5 things you should know if you live in a former mining area and your house, land and buildings have moved or suffered damage.
1. THE LAW
You may have rights under the Coal Mining Subsidence Act 1991 (as amended by the Coal Industry Act 1994) for compensation and remedial works to be carried out at the expense of the mining company or the Coal Authority (being the Government body set up to administer the ongoing liabilities associated with coal mining).
2. WHO CAN CLAIM?
Generally, only the owners of damaged property can claim, but tenants who are responsible for any repairs and maintenance (including improvements which they have paid for) may also be able to claim.
If your property is a farm, commercial or industrial premises, a church or a listed building, special arrangements may apply.
2.1 FARMS – Farmers may be entitled to:
a) Compensation for Crop Loss
If subsidence damage results in a loss of profit from agricultural land the mining company or Coal Authority will be liable to make up the loss until such time as they discharge their remedial obligations.
Claims must be made within a year of the calendar year to which the claim relates.
In assessing the loss, it will be necessary to take into account any savings the farmer may have as a result of the damage eg reduced inputs. The farmer must mitigate their loss.
b) Compensation for Farm Loss
A farm loss payment will be made if the farmer is displaced from his land because the extent of subsidence damage is such that the land can no longer be farmed profitably.
c) Tenant farmers’ compensation
Sometimes the mine owner may sometimes make a depreciation payment to the owner of land rather than carry out repairs. In this case the tenant who actually farms the land may also be entitled to compensation.
2.2 SMALL FIRMS
Defined as one which employs no more than 20 people. You may be entitled to full compensation for loss of profits which are a direct result of the damage.
3. WHEN SHOULD I CLAIM?
You should make a claim as soon as you think your property might have been damaged by subsidence.
You have 6 years upon which to make a claim from when it was reasonable for you to have known about the damage. If a claim is not made at its earliest opportunity there is more scope for disagreement.
4. HOW DO I MAKE A CLAIM?
You need to complete a “Damage Notice” and send it to the mining company or Coal Authority whoever is responsible for causing the damage. They will reimburse your reasonable costs such as professional advice and other expenses associated with the claim.
5. SEEK PROFESSIONAL ADVICE
Claims can be complicated and it is important you are represented to ensure your claim is handled quickly to allow your land and property to be remedied without unnecessary delays.
Should you require additional information, contact David Miller on 0114 327 0120