We have been following a regime to try and declutter and tidy the place up to sell it. So far this has only involved clearing out two large cupboards. They look very nice though.
The house moving plan has ground to a screeching halt. The freeholder wrote to each of the leaseholders just over a week ago to say that suspected subsidence has been found in one of the flats they own. What was hairline cracks, shortly afterwards was joined by large cracks down the external wall of their flat. They called out a structural engineer and have now referred his report, which it seems was not good news, to the insurance company.
To begin with I was not that fussed by it. There is no subsidence in my flat and I was thinking that it was inconvenient, and as we have to pay the excess, yet more money that needed to be paid out. But then my brain began to whirr and I started to look into a bit. I contacted my financial advisor who said that all the flats will, ultimately, be tarred with the same brush and there would be no way to get out of declaring subsidence, particularly as the freeholder will be asked as part of the sale of my flat (not that I want to mislead. It is that the subsidence isn’t in my flat).
Then I looked at the possible consequences of subsidence:
-Underpinning. If that has to be done, you have to move out, sometimes for up to six months.
-Monitoring. No action taken for months and months. An uncertainty that I would think any potential purchaser would be totally scared off by.
-Holes being dug. To try and identify the source of the subsidence.
Unless, by some miracle, the insurance company concludes that it is not subsidence, there is no way that I can sell the flat at the moment. When I do finally come to sell, it might be difficult to find a buyer, or one that is willing to buy at a decent price. Fortunately, I have quite a bit of equity in my flat, but I think this could potentially put some of my neighbours into negative equity.
I go in phases of feeling a bit miserable about this, and then I feel ok again. I have various short term and long term plans for what to do and am doing my research to try and minimise any collateral damage. But for now the future in unknown in terms of if and when we will be able to move house. Particularly as we are reliant on the freeholder pushing things, but who does not have a great reputation for being efficient.
Oh and I tried to phone my solicitor about this, but his website has disappeared and his phone seems to go through to a very residential sounding answer phone. So I am now wondering if he has shut up shop. I then thought I would contact the solicitor who did the conveyancing for me when I bought the flat. It turns out he has been struck off, or at least had his license suspended.