View Full Version : Safety issues
14-04-2006, 17:29 PM
In my flat, there is a mezzanine level, that was built without building regs over ten years ago, but not before 1983.The last two owners have lived with it quite happily. When I was buying the flat in Feb this year, the surveyor pointed out that he didn't think Building regs would be given for it today, although he didn't say it was an unsafe structure. My solicitor advised a building regs idemnity policy which I have.
My very careful tenants have become concerned about the safety of the structure because they notice the floor boards bowing a bit when anyone walks on it. I don't think it is unsafe, and I've lived in many old properties where the floorboards creak and bow, but of course I don't want the tenants to be worried and have said I'll send someone in to check.
My questions are a) Do I need another surveyor or will a builder do?
b) If it is structurally unsafe or needs work done on it, is the indemnity insurance any use?
c) What is my legal position with the tenants?
Any answers very welcome. Thanks!
15-04-2006, 11:48 AM
My very careful tenants have become concerned about the safety of the structure because they notice the floor boards bowing a bit when anyone walks on it. I don't think it is unsafe, and I've lived in many old properties where the floorboards creak and bow, but of course I don't want the tenants to be worried and have said I'll send someone in to check.<snip>
Did you take these tenants over from the previous owner and if so had they reported to problem to the previous landlord? Alternatively when did their tenancy commence and when did they first notice the defect?
Has the problem appeared recently or has it been there sometime and worsened?
You could be right in that on some older properties the floor joists may allow a little springing but until further information is provided you would be wise to work on the basis that there could be some recent movement of the property or decay of the woodwork affecting the stability of the flooring.
At the very least you should arrange for a reputable experienced builder to examine the floor. For a modest cost he might be able to reinforce the joists and alleviate cause for concern - maybe cheaper than asking for another survey.
Listen to the builder and note his assessment of the problem.
Have a read through your Building Regulations Indemnity Insurance - I think you will find the cover is quite restricted. I think this insurance is intended to protect vendors and purchasers against the consequences of enforcement or legal action arising from the failure of obtain Building Regulation approval and not for structural defects to a property. Others may be able to verify or amplify this viewpoint.
15-04-2006, 15:59 PM
Oh, thank you for that. Very helpful advice.
No, I didn't take them over, they are my tenants and have been in less than a month.
I lived in the property recently while I was getting it ready for them and I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. I'm pretty sure it hasn't deteriorated in the short time they've been there.
I will get a builder and thanks for your thoughts about the policy. I think you are right.
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