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National Claims Advice Hotline 0818 252 800

Subsidence or poor construction?

Financial Ombudsman Service – Case Study. Uneven concrete flooring – subsidence or poor construction?


The Complainants contacted their Insurer when they first suspected their flat had been affected by subsidence. The Insurer appointed a firm of surveyors to inspect, monitor and investigate the situation.

After the investigations it became clear that subsidence was affecting the entire block of flats and it would take a lot of work to fix it. The Insurer paid for the Complainants alternative accommodation for eight months, while work was carried out on their flat.

Insurers surveyors stated that the poor state of the floors was nothing to do with subsidence or the repair work, but the proximate cause was due to the age of the property and the poor quality of its original construction. The surveyors did, however, agree that the snagging items needed attention.

The Insurer agreed to pay for the Complainants to continue living in the alternative accommodation for three more months. After that period the Complainants returned to their property but were still unhappy about the state of the floors but were unable to get any further with the insurer.



The FOS looked at the evidence from the Complainants and the Insurer and in their view, the Insurer had acted reasonably in carrying out the repairs and then extending the period during which it paid for the Complainants to stay in alternative accommodation.

The FOS accepted the surveyors evidence that the poor state of the floors didn’t result from subsidence, the repair work, or any other Insured event therefore the FOS agreed with the Insurer that it wasn’t responsible for any work to restore or improve the state of the floors.

The FOS felt that the Complainants had been caused additional and significant inconvenience and distress by the need to extend their stay in alternative accommodation therefore the FSO instructed the Insurer to pay the Complainants compensation.