Subsidence reports rise after Summer heatwave

Updated: September 10, 2018

Property surveyors predict that this Summer’s heatwave will be responsible for a record rise in subsidence affecting residential property.

Crack in wall from subsidence

Insurance companies are already facing an increase in subsidence claims. Subsidence claims are seasonal, and usually reach their peak in August and September.

This year, however, insurers are now reporting a four-fold increase above normal levels.

2018 Heatwave Subsidence

The Summer’s record-breaking weather caused the ground and foundations to become particularly dry, with thirsty plants drawing up what little moisture remained.

Foundations have shifted as the result of these very dry conditions, causing fresh cracks in walls and around door and window-frames, and worsening existing damage.  Foundations near tree roots are also more likely to sink further than other parts, causing damage to a home’s structure as the property “twists”.

South-East homes are the worst hit

Homes in the South-East are reportedly the worst hit. The clay-rich soil in this region dries quickly, and can shrink by as much as 15%.

The recent wet weather will have started to normalise the moisture content, so any subsidence should not worsen. If cracks continue to widen into Autumn and Winter, that may be evidence of more serious structural issues.

If you have any concerns whatsoever, you should contact a surveyor, or your building insurance provider, for more information.

Planning to sell your property?

If you are planning to sell a property that is (or may be) affected by subsidence, you should address subsidence-related issues as soon as possible.

Whether the cracks are noticed by the buyer, or during their mortgage survey, it is very likely that the subsidence will be spotted.

The revelation that the property has suffered subsidence can mean delays, or even cause the sale to collapse. You can often avoid this outcome either by carrying out proactive repairs, or simply by getting a surveyor to prepare a report on the extent of any subsidence before you market the property.

Find out more about selling a home with subsidence.

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

About the author

Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.

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