Damp Certificate Still Valid ?

Q I bought a house two-and-a-half years ago, which I have now discovered – though an independent surveyors report – has rising damp. A builder has estimated that a new damp proof course together with associated building work will cost about £2,000 to put right. According to the papers that came with the property a damp proof course was installed about four years ago by Apex Damp Control, and I have a copy of the associated 30-year damp proof guarantee. Unfortunately, the damp proof guarantee stipulates that it needs to be conveyed to the owner of the house every time the property is sold.

This did not occur with me and the original damp proof contractors are refusing to honour the guarantee. I contacted the solicitors who looked after the conveyance, who were helpful but did seem to think they had any liability. Could you tell me if Apex are liable for the cost, and what should my next steps be to resolve the issue? I would prefer not to have to engage other solicitors to act for me as money is quite tight, although I will if it is necessary.
Michelle – City Way, Rochester

A I’m so sorry to hear you’re in this predicament Michelle. I can assure you that although the damp proofing industry is notorious for having it’s fair share of bad apples, there’s still a trustworthy core of respected contractors that try their hardest to uphold the high standards required for operating in the timber and damp business.

Unfortunately, it would appear very unlikely that the fly-by-night cowboys who signed off your certificate four years ago would honour their guarantee. Indeed, there is a high probability they’ve either changed their name in the interim, or even ceased trading altogether. The fact the guarantee stipulates it needs to be conveyed to the new owner if sold during those 30 years is pretty much a get-out-clause to avoid liability. Why should a guarantee be specific to an individual, when it should be specific to the property that’s been treated ? it doesn’t make sense.

However, all is not lost. Here at Dampwise Medway we can re-install a new DPC today at an especially low cost and provide you with a New Transferable Guarantee Certificate on the Same Day. When you employ the services of Dampwise Medway you’re safe in the knowledge that you’re dealing with a time served and trustworthy local business that never let’s down their clients.
James Sinclair – Dampwise Medway