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Subsidence and dealig with insurers advice

mort

Member
Joined
15 Nov 2015
Messages
2,103
Hi, I'm very much an introvert so don't like talking about myself or my situation so this is because I'm really worried about my neighbour. If you dont need the background then please skip to the last paragraph if you can offer advice, thanks.

At the beginning of lockdown our house subsided, I say our house but it was actually our neighbours that sunk and pulled our house with it. I say it pulled our house but technically only half went along for the ride and the other half, with good foundations stayed put. They were left with a house at a nice, characterful, jaunty angle, we had half a straight house and half that snapped either side of the windows (we couldn't open the windows for two years until they were replaced, after the bricks were rodded, because normal uvpc isn't structural and the glass was the only thing holding the bricks up) ,soft lintels, still I got half a new allotment greenhouse, well one panel did shatter getting it out.
To cut a long story a bit shorter it was absolute hell, my parents had moved in because of lockdown and was worrying more because of that. There was basically no part of the house that remained untoucheded and I even had a hulk size hole in my bedroom ceiling for a year where it collapse on me during the night (still a got a nice new scar, a fat lip and a black eye to show off). We had gaps you could see through during one of the coldest winters I remember and our heating bill was probably more than it will be soon.
Moving on to my dilemma, our 80 year old neighbour is going through the same thing. The houses went at the same time and whilst we are nearing the end of what the insurers will cover (slipperier than an oiled lamprey when it comes to what they will) she basically hasn't had more than a quick survey and a few tests done. Her's were great to begin with but when they learned her mids 90's neighbour (who's house is the issue), didn't want any work done and hasn't had insurance for over 50 years,, they soon cut off all contact with her. I'll admit I was a real pain in the blahblahblahblah with our insurers so I think they expedited things due to that but she's been leaving them to contact her (no Internet or email). She has two sons but they haven't done anything because of a combination of being busy and not being asked but she lost her 18 year old grandson to cancer on Sunday (short untreatable illness) and I fear she will have a nervous breakdown (I'm not to big to admit I was nearly there as wellf).
I had a two year battle with cancer myself, went down to 8 and a half stone (I'm 6ft 2 ) and looked like something you could catch a perch with and in all honesty it didn't really worry me but with the house we saw the visible damage (like my family did) and I think I now know what that was like.

So my question to the lovely caring ukaps collective is can you think of anything I can do independent that might help to put a fire up their blahblahblahblah or to encourage someone to step in and do it for her. I am truly worried she is on the verge of breaking down as we have tried to consol her many times when she's been round in floods of tears. She's the most caring person who wanted to put a holiday off because she found a tiny hedgehog that needed feeding, we stepped in of course but it's the only break she's had.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and thanks for anything you can suggest.

Adam
 

PARAGUAY

Member
Joined
13 Nov 2013
Messages
2,686
Location
Lancashire
It's a really sad situation and really feel for you. It's a question of phone calls emails and letters . But remain upbeat as you do this try to view this as good positive move. Firstly contact Age UK the charity( beware of company's using the same or similar names)name it's the charity you want they will give you all the advice you need to make this situation better. Possibly have to get your neighbour to let you have permission to discuss this.? Second contact your local authority and your local councillor for anything they can and should do. Then the insurance company they should not disappear they have a responsibility to put this right. Take advice from Which Legal they specalise in how to move forward your rights etc. Good possibility you could get free legal help with all this. It's worth noting all insurance companys are under the umbrella of big financially viable company's like Aviva and they hate bad publicity so that's a thing in your favour. Insurance companys and financial institutions have Ombudsmen to protect the public After all your bad luck l wish you the best.
 

seedoubleyou

Member
Joined
29 Mar 2022
Messages
414
Location
Windsor
I always find citizens advice to be really useful when dealing with things that you’re making no progress on, then always come up with the correct wording that usually lights a fire under peoples blahblahblahblah.
 

MirandaB

Member
Joined
28 Apr 2013
Messages
1,082
Location
Suffolk/Norfolk Border
I think as @PARAGUAY suggests,try AGE UK first but GDPR will severely restrict what you can do to help independently so you'll really need to discuss it with your neighbour.
Are the houses relatively new builds?
 

