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    • Gother
    • By Gother 12th Mar 17, 8:11 AM
    • 4Posts
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    Gother
    New Build House: any rights?
    • #1
    • 12th Mar 17, 8:11 AM
    New Build House: any rights? 12th Mar 17 at 8:11 AM
    Hello,

    We are currently in the process of buying a new build house, which we exchanged for over six months ago (the developer was aiming to finish in October).

    Whilst walking around the property a few weeks ago, we noticed a small change in one of the rooms. Whilst the change is small, I cannot honestly say that we would have decided to go ahead with the purchase, had the item in question not been a part of the original specification. Furthermore, the change was not mentioned to us and it was only because we spotted it whilst walking around the property that it was discussed. The developer has not made any gestures of good faith to apologise for this mistake, although the very friendly staff did go through the specification and confirm that nothing else has changed. This is not the first error, however the previous one (again that we identified) they did rectify.

    I feel I know what the answer is here, as we are under the impression that you have more rights buying sweets than you do a new build property, however...

    The question is, do we have any rights to "un-exchange" and have our deposit returned to us? Also, are there any rights to request any interest that the developer incurs, from our deposit?

    Thank you.
Page 1
    • Browntoa
    • By Browntoa 12th Mar 17, 8:12 AM
    • 31,866 Posts
    • 37,579 Thanks
    Browntoa
    • #2
    • 12th Mar 17, 8:12 AM
    • #2
    • 12th Mar 17, 8:12 AM
    What is the "small change" you are too vague for us to advise
    I'm the Board Guide of the Referrers ,Telephones, Pensions , Shop Don't drop ,over 50's and Discount Code boards which means I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum runnning smoothly .However, please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 12th Mar 17, 8:35 AM
    • 15,440 Posts
    • 13,768 Thanks
    AdrianC
    • #3
    • 12th Mar 17, 8:35 AM
    • #3
    • 12th Mar 17, 8:35 AM
    This "small change" in "one of the rooms" is sufficient for you to want to pull out of the purchase? Or it's a handy excuse for some buyer's remorse?

    Whilst the change is small, I cannot honestly say that we would have decided to go ahead with the purchase, had the item in question not been a part of the original specification
    Is that deliberately convoluted?

    Are you saying explicitly that, if that had been part of the spec, you would definitely not have bought the house?

    That doesn't sound like what I'd call a "small" change.

    What does the contract you exchanged say about changes between the designed and built specification?
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 12th Mar 17, 8:48 AM
    • 23,535 Posts
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    Davesnave
    • #4
    • 12th Mar 17, 8:48 AM
    • #4
    • 12th Mar 17, 8:48 AM
    Small changes do not make people pull out of new build purchases, but they may sometimes be used as tools for negotiation of upgrades etc.

    If this is a small change, the answer is probably that you cannot withdraw without penalty and the chance of receiving interest on your deposit is almost nil.

    I can't see the change or the contract from here; hence the vague reply
    Last edited by Davesnave; 12-03-2017 at 8:51 AM. Reason: typo
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • Gother
    • By Gother 12th Mar 17, 9:07 AM
    • 4 Posts
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    Gother
    • #5
    • 12th Mar 17, 9:07 AM
    • #5
    • 12th Mar 17, 9:07 AM
    Appreciate the vagueness, however that was on purpose. I am trying to be very specific but also generic. If you purchase a new build property, which came with a bullet point list for "specifications", but something on that list is absent, do you have any rights? This could be to query a discount, refund, or something else. The "walk away from the purchase" is extreme, often if you have those rights it gives the buyer/purchaser the ability to put pressure on the developer, either to right a wrong or to offer something to counterbalance the missing item? Hopefully this makes sense?

    In a similar scenario, had you agreed to buy a car and paid the deposit, but later noticed a lack of "included back seat interior lighting" (which was an item on the specifications list), would you have any cancellation rights here? The scenario is slightly different, as with a car you can at least view it before paying a deposit, unlike a new build property.

