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  • FIRST POST
    • gertie79
    • By gertie79 7th Jul 17, 10:53 AM
    • 9Posts
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    gertie79
    Conveyancer missed water issue
    • #1
    • 7th Jul 17, 10:53 AM
    Conveyancer missed water issue 7th Jul 17 at 10:53 AM
    Hi, we recently purchased a house and have just been told by a neighbour that his property and a neighbouring business use our water. We pay the bill and he then reimburses us for 25% and the nursery owner pays us 50%. I have contacted the water company who know that there are several properties attached to our meter and said that it should have come up in the searches our conveyancer did. I have checked and can see no mention of it. We aren't happy with this arrangement. The business is a huge plant nursery so I imagine they would use a lot of water and there is no formal agreement in place. We just have to trust that our neighbours will pay us back. Do we have any recourse to the solicitors for failing to discover this, or to the vendor for failing to disclose it? Thanks!
Page 1
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 7th Jul 17, 11:11 AM
    • 14,791 Posts
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    AdrianC
    • #2
    • 7th Jul 17, 11:11 AM
    • #2
    • 7th Jul 17, 11:11 AM
    Surely the easiest solution is for additional meters to be installed?
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 7th Jul 17, 11:11 AM
    • 7,055 Posts
    • 7,531 Thanks
    AnotherJoe
    • #3
    • 7th Jul 17, 11:11 AM
    • #3
    • 7th Jul 17, 11:11 AM
    Wow! My first stop would be to call the water company and get a separate meter installed. Those numbers are obviously wrong since they are far too arbitrary, (25/25/50 is far to neat) and as you say are you really using half as much water as a plant nursery?!)

    I've no idea whether searches should have disclosed this but I'd have thought the previous owner should have ! Did you ask to see water charges?
    • gertie79
    • By gertie79 7th Jul 17, 11:14 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    gertie79
    • #4
    • 7th Jul 17, 11:14 AM
    • #4
    • 7th Jul 17, 11:14 AM
    That's true but there is a cost involved and I don't feel we should have to cover that given that we knew nothing about it. We don't want to annoy our new neighbours by asking them to pay...
    • gertie79
    • By gertie79 7th Jul 17, 11:16 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    gertie79
    • #5
    • 7th Jul 17, 11:16 AM
    • #5
    • 7th Jul 17, 11:16 AM
    We did pay the conveyancer extra for the water searches. I've no idea how much the charges are for the water as we haven't had a bill yet.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 7th Jul 17, 11:17 AM
    • 14,791 Posts
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    AdrianC
    • #6
    • 7th Jul 17, 11:17 AM
    • #6
    • 7th Jul 17, 11:17 AM
    Would it be inappropriate to suggest splitting the cost of meter installation down the same lines as the existing agreement...?
    • gertie79
    • By gertie79 7th Jul 17, 11:19 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    gertie79
    • #7
    • 7th Jul 17, 11:19 AM
    • #7
    • 7th Jul 17, 11:19 AM
    Splitting the cost like that does seem sensible if it comes to that. But before we start doing that I'd like to try and get an understanding as to whether the conveyancer or the vendor are at fault for not divulging this information?
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 7th Jul 17, 11:21 AM
    • 5,624 Posts
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    davidmcn
    • #8
    • 7th Jul 17, 11:21 AM
    • #8
    • 7th Jul 17, 11:21 AM
    If it wasn't disclosed in the searches then why would the conveyancer be responsible? All they can go on is what is in the searches. You might want to query with whoever provided the searches.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 7th Jul 17, 11:22 AM
    • 14,791 Posts
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    AdrianC
    • #9
    • 7th Jul 17, 11:22 AM
    • #9
    • 7th Jul 17, 11:22 AM
    But before we start doing that I'd like to try and get an understanding as to whether the conveyancer or the vendor are at fault for not divulging this information?
    Originally posted by gertie79
    Will knowing who was "at fault" help in any way to resolve the problem?
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 7th Jul 17, 11:22 AM
    • 22,925 Posts
    • 88,082 Thanks
    Davesnave
    On the TA6 there are enough questions in Section 8 to reveal this, so what were the vendors responses to these?
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 7th Jul 17, 11:31 AM
    • 18,172 Posts
    • 13,868 Thanks
    agrinnall
    Just cut off the supply to the other properties, I'm sure they will then sort out their own supply.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 7th Jul 17, 12:36 PM
    • 40,610 Posts
    • 46,468 Thanks
    G_M
    1) conveyancer liability.
    What exactly do the searches say?
    You had a water search done - with what result?
    I asume you rou received a TA8 - what does it say?

