Subsidence is the term used to describe when a building is damaged by a failure in the ground beneath or around it. Typically this results in settlement of the building.
Sometimes a building can stop 'moving' or 'settle' and if the problem is not overly serious no further action will be required. It is critical however that a full investigation be carried out to establish the cause of the problem, as well as to ascertain whether the situation might worsen and, if likely, what remedial actions should be considered.
Subsidence and settlement in buildings in the UK is not uncommon and tends to be higher up the list of concerns of home buyers. Remedial action can be expensive and disruptive and it is strongly advised for all house buyers to carry out a survey on any property they are considering purchasing.