Subsidence and heave is probably the biggest worry of a property owner. It is the most expensive to repair even if you have insurance in place as most insurers will charge a £1,000 excess for such damage. On top of that, the investigations and repair work can take a long time to sort out meaning that you or your tenant (if you are a landlord) may have to seek alternative accommodation while the work is being done.
The key to minimising disruptions at your house is to spot the signs of subsidence as early as possible. The easiest tell tale sign that there is movement in the ground beneath your property is the development of cracks in the walls and plasterwork. Small hairline cracks are normally due to changing temperatures within the house and are nothing to worry about, but larger cracks, especially those which are wider at the top, are normally a good indication that something is going on.
Other signs of movement can be where doors or windows do not seem to open or close smoothly or where wallpaper is creased or rippled. Sometimes these can be because of damp but if this is not the case then subsidence could be the cause.
If you think that there could be even the smallest amount of movement in your property, the best thing to do is call your insurance company. They will send out an engineer who will monitor your property over a period of time to determine whether there is any subsidence occurring. Don’t leave it too late as the more it develops, the more damage will be done to your property and the more expensive and lengthy the repair work will be.