What lies beneath…underpinning!

What lies beneath

Askews Legal LLP, based in Coventry have a dedicated residential conveyancing team. They are experienced in dealing with the full range of conveyancing transactions and the issues which can arise, such as issues related to underpinning

Underpinning is a process whereby the foundation of a building is strengthened and reinforced due to a variety of issues concerning the ground instability. If a buyer is purchasing a property that has been underpinned whether or not they have a mortgage, the issues surrounding underpinning need to be carefully considered.

The Sellers Property Information Form (TA6) allows a seller to make a disclosure about underpinning. If a seller is not aware that their property was previously underpinned, and a subsequent buyer’s survey flags this up, the buyer should consider the following:

  1. Is the seller aware of any continuing problems? If they are, it will be essential to establish whether or not the insurance company are continuing to monitor the issue;
  2. Did the current insurers take on the original claim? If they did, a buyer ought to obtain a copy of the current policy and policy number. If the current insurance company did not deal with the initial claim, it is imperative that the buyers ascertain whether or not the current insurers are aware of the underpinning. If they are and they are providing cover on that basis, it would be prudent to obtain confirmation in writing that the insurers have no objection to a new buyer continuing the same policy;
  3. As a buyer, you may need to enter into a Deed of Assignment of any benefit/rights to claim under the insurance policy and also any guarantee that the current owner may have.
  4. You will need to ensure that any underpinning works are disclosed to a mortgage company (if applicable);
  5. Underpinning works need to be compliant with Building Regulations;
  6. The works can be carried out by an approved independent body or the local authorities building control department. If the seller is unable to evidence compliance with Building Regulations, it may be necessary to have the seller obtain retrospective consent for the works.

Should you have any further questions in respect of underpinning, the residential conveyancing department at Askews Legal LLP would be happy to assist.