What to do if Your Dream Property Becomes a Nightmare

There can be nothing more upsetting than having spent months, maybe even years, finding your dream home, to find out once you’ve moved in that your property is suffering from subsidence.

Subsidence does sound very scary but thankfully in most cases it can be rectified. Subsidence can be caused by many factors including a high concentration of clay soils, trees and bushes growing under a house and even water leaks from drainpipes which then disturb the foundations of a building. We have listed below some hints and tips if you think your property has subsidence:

 Look out for the signs

One of the signs of subsidence is noticing if any existing cracks are widening or new cracks in the exterior brickwork over 3mm wide are appearing. Additionally being aware of cosmetic changes within the house can also be an indication such as cracks appearing in plasterwork or a rippling effect in wallpaper. Wooden doors that start sticking regardless of seasonal changes could also be an early indication of potential subsidence.


photo credit:minipixel via photopin cc

Check your buildings insurance

If you have buildings insurance you are more than likely to be covered for subsidence. If you have a mortgage, contact your mortgage company and your buildings insurance and they will advise you on the next steps to take. They will probably arrange for a chartered surveyor to visit your property to carry out an inspection. If you don’t have buildings insurance, you will need to contact a chartered surveyor yourself so that they can come over and assess any damage.

Be patient

Unfortunately dealing with subsidence is not a quick fix. Cracks will need to montired over a period of time sometimes months to ensure that a correct diagnosis can be found. Even when a plan has been agreed and implemented it can take a few attempts to resolve the issue. The whole process can in some cases take up to two years to resolve.

Remove the cause

Of course every situation is different and how your subsidence will be fixed will depend on the severity and cause of the problem. Ensuring you seek the advice of professionals to help you, will save you time and money in the long run. For instance subsidence caused by tree roots could be solved by removing the tree and roots but you must ensure the tree is removed safely and properly in a way that causes no further damage. It will also require specialist equipment and training.

Sometimes if the subsidence is severe then the property’s foundations may need underpinning. This process can be expensive and take time but will only ever be undertaken as a last resort.

It is important that if you think you have subsidence for you to get this investigated straight away. Contact your mortgage company, buildings insurer, chartered surveyor or structural engineer to discuss your property and the details of the subsidence you have noticed within your property. They will be able to help you and confirm the next steps you should take in getting the problem resolved.

This was written by Emily who works closely with MCM. Emily enjoys writing, working on her home and garden and spending time with her family.