My Insurance Policy Will Not Cover My Leaking Basement (Battersea)

My Insurance Policy Will Not Cover My Leaking Basement (Battersea)

Thursday 25th July 2019

Last year we featured a blog post about a leaking basement in a newly refurbished flat in Lavender Hill, Battersea.

We are often asked if a detailed building structural survey is necessary when buying into newly refurbish properties containing a basement and we will always respond suggesting that it most certainly is.

The recent case of the Lavender Hill basement is a point to be made and it reminds us that the onus is always on the buyer to do his due diligence.

Even though the buyer, through his conveyancer, was told that a 10 year building (for major defects) warranty was in place when it came to claiming on this policy in fact turned out that it was not for the following reason:-

The failure of the tanking system was not considered as a failure of a structural component and even after taking council on this legally it was found that there was a very strong chance if it went to court the claimant would fail, because of the wording and exemptions in the insurance policy.

Normally we will pursue insurance companies through the UK Financial Ombudsman, but in this situation the insurance company was registered in a different country which meant it could not be brought to task through the normal less-expensive channels.

We are now having to find the least expensive way of remedying the situation which will involve preparing a specification schedule of works and putting this out to tender.

This will involve the owner in more expense and also the inconvenience of not having a place to live for at least 7 to 8 weeks whilst the works are carried out.

We at Tayross Associates are always happy to discuss your surveying requirements. For such a large investment the cost of a detailed building and structural survey is only proportionally higher than a less detailed RICS HomeBuyers report, a report for which there is no comeback on the author. As even though you pay for it, it is commissioned through the lending body.


This article was written by Carl O'Boyle BSc MRICS FCIOB MFPWS. Carl is a full professional member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a member of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building for which he currently sits on the CIOB professional conduct committee and adjudications panel.

If you need an RICS Detailed Building Survey in Battersea or in the South West London area then please call us at our office on 0208 426 1448.