There has been a lot of confusion in recent weeks, since some homeowners around Kennington received letters saying that they were eligible for a settlement deed. The letters were not clear and we have had a lot of questions from residents about whether this means that their houses will be damaged.
KWNAG have put the question to TfL and have received the following answers:
– The Limits of Deviation are the maximum area that might actually be above a tunnel or underground construction site. So if you are within the limits of deviation it is possible that you may have a tunnel or something similar under your property. However TfL are currently redesigning some of the works and they may be smaller than expected – so you might find that in the end there are no works under your property.
– A settlement deed is offered to anyone who is within the limits of deviation. This is a formal agreement between the homeowner and TfL / FLO to survey the property and provide the homeowner with information on the likely impact of any works. If the property is damaged as a result of the works, TfL / FLO must make good any damage.
– A second option is a defects survey. Some people are not directly above tunnels, ie not within the limits of deviation, but may still be affected by settling of the soil caused by the works. TfL have produced contour maps showing which properties are likely to be affected by this (we will post the most recent contour maps when we receive an electronic copy). Anyone whose property is likely to suffer more than 1mm of settlement is entitled to a defects survey, ie a survey of the condition of their home before the works start. That way, if there is damage later on, the homeowner can demonstrate that the property was not damaged before the works started. TfL / FLO are then obliged to make good any damage caused by the works.
As we understand it, the defects survey is less comprehensive than a settlement deed (though you can still request the information on the effect that the works will have on your property), but it provides the same right to have TfL / FLO put right any damage.
We received the following email from TfL on the 7th April 2015:
“Given both the Transport and Works Act Order and our existing London Underground Category 1 Standard S1050, we will carry out a defects survey to all properties within the Limits of Deviation and also within the 1mm contour boundary. These surveys are also used to assess any risk to buildings.
Entering into a settlement deed ensures that TfL automatically supplies owners with information on the impact of tunnelling on your property. If owners do not enter into a settlement deed TfL is still obligated to supply them with the information if they request this.
TfL is responsible for any damage caused to property as a result of the tunnelling works, whether owners have a settlement deed or not, or are within the 1mm contour boundary.
Please note that the current 1mm contour boundary is drawn on a conservative basis – as the methodology for the tunnelling work is further developed the contour line may reduce in size. When the methodology is finalised we will produce a list of properties located between the limits of deviation and 1mm contour boundaries and contact the owners of these properties to arrange a defects survey.
Given the current programme for the project we would expect to be in contact with residents about the surveys in mid 2016.”
Note: all of this information is correct to the best of KWNAG’s knowledge. However KWNAG take no legal responsibility for any action taken on this basis.