Sunday 22 October 2017

Dry rot wasn't picked up in our house survey

Sinead Ryan

Sinead Ryan

We've just bought our first home, an older house we knew was in need of 'doing up'.

The survey report was fine and we understood the work only to be cosmetic. Six months in and we've found dry rot in an upstairs bedroom.

Do we have any comeback?

Val O'Brien, a chartered building surveyor advises you to check the surveyor's terms of engagement. "Did he agree to lift floorboards, access the attic etc?"

You should have had this clearly set out in advance of the survey.

However any surveyor undertaking a building or structural survey knows that the primary purpose is to advise a potential purchaser on any significant defects affecting the house, and is expected to use reasonable skill and care in undertaking the survey and could be held liable for failing to identify the problem.

Dry rot or its signs should be detectable and I would expect the surveyor to refer to this.

However, there may be defects which are either, not apparent on a visual inspection, or arise after the survey ie decay may have arisen as a result of a leaking or defective pipe since you moved in.

Give them a chance to revisit the house. Seek an opinion as to how the problem occurred and why this was not picked up in the original survey.

If the surveyor is unco-operative you should then get a second opinion from a chartered building surveyor and seek clarification on the cost of attending to the problem, as this may or may not be significant.

It would obviously be of considerable help if the original surveyor was registered with appropriate professional indemnity insurance, otherwise you might have difficulty in securing any recovery.

Our twins are doing the Leaving Cert and both hope to go to the same university. We would very much like them to live together – what should we look for in rented accommodation?

Thinking ahead is a good idea. Rental units in college towns fill up fast.

John Leahy from www.renting.ie advises: "Your first task is to decide on the type of property you wish to rent and to research what rent levels similar properties rent for. Use the PRTB rent index (www.prtb.ie) to check comparable rent amounts.

"Next, draw up a short list of suitable properties and arrange viewings. Ask if the landlord is prepared to accept students; some will not.

"During viewing clarify details such as what contents are included, what bills the tenant is liable for and the duration and terms of the lease.

"Most are 12 months so ask if a nine month lease is possible for the academic year. Don't agree 12 months if you do not intend to honour it as you could be held liable for the full year's rent.

"Many landlords will look for a parent to guarantee the payment of the rent when renting to students. Ask.

"Finally, get a receipt for any monies paid over, read a lease before you sign it and get all details in writing".

Irish Independent

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