I brought a house 14 years ago. Its rented to a group of students. The
floor of the bedroom is sloping so that there is a noticable angle as you
walk across the room from one end to another. It has not got worse. The
surveyor at the time of the purchase did'nt say anything about this although
I don't have the survey report any more.
Last week I noticed that a crack appeared in the rendering at the front of
the house, it was about 2mm wide and 1.5m long. It had not been there a
month ago! The neighbour told me that 5 years ago she had her house
underpinned because of subsidance. Her insurance company paid for it to be
done. I have two queries about this one of them OT.
1. A tenant asked me if the floor was likely to collapse. Just how much of
a slope can a bedroom floor have before it becomes a hazard?
2. Insurance question here. If I contact my insurance company they might say
that the house has slight subsidance. I have only had this insurance
company 18 months, could they look at the floor and say the problem has been
there more than 10 years and they are therfore not liable to pay for the
repairs to floor and any possible underpinning? When my insurance comes up
for renewal in 6 months should I mention the sloping floor and cracks to the
new company before signing a contract, thereby excluding myself from
insurance cover? Any one with experience of this problem would be most
welcome to give me some advice. Sorry if its of topic.
Assuming the surveyor did a decent job then the subsidence is recent,
the outward signs of subsidence is cracks such as the one described so
it sounds like it might be a recent problem or has been stable for years
and now has got worse.
If the slope in the floor is noticeable and was due to subsidence I
would expect a lot of cracks in walls inside and out. If you haven't
then I would assume it was just built badly or there was severe
subsidence which was repaired before you bought the house in which case
you may not have a problem beyond fixing the rendering.
Fixing the floor isn't a particularly expensive problem, take up the
boards and use packing strips to level before relaying the boards.
You could get your own surveyor in and see what he says before
approaching the insurance co.
House construction is generally quite robust and can tolerate quite a
lot of structural movement before falling over (mine shafts and other
sub-subterranean features excluded!). Provided the joists aren't
pulling out of the wall, then there should be no immediate concern
regarding potential collapse of the floor.
It really depends who your insurance company is, as to how they approach
your claim. There could be some resistance to putting right any damage
that occurred before they came on risk, in which case you might have to
go through your whole insurance history. This is one of the reasons why
it does not pay to chop and chap insurance company's on a regular basis.
If you tell the insurance company that you knew about the damage before
you took out the insurance cover, then in the very worst case you could
lose your right to a claim altogether.
The only way you'll find out is to put in the claim. If you've got any
concerns regarding overall structural stability, then you should do
something about it immediately.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.