GET IT RIGHT FIRST TIME: Sarah is here to help first time buyers get to grips with the conveyancing process. This month, she discusses mining reports and what they may reveal…
My solicitor is carrying out a mining report on the house I am buying. Why is this necessary?
As much of Sheffield and North Derbyshire was once coal mined, it is important to find out if its legacy affects the property you are purchasing or the surrounding area.
Even if there are no signs of recent mine workings, the search will still identify any shafts that were closed years ago, where there is no evidence on the surface that they exist.
Mines moved for long distances underground and shafts can extend under properties or adjoining land. If they cave in, it can cause substantial damage, which is why the report is so important.
What does a mining report cover?
The report looks at whether there are any shafts within 20 metres of the property you are buying and if gas emissions are likely to cause a problem. It will also reveal if any coal mining hazards have been identified or future activity is expected in the area.
If you need a mortgage, your bank or building society will insist a coal mining search is obtained and checked before lending any money, as past mining activities can affect property values. Potentially, your building insurance premiums could also be affected and you need to be fully informed before requesting a quote.
What happens if it transpires my house is close to old mine workings?
The Coal Authority has a fairly comprehensive record of where coal was mined and seams still exist.
If the search reveals a shaft within 20 metres of the property you wish to purchase, it will be necessary to commission a mine interpretative report. This additional search does unfortunately incur an extra cost, but will be required by any mortgage lender and from your perspective, it is important to ensure mine workings have been cut off or closed down properly.
Your solicitor will let you know when the original report is received and advise you if additional searches are required. He or she will then refer the results to your mortgage lender and confirm to you that any shafts have been appropriately capped off, so you can continue with your purchase.
The mining report may also reveal if any subsidence claims have been made against the property. Again, if this is the case, you will need to obtain details and verification that the proceeds were use to correct the potential fault. Your solicitor will investigate this for you, advise your lender as necessary and provide you with full details of the work carried out, together with confirmation a guarantee is in place.
You need to be aware that the same mining subsidence claim will not be paid twice, so it is important to prove the money was used to properly rectify any issue at the property.
If you are a first-time buyer with a question about moving home, our residential property expert, Sarah Gaunt, would love to hear from you. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0114 218 4000.