Whilst many throughout the country are enjoying the July heat wave, the sunshine does not only bring good news, warns Landmark Information Group. The risk of a full blown subsidence event has been upgraded to ‘moderate’ according to a new report from leading UK arboriculturist OCA UK Ltd*. 

Despite this, many homeowners and potential homeowners throughout the UIK may be unaware of their property’s risk of subsidence. Thorough checks of a property’s subsidence risk are not always carried out as standard during the purchasing process; as a result, many homebuyers may be purchasing a property without realising the dangers or understanding the impact upon value, insurability and saleability.

Chris Taylor, Product Development Director for Environmental – Legal, Landmark Information Group, explains: “A lack of moisture in the soil is one of the main causes of subsidence.  As we are currently experiencing a heat wave which follows a very dry June and is set to continue throughout July, we could expect to see an increase in the number of subsidence claims in the coming months.

“We saw a similar pattern of dry weather in 2003 and 2006, during which time the number of subsidence claims increased significantly.  Furthermore, 2013 has so far has been drier than 2006 and follows a very wet year so we have an unprecedented situation.

 “1 in 5 homes in the UK** (approximately 6.5 million properties) are at risk of subsidence with an average estimated £200-250 million spent on subsidence claims every year. If we see similar claims to those experienced in 2003 and 2006, subsidence could cost the industry as much as – if not more than - £400m. Subsidence is not an issue that is going to go away; in fact, research predicts a more than 50% increase in subsidence over the next 30 years alone***.  It is crucial that buyers know up-front the potential risks of a property they are considering purchasing.”

Andy Lucas, Managing Director of Property Assure, said: “The 2003 subsidence volume was the equivalent of the properties affected by devastating floods in 2007 in Sheffield, Hull and Tewkesbury****. It is not all bad news however; subsidence risk can be mitigated by some simple cost effective steps – the first step is to be aware of a property’s subsidence risk.”

Chris Taylor continues: “We have teamed up with Property Assure to develop our Subsidence Risk Services which check for threats of subsidence. Homeowners and potential homeowners receive the initial opinion within 24 hours and any follow on site work will be turned around within just ten days, so 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 homebuyers and property professionals in mind to ensure that a clear answer is provided and additional services are available for those wishing to investigate further.”

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