    I'm hoping the other part of the question, regarding interest on a deposit, is fair to ask. Six months seems a reasonable amount of time to query this, but perhaps not?
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 12th Mar 17, 9:12 AM
    • 6,073 Posts
    • 5,827 Thanks
    davidmcn
    • #6
    • 12th Mar 17, 9:12 AM
    • #6
    • 12th Mar 17, 9:12 AM
    Appreciate the vagueness, however that was on purpose. I am trying to be very specific but also generic. If you purchase a new build property, which came with a bullet point list for "specifications", but something on that list is absent, do you have any rights?
    Originally posted by Gother
    As two other replies have already said (and hopefully as was explained to you by your solicitor) your rights are as stated in your contract. So read that. But there will certainly be some leeway for variations to the spec, and generally for normal residential contracts, quite a lot of leeway before they're obliged to involve you in approving them.

    As for interest on the deposit - who is actually holding it? And given current interest rates, is it even worth considering?
    Last edited by davidmcn; 12-03-2017 at 9:31 AM.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 12th Mar 17, 9:15 AM
    • 15,440 Posts
    • 13,768 Thanks
    AdrianC
    • #7
    • 12th Mar 17, 9:15 AM
    • #7
    • 12th Mar 17, 9:15 AM
    Appreciate the vagueness, however that was on purpose.
    Originally posted by Gother
    You can see why it makes any specific advice difficult, though.

    If you purchase a new build property, which came with a bullet point list for "specifications", but something on that list is absent, do you have any rights?
    What. Does. Your. Contract. Say?

    In a similar scenario, had you agreed to buy a car and paid the deposit, but later noticed a lack of "included back seat interior lighting" (which was an item on the specifications list), would you have any cancellation rights here? The scenario is slightly different, as with a car you can at least view it before paying a deposit, unlike a new build property.
    A very large percentage of cars are not purchased from stock, and specifications can change between order and delivery - and build/order/specification errors can occur. Again, the wording of the order contract is critical.

    I'm hoping the other part of the question, regarding interest on a deposit, is fair to ask. Six months seems a reasonable amount of time to query this, but perhaps not?
    <points back to contract>

    But ask yourself what interest rate you think would be appropriate, bearing in mind bank base rate is 0.25%. How much deposit are we talking about? Six months interest on £1,000 at base rate is £1.25.
    • k3lvc
    • By k3lvc 12th Mar 17, 9:15 AM
    • 1,909 Posts
    • 2,999 Thanks
    k3lvc
    • #8
    • 12th Mar 17, 9:15 AM
    • #8
    • 12th Mar 17, 9:15 AM
    Given how (purposely) vague you're being you're only likely to get (purposely) vague answers on here as no-one can answer with any more detail

    Tucked away in the T&C's is likely to be a 'E&OE' statement which allows a certain amount of leeway for them to claim an error on the spec

    In terms of are you going to be able to back out and get interest on your deposit then unless there's something fairly fundamental (i.e. a bedroom missing) then you're probably having a
    • sparky130a
    • By sparky130a 12th Mar 17, 9:41 AM
    • 638 Posts
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    sparky130a
    • #9
    • 12th Mar 17, 9:41 AM
    • #9
    • 12th Mar 17, 9:41 AM
    Appreciate the vagueness, however that was on purpose. I am trying to be very specific but also generic.
    Originally posted by Gother
    To what end?

    Well clearly you're not.
    • comeandgo
    • By comeandgo 12th Mar 17, 10:24 AM
    • 1,864 Posts
    • 2,503 Thanks
    comeandgo
    In our last new house, there was a radiator missing from the walk in wardrobe, the ensuite was a bit larger than the plans and our wardrobe was a bit smaller. In the brochure there was a lovely white car in the driveway. We did not get that either. Our builders had done so much more for us with extra electrical points extra dormer window that we accepted the very small changes with no complaints.
    • Freecall
    • By Freecall 12th Mar 17, 11:22 AM
    • 1,049 Posts
    • 950 Thanks
    Freecall
    Worse, I went on holiday once, the brochure showed a lovely blue sky with sunshine.

    Rained all week.

    Still thinking I should sue for misrepresentation.

