24 October 2012

Caveat Emptor

Posted by Dave Petley

Two news stories in the last few days have highlighted the danger posed by landslides to property, and with insurance mot covering landslide losses in most areas, the concept of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) most definitely applies.  The first involves a property transaction in the UK.  The case is detailed (in its own unique style) in the Daily Mail.  It involves this house and this landslide in Torquay in SW England:


According to the article, the buyer bought the house at auction with a telephone bid, despite: a. Not having seen the property; b. having had no survey undertaken; and c. auction particulars that “warned buyers that the six-bedroom house was severely structurally damaged and might be beyond economic repair”. Six days after the purchase the landslide shown above occurred, triggering a legal battle between the home owner and the vendor.  The former is now having to sell her other property to cover the costs.

The second does not involve a property sale, but is a case where access to a property has been lost due to the collapse of an access track.  This example, which occurred at Gippsland in SW Australia, is detailed here.  In this case the access track to their farm has been destroyed by a landslide, and it is not thought to be possible to repair it.  The report indicates that the owners have not been able to access their property since June this year as a result.