What Are Latent Defects?
Latent defects could be described as a weakness, imperfection or a hidden flaw that usually effects a newly built property during a period of time after they have taken possession. Latent Defects are not usually identifiable in the first instance. In fact, sometimes it can take many years for problem to arise or the latent damage to appear.
If you own a property built within the last 10 years, you may have a warranty protecting you for the latent defects limitation period. These are generally put in place to protect the owner of the newly built property just in case there are signs of damage in the future that could not have been identified at the time of completion. The damage, within a fixed period of time and after you have taken possession, may be due to unforeseen circumstances such as a fault in the design.
Latent defects could also arise as a result of poor workmanship or even using substandard building materials. Regardless of the blame latent defects warranties are put in place to protect the new owner of the property.
How Can you protect yourself from latent defects?
Although many newly build properties will have a 10-year structural defects warranty in place, for those that do not it is recommended that you protect yourself. You can do this by taking out an insurance policy to protect you from any defects that may come to light in the future.
Most mortgage lenders will arrange latent defects insurance before they release any funds. A cash buyer isn’t required to take out latent defects insurance but it is always advisable to protect yourself.
What does your insurance policy cover?
Latent defects insurance policies can vary dramatically dependent on what you require to be covered and the amount of coverage you require. You will need to take into account any clauses or limitations within the policy to ensure you are fully covered for any damage that may occur within the 10-year period.
Something you may need to otherwise consider is if your property has a 10-year latent defects warranty rather than an insurance policy. What exactly does your warranty or insurance policy cover? Does it cover the full cost of repairs, replacements or the strengthening of your property once the any damage has been identified?
Aspects that may not be covered.
One of the main differences between a warranty and an insurance policy is that there will be a maximum cap on the amount insured. Warranties generally do not place caps on the amount of liability should you need to claim against it. Also, your latent defects insurance policy may only cover certain losses whereas your warranty should cover you against design faults or poor workmanship.
Help if you have a latent defect claim
Managing a latent defects claim can be complicated and time consuming. Luckily there are specialist claims management companies who specialise in property defects such as subsidence, heave, underground drain damage or damage to property caused by tree roots. Property Defects are a nationwide group of loss adjusters, surveyors, claims management specialists and building professionals.
Property Defects specialise in managing both warranty and insurance claims on behalf of owners of properties that are suffering from damage that have been built within the last 10 years. Working solely on behalf of their clients, they aim to ensure that you receive your full entitlement when managing a claim on their behalf.
If you would like to learn more about the services offered by Property Defects please feel free to visit their website.