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Subsidence issues in Crofton Park, Blythe Hill?
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Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2013
Post: #1
25-09-2013 08:29 PM

Hi there,

is anyone familiar with subsidence issues in Crofton Park/Blythe Hill area?

We are thinking of buying a property in that neighbourhood but have been told that the risk of subsidence is high there.

Is the risk real? Can anyone recommend a building insurance company which won't charge an extra premium?

Many thanks in advance!

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Posts: 23
Joined: Apr 2013
Post: #2
26-09-2013 02:08 PM

I don't know about Crofton Park/Blythe Hill specifically, but any older property in SE London has a risk of subsidence, given it's clay heavy.

My understanding from another poster here on an earlier thread (I forget which) is that insurers will generally assume a potential risk based on your postcode - so the whole of SE23 is relatively risky for example.

Get a proper survey of any house or flat you buy if it is in an older property (especially if its a victorian terrace, as they have shallow foundations) and make sure your solicitors ask the seller if there there is any history of subsidence with the place as part of their enquiries. The major cost with subsidence is when it happens to you and you have to claim under the insurance - you basically get stuck with your current insurer (the major insurers wont newly insure a house that has had a subsidence claim in the last 10 years at best) and your insurance cost will go up.

There is no insurer that wont add a premium - the problem is finding one prepared to insure it if there's been a claim. If your house gets underpinned, then (fairly or unfairly) you will generally find only niche insurers such as NFU Mutual will insure it. Although, as an NFU customer out of choice (no subsidence with our place!) they have been very good so far...

Hope that helps.

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Posts: 212
Joined: Jul 2012
Post: #3
26-09-2013 02:39 PM

an easy test is also just to get an insurance quote and see!

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Posts: 1,394
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #4
26-09-2013 05:43 PM

It often seems to depend on how near a tree is to the property.

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Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #5
26-09-2013 06:40 PM

Duckling - your information is not quite correct. If a building has a past history of subsidence, the insurer at the time of the subsidence is obliged to carry on insuring the property, even to subsequent owners. It does mean that you have no choice of insurer for some years. After twenty years from the date of the subsidence, if there has been no further movement, you can usually go to the market (but you need to speak to insurers directly, rather that doing it online). So it's not entirely true to say: 'the problem is finding one prepared to insure it if there's been a claim' because the original insurers will insure it in the short to medium term and eventually other insurers will too.

Also, if you suffer subsidence and you claim on your insurance, that doesn't necessarily mean your premium goes up. I had serious subsidence in a house in East Dulwich. I claimed on the the insurance. I had to pay 1000, which was the excess on the policy, but 40,000-worth of work was done. My premium did not rise.

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Posts: 23
Joined: Feb 2013
Post: #6
26-09-2013 10:03 PM

Our house, which is down the road/hill from CP, had subsidence. It is a bit of a SE London problem. Personally, I wouldn't necessarily rely on the replies from the seller - they could legitimately be unaware of any problems. Caveat emptor! Do you own due diligence. We got a full structural survey. If there is a hidden problem then it is easier to sue your surveyor than the seller.

Quite a few mainstream insurers don't insure this area (apparently), but lots of others do. If you find the place has had subsidence, don't worry! We got insurance from an alternative insurer at a massively reduced rate (compared to the original insurer's rate). It's via a specialist broker company in Maidstone: I am sure they'd give you a quote, so you can see what you are getting into. One thing to consider is the excess on the policy - our mortgage company stipulated a relatively small excess, which we only realised just before exchange!

Don't be put off! It's a great area to live in. The wonky angles in our house give it more character ;-)

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