    • G_M
    • By G_M 12th Mar 17, 5:25 PM
    • 41,892 Posts
    • 48,476 Thanks
    G_M
    Worse, I went on holiday once, the brochure showed a lovely blue sky with sunshine.

    Rained all week.

    Still thinking I should sue for misrepresentation.

    Originally posted by Freecall
    Chances are the court will award you extra sunshine on your next holiday.
    • Gother
    • By Gother 12th Mar 17, 9:44 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Gother
    Thank you all for taking the time to reply, it is very much appreciated.

    This feels to be an answer to my specification change question:


    • There is likely something within the contract that allows for minor alterations, likely also to say that the alterations can be made without any notice or communication to the buyer. Without this, the developer is likely making a rod for their own back, as unexpected issues that require minor changes are highly likely.
    • Exceptions would include large changes (e.g., structural), changes that risk safety, or something that significantly drops the value of the property.

    It still feels that there’s a grey area, e.g., if you were expecting a certain colour of brick but got something else, you probably have to live with it (many would return a car if it arrived the wrong colour).


    As for the deposit interest query, we're talking in the area of tens of thousands as a deposit. Even 1% interest would be significant, at least in our eyes. However it seems there’s no hard and fast rule here either.
    • waamo
    • By waamo 12th Mar 17, 10:36 PM
    • 2,092 Posts
    • 2,498 Thanks
    waamo
    Clear as mud. Speak to your solicitor is the best answer given your reluctance to be forthcoming.
    This space for hire.
    • neilio
    • By neilio 13th Mar 17, 8:45 AM
    • 206 Posts
    • 102 Thanks
    neilio
    So, are you ever going to tell us what this "small change in one of the rooms" is?
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 14th Mar 17, 3:17 AM
    • 4,846 Posts
    • 6,797 Thanks
    deannatrois
    I would also suggest that given what you are not prepared to say, their expertise and their access to your contracts.., you'd be better off discussing this with your solicitor.
    • AndyBSG
    • By AndyBSG 14th Mar 17, 10:28 AM
    • 927 Posts
    • 1,129 Thanks
    AndyBSG
    So, are you ever going to tell us what this "small change in one of the rooms" is?
    Originally posted by neilio
    They put a 60 watt light bulb instead of a 40 watt one in one of the rooms!
    • sparky130a
    • By sparky130a 14th Mar 17, 11:38 AM
    • 638 Posts
    • 776 Thanks
    sparky130a
    They put a 60 watt light bulb instead of a 40 watt one in one of the rooms!
    Originally posted by AndyBSG
    I'll wager it was just a different lampshade...
    • Bonniepurple
    • By Bonniepurple 14th Mar 17, 7:35 PM
    • 91 Posts
    • 104 Thanks
    Bonniepurple
    Worse, I went on holiday once, the brochure showed a lovely blue sky with sunshine.

    Rained all week.

    Still thinking I should sue for misrepresentation.

    Originally posted by Freecall
    The estate agent's bumf stated that our bedroom had stunning views of the local beauty spot. For the first few weeks after moving it was shrouded in mist. Do you think I could complain?!
    • Tygermoth
    • By Tygermoth 14th Mar 17, 9:02 PM
    • 1,291 Posts
    • 2,614 Thanks
    Tygermoth
    We reserved a new build - when viewing the build we noticed 2 changes - they had flipped the plans - not what we were expecting as we had been advised the layout (but we could live with it) and they had removed the option of a back door due to a driveway issue (this was a big problem due to its location) the builder didn't think it was a big deal, we did.

    We advised them we were unhappy with the changes. They told us to sling our hook as they could sell it a dozen times over. We walked away from the purchase. They gave us back our reservation fee and the extras paid for. We had to carry the sols fees. This being said they were under no obligation to do so because, as you have discovered, there are few rights afforded you when buying a new build.

    House is still half built and unsold - as no one wants it with no back door.

    Bullet dodged
    Last edited by Tygermoth; 14-03-2017 at 9:16 PM.
    Please note I have a cognitive disability - as such my wording can be a bit off, muddled, misspelt or in some cases i can miss out some words totally...
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