The ever changing weather patterns are leading to problems for property owners in the United Kingdom. One of these is the increased likelihood of ground movements and the consequent damage to property. Because of this landlords are being urged to review their landlord insurance policy to ensure they have adequate cover for subsidence, heave and landslip.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors estimates that there are around 31,000 insurance claims each year for subsidence which costs the industry more than £150 million. Private landlords with properties built on soil with clay near to the surface or with shallow foundations are most vulnerable because it is these types of foundations that are most susceptible to the nuances of the UK weather systems. A landlord with many properties in their portfolio will also be at risk as they may not notice the tell-tale signs of ground movement until the situation has become serious. If a property suffers from subsidence, heave or landslip a landlord may have trouble obtaining comprehensive landlord insurance.
Insurance specialist Dee Pemberton said: “There are three main types of ground movement. Subsidence is almost always caused by shrinkage of clay soils, whereas ‘heave’ is the upward movement of the ground supporting the property, caused by the expansion of previously dry clay soils. Landslip is the slow slippage of land in a downhill direction. All three of these types of ground movement can result in serious damage or in the worst case scenario the total loss of a property.”
The most common cause of subsidence is a drying of the soil on which the property is built. This is often exacerbated by trees that surround the home which suck the moisture from the soil and cause it to shrink. Climate changes and the impact on the UK’s weather patterns present property owners with a number of challenges. Damage can be repaired, limited or prevented by removal or pruning of trees, repairing damaged drains, repairs to brickwork and strengthening or deepening of the building foundations.