Couple get that sinking feeling

PUBLISHED: 11:41 22 September 2006 | UPDATED: 22:14 28 May 2010

Mark Smith and Jane Bolingbroke

Mark Smith and Jane Bolingbroke

A COUPLE S dream home turned into a nightmare after an estate agent innocently acted on the sale without knowing of the property s history of subsidence. Mark Smith and Jane Bolingbroke, bought the middle-terrace home in Tern Gardens, Chatteris, through H

A COUPLE'S dream home turned into a nightmare after an estate agent innocently acted on the sale without knowing of the property's history of subsidence.

Mark Smith and Jane Bolingbroke, bought the middle-terrace home in Tern Gardens, Chatteris, through Harrison Murray's Chatteris branch last summer.

They had been living in their new home for just over a month when they noticed cracks in the walls.

Investigations by the couple discovered that issues with the homes first arose in 2003, when the National House Building Council informed Abbey Homes of the problems.

Brian Hawkins, Abbey managing director, said: "It was quickly apparent that there were indeed some structural problems. We purchased back all three homes at open market value and we put them on the market, disclosing that there were structural problems. They were sold at a large discount to open market value to a property company."

It was this company which re-marketed the homes. But Teresa Foreman, Harrison Murray's Chatteris branch manager, said: "We were not informed that the house had structural damage."

She said the firm was approached to sell the three homes. "Surveys were done on them and initially you could not see a thing, so we put them on the market and sold two of them.

"At no point did we get any alarm bells about it until Mark and Jane got in touch."

Problems were caused by nearby poplar trees, which were cut down a few months ago. Since then, the cracks became smaller.

On Monday the couple's insurance policy took effect and work began on repairs.

The firm which sold the homes, Beachfield Properties, based in Ilford, was unavailable for comment.

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