MirandaB

Member
Joined
28 Apr 2013
Messages
1,082
Location
Suffolk/Norfolk Border
Not sure if your houses are semi detached but I found this brief case study on the Financial Ombudsman Service site which indicates there may possibly be a solution even if her neighbour refuses to cooperate.
Looks like the insurance company need a kick up the blahblahblahblah as they're clearly trying to dodge their responsibilities and taking full advantage of the fact that your neighbour has no internet/email access.Subsidence claim hampered by neighbour’s refusal to cooperate
 

Wookii

Member
Joined
13 Nov 2019
Messages
3,160
Location
Nottingham
Sounds like an awful situation @mort sorry to hear you and your neighbour have had to go through it.

For your neighbour I think my first port of call would be to speak to her and insist on offering to help. If it were me I would then also ask her for her sons mobile numbers and and offer to speak to them for her to explain the situation if they are indeed unaware of what's going on, or try and collar them when you see them visit, as the first course of action - though obviously treading gently if one of them has just lost a child themselves. If it were my Mum, I'd want to know straight away if she was going through those issues, and I'd be straight up the insurers backside like a rather uncomfortable suppository!

If that fails, as it sounds you are in regular contact with your neighbour, you could offer to help her handle it directly (assuming that's something you want to do). You could set up an e-mail account for her, and use it to get onto the insurers - preparing the e-mails for her so she can read them before sending. Similarly with phone calls - call the insurers in speaker mode on a mobile, and sit in the room with her so you can interject on her behalf if necessary. She may even be able to sign some sort of a letter of authority allowing you to deal with the insurers directly on her behalf, if she is happy to do so. Again, this all depends on whether this is the way both she and you want to handle it.

If that all works, and the insurers still don't want to play ball, then you can consider options of upping the ante; like reporting them to the Financial Conduct Authority etc. Ultimately it should make no difference whether the property that caused the problem has insurance or not, the policy you take out covers your property irrespective.

I hope you can help get it sorted for her.
 

Simon Cole

Member
Joined
25 Dec 2018
Messages
672
Location
Buckingham
She might benefit from a support worker from the local authority. You can report vulnerable people to the police, the local authority, and the NHS.
A care and treatment plan is sometimes beneficial because it can include physical requirements such as building issues, and mental aspects like stress caused by subsidence. This is done through the local NHS trust, and equally you can request this.
A chartered building surveyor can actually be quite cheap sometimes. They can do a survey and write to neighbours if they suspect they are causing subsidence.
If any persons responsible do not take remediatory action, or there is liability, I believe this can go to a magistrate court with prioritised momentum. The paperwork for a court hearing is usually very easy to complete, but it is done by the persons affected.
If the old lady (landowner) is responsible and is failing to do the work, then the local authority can force the work to be conducted or condemn the property, and the NHS can have grounds to remove the resident and put them in care. There are obviously consequences for intervention. Sometimes it is not wanted anyway.
Sometimes it is nice just to pop around with some gifts (flowers, food, cake, jam, homemade wine, crafts, feltwear etc.). This seems to alleviate stress quite well. If you play an instrument, then head over and do some live music in their garden to cheer them up. I know some people like communal barbeques. The law would make it quite easy for the resident to be removed and put into care if for example the house is dangerous or there is no likelihood of the situation improving. That is the consequence with interventions, and indeed, authorities have their hands tied to recommend those actions when the potential risks become known. Sometimes it is nice in life not to bother, and if I was that old, I would want to be left alone as things crumble away, because care homes in the UK suck.
 

mort

Member
Thread starter
Joined
15 Nov 2015
Messages
2,103
Thanks everyone. I have briefly read your replies and will go through them again in detail later but I caught a humdinger of a cold (well was gifted it from my parents who brought it back from ireland, I'd have preferred a mug) and its really knocked the stuffing out of me at the moment. When I started this thread I couldn't sleep because I had a fever and probably a little hysteria to but I'm great full I did now and very appreciative of your ideas.
 
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