A latent defect in buildings can be best explained as a failure of materials or the result of poor workmanship during a building’s construction. If problems are noticed within the first year or two, the building contractor themselves (in most cases) have the right to return to site to remedy those latent defects. However, latent defects may not become apparent or easily detectable until some considerable time after construction. Once practical completion of the building has been certified, the defects’ indemnity begins. During this period, most buildings will benefit from a NHBC or Insurer backed warranty.
Examples of damage sustained due to Latent Defects:
- Subsidence caused by under-strength concrete, shallow or inadequate foundations
- Heave caused by inadequate foundations
- Inadequate wind-posts or wall ties, causing movement and damage to walls
- Defective tanking within basements, allowing moisture to ingress the building causing damp
- Failure of the Damp Proof Course due to incorrect installation or faulty materials
- Cracking in a new property, that is deemed “severe” in the Building Research Digest
- Damp penetration or rising dampness which ingresses into the habitable areas of the building
Warranty Claims & Other Services That We Can Offer:
If you are within your latent defects warranty period, normally 10 years, we may be able to help. Property Defects identify the actual cause of the latent damage within the building and take specialist advice from surveyors or engineers as to what is the correct long-term solution for the problem. We negotiate with insurers responsible for the warranty to obtain full settlement including alternative accommodation whilst works are in progress, where it is required.
During the process of representing the property owner, we ensure that insurers fulfill their obligations under the terms of the policy and acquire an equitable solution to return the owner to a pre-loss position.
We have settled many latent defect claims of this nature on behalf of our clients with successful outcomes, negotiating cash settlements for repairs in order to ensure that owners can then fully carry out the needed comprehensive repairs. In some cases, we have even recovered the full purchase price of their houses from insurers, with the owners still retaining their property.
We recognise that your property is likely to be the largest investment that you make, so therefore this can be a most stressful experience. Clients report to us that they often suffer from severe anxiety causing sleepless nights, depression and a diminishing quality of lifestyle. Owners can become “locked-in” to a property by being unable to sell their homes due to its condition. Our team are highly experienced in dealing with these sensitive situations and provide support and empathy to all of our clients.