Horizontal external cracks - bad news?

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I'm about to buy a converted flat in a large two story Gerogian house. My flat is on the top floor, but I have noticed that the floor beneath has large horizontal cracks, going across the the top of both of it's bay windows. Now, I appreciate that cracks and old properties go hand in hand but I remember reading somewhere that it's the horizontal cracks that you need to worry about, I'm also concerned because they are external... So I'm wondering is this something I should be worried about and if it is, what could it indicate and what would need to be done to resolve it?
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Others will comment as to how bad it is, but you need to ask some specific questions relating to the lease:
- Who is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the building and which parts
- How much money is in the maintenance fund to cover repairs - reserves
- Does the building insurance cover subsidence, have their been any claims or work done to remedy
- is the building owner (Landlord) a resident

If the reserve fund is empty and its the lease holders responsibility, then you need to factor this in.
 
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ask some specific questions relating to the lease:
- Who is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the building and which parts
It's not just a case of who is responsible. Normally the landlord is responsible for maintaining the structure, but the leaseholders are responsible for paying the costs via a service charge.

There may or may not be a sinking fund for future planned works, future routine maintenance or both. The conveyancer will need to confirm liabilities.
 
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It does not appear to be structural, and may be just detached render - which is common.

You need to get your legal advisor to make enquiries on the known structural condition and future liability for it's repair if not already done so via the LPE forms.

If this defect is known about and a repair planned, then that should have been disclosed as there is a potential large cost liability.
 
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You could get a structural engineer out to have a look,small cost for a big purchase.

Woody you’ll have a better idea about this but could the solicitors request the seller gets indemnity insurance for this just in case?
 
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You could get a structural engineer out to have a look,small cost for a big purchase.

Woody you’ll have a better idea about this but could the solicitors request the seller gets indemnity insurance for this just in case?
The thing with buying leasehold is that you are not buying the structure, but are buying into future obligations to pay for its upkeep.

The legal advisor should do the checks and ask the questions about what planned or reactive works are due or known about. This crack would be one such thing and if the landlord did not already know about it he should be made aware and the process of investigation and costing done before the purchase goes through.

You can't cover things like this via insurance.
 
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Thanks for the advice. To clarify, this would be a share of freehold so understanding the state of the sinking fund and the known issues with the building will be my priority.
Since posting I have noticed that two of the other flats in the building have also come onto the market, which feels like an unlikely coincidence to me. I will make sure that I ask the right questions before progressing.
 
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If you don’t mind me asking why are you so keen for this apartment? Obviously do
Your checks etc but sometimes you
Just have to walk Away

Jake
 

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