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Interesting Survey issue

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  • Interesting Survey issue

    Hi all,
    I'm new to this forum as I'm new to selling houses - this will be my first sale of (hopefully) not many houses if this one is anything to go by!

    Background: Bought house in 2004, it's over 100 years old, victorian 3-bed terrace with rear extension (from 80's).
    There is a long (but thin) crack in the plaster on the side passage wall upstairs where the front part of house joins rear part - it pretty much runs from floor to ceiling and is around 2mm thick on average.

    We are lucky in that the previous owners gave us their homebuyer survey from 2000 and the previous owner's homebuyer survey from 1997. We had a survey done in 2004 when we bought the house so have a copy of this also.

    The 1997 homebuyer survey describes the crack in detail and says it is an old settlement crack, common in properties of this age particularly with the extension and fact that house is on a slope. It says that further movement not expected and that no remedial work is needed. (The crack has therefore been around for at least as early as 1997.)

    The 2000 survey describes the crack and again says it is old settlement, not an issue and no remidial work required.

    Our 2004 survey describes crack and once again says that it's a settlement crack, not an issue and again, no remidial work needed.

    Our buyers have had a survey done and the surveyor has said that the crack should be investigated further, can't be sure house is stable and therefore should be investigated further by structural engineer. Therefore house currently has no value for the puropose of lending a mortgate on it. Lender would re-look at case if struc engin survey is done (c.£750), stability confirmed by them, and that any remidial recomendations are then carried out by the buyers once they move in.

    Very frustrating given this crack has been around so long and never been an issue before.

    HOWEVER, we found out yesterday that the homebuyer surveyor is the same comany that did our homebuyer survey in 2004! A truly remarkable coincedence! They have therefore given conflicting advice in relation to the same crack!

    Our estate agent is trying to contact them today in the hope that they may re-look at this and change their opinion (to their 2004 opinion) to satisfy the lender but I fear they will try and brush us off or say that maybe the crack has got bigger or some other rubbish.

    Does anyone have any advice for me? Clearly we are waiting to hear back but on presumption they don't change their mind would we have grounds to complain (or even take legal action?) about the poor advice given to us by this company in 2004. If the crack was such an issue then we wouldn't have bought the house back in 2004. Any advice greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks

  • #2
    Re: Interesting Survey issue

    I would say you do have good reason to be aggrieved. Clearly 2 surveyors, even within the same company can have differing opinions but I think that now doubt has been cast on the crack then the surveying company should pay for a structural engineers report. If a problem is found I would suggest you take issue with them for compensation but take legal advice before that.


    • #3
      Re: Interesting Survey issue

      Many thanks. I am really hoping they decide to change their opinion and avoid a can of worms being opened..! Estate agent was unable to get hold of them yesterday and is out today so hopefully I get some more news on Thursday.


      • #4
        Re: Interesting Survey issue

        Why If I may ask has the crack not been repaired since 1997?
        Private Property lists property in South Africa. We cover property to let and for sale.


        • #5
          Re: Interesting Survey issue

          The honest answer is laziness on the part of every owner since 1997. The crack is not that obvious as it is on a wall bewteen the top of the stairs and the back bedroom so not really in view from any room and it's fairly well hidden by a door frame from the hallway.

          Hindsight is a wonderful think and clearly I wish I'd got the crack filled in or the wall re-plastered.

          Latest update - I am paying for a structural surveyor to come round this week to do a report which he thinks will satisfy the lender £300 inc vat. The buyer is refusing to pay for this survey and we don't want to lose them. I am separately taking up a formal complaint with our homebuyer survey company for their report done in 2004 - ideally I want a refund on that survey or them to pay for this extra one. We shall see what happens.