledge cannot be relied upon. Simply because subsidence has not occurred in a particular location previously, does not mean that it will not occur in the future. Drainage leakage alone, for example, accounts for over 15% of all subsidence claims and the planting of unsuitable trees and vegetation is another major cause. Furthermore, extensions such as conservatories or garages that are not built to the same standard as the existing house may also be susceptible to the effects of subsidence. Without proper checks, property and legal professionals may be unaware of such alterations and the resulting impact on a property.
It is crucial that buyers know up-front the potential risks of a property they are considering purchasing. If their property subsequently experiences subsidence and a claim must be made, this will need to be disclosed in subsequent insurance renewals and will impact insurability and premiums. Furthermore, claims must be revealed when selling a property, which may affect the ability of a potential buyer to secure a mortgage on the property.
Chris Taylor, Product Development Director for Environmental — Legal, Landmark Information Group, said: “We have developed our Subsidence Risk Services to remove the burden from solicitors. The reports ensure providing a comprehensive service for clients is very straightforward and provides both solicitors and their clients with peace of mind that all necessary checks have been carried out and that no hidden surprises will be uncovered once the buyers have moved in.
“With a turnaround of just 24 hours for the initial opinion and 10 days for any follow-on site work, Subsidence Risk Services is a quick and convenient method of obtaining the right information, which ensures that the purchase process won’t be delayed by lengthy enquiries or hidden surprises. The report has been designed with both property professionals and homebuyers in mind to ensure that a clear answer is provided and additional services are available for those wishing to investigate further.”
Andy Lucas, Managing Director of Property Assure, said: “Subsidence is a silent natural disaster and represents the largest ground stability risk in the UK. It affects a vast number of homes throughout the country and is a great drain on our economy; typically the same number of insurance claims is made annually for subsidence as for flood. Over the last 10 years, subsidence has cost the economy an estimated £3bn.”
The Subsidence Risk Rating — Postcode Report can be purchased for just £15 + VAT.
For more information on Landmark Information Group, visit www.landmark.co.uk or call 0844 844 9966. For further information on Subsidence Risk Services visit www.subsidencesupport.co.uk.