    * If the various searches and enquiries show nothing, in what way could the conveyancer be liable?
    * If they show up this arrangement, then you are as much at fault as the conveyancer since you will have been sent copies to review and bought the property on that basis
    * If the searches were not done, then the conveyancer might be liable.

    2) water supply
    In an arrangement like this, I'd expect there to be Deeds in place between you/neighbour and you/nursery
    a) giving them right to access for water across your land
    b) specifying how payment for water is allocated and
    c) specifying who is responsible for repair etc of the pipework

    3) Drainage
    Off-topic a bit, but out of interest, what is the arrangement for drainage. Yours? Neighbours? Nursery's? Does their drainage cross your land? If so, again a deed should be inplace. Is there a shared septic tank by any chance?

    4) Billing
    a) Assuming there is no such Deed in place, just an informal 25/25/50 split, I would get a Deed drawn up and then registered against all 3 property Titles. There will be some minimal Land Regsitry cost + cost for however many solicitors the 3 of you end up using. 1 could do it all if you agree, or you might each want your own.

    b) meter
    By far the best idea is separate meters. This could either involve
    i) the water company separating the pipework and installing separate meters, probably on the neighbour's/nursery's land
    ii) or you maintain the current system where you pay the total bill, but then bill the others based on their usage calculated by private meters, installed on your land, on your side of the water company meter where the pipes run off to the other properties.

    Private meters would be cheaper/easier I suspect, but leaves you with the (potential) problem of chasing the others for their contribution.

    Bear in mind that though the current arrangement may have worked well till now, if someone new buys the other property, and claims the nursery is using more than double them and refuses to pay 25%, what would you do......?

    As regular readers here will know, I'm a tea & cake man. The first step is a friendly, informal chat with the neighrbour and nursery owner (together or seperately) to outline your concerns and suggest formalising the arrangement. Point out ( in a non-threatening way!) that (unless their Title deeds say otherwise) they have no right to water across your land, but you are more than happy for them to gain such a right, provided a suitabe Deed is drawn up.

    Note - they may actually have a right based on extended use, but that's a complex legal area.

    See how they respond and take it from there.

    I suspect the nursery will be initially reluctant, as their share of usage is likely to increase.

    I suspect too that you'll have to be willing to take on some costs, even if just to get legaladvice upfront on whether they have gained some legal right by virtue of established use. Do you know how long this arrangement has been in place?

    Thereafter, you should persuade the others to bear the cost of the Deed (giving them the right to water!), or reach a compromise on costs.

    edit: this thread may be of interest:

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=3793571&highlight=water+septic+ta nk
    Last edited by G_M; 07-07-2017 at 12:54 PM.
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 7th Jul 17, 1:31 PM
    • 364 Posts
    • 156 Thanks
    sevenhills
    We did pay the conveyancer extra for the water searches. I've no idea how much the charges are for the water as we haven't had a bill yet.
    Originally posted by gertie79
    Should it have been brought to your attention from the survey? Not something that most would look for.
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 7th Jul 17, 2:28 PM
    • 7,055 Posts
    • 7,531 Thanks
    AnotherJoe
    That's true but there is a cost involved and I don't feel we should have to cover that given that we knew nothing about it. We don't want to annoy our new neighbours by asking them to pay...
    Originally posted by gertie79
    .... for their water use.

    Are you serious?

    We did pay the conveyancer extra for the water searches. I've no idea how much the charges are for the water as we haven't had a bill yet.
    Originally posted by gertie79
    You didn't ask for copies of any recent gas, water and electricity bills before exchange? I thought that was standard these days?
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 7th Jul 17, 2:47 PM
    • 5,624 Posts
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    davidmcn
    You didn't ask for copies of any recent gas, water and electricity bills before exchange? I thought that was standard these days?
    Originally posted by AnotherJoe
    No, sounds rather odd to me.
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 7th Jul 17, 2:50 PM
    • 35,679 Posts
    • 150,346 Thanks
    silvercar
    No, sounds rather odd to me.
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    Sounds odd to me too. Why would you expect they utility usage to be anything like yours? Usage depends on how many people in the property/ whether anyone is home in the day/ how warm they like to keep the house......
    • m0bov
    • By m0bov 7th Jul 17, 2:53 PM
    • 1,023 Posts
    • 697 Thanks
    m0bov
    Sounds like the previous owner got a kick back for letting those properties tap into his supply. Suggest the OP reports with details of the TA8, if there is nothing in the deeds and nothing in the TA8 regarding any agreements then turn the water off pronto!
    • molerat
    • By molerat 7th Jul 17, 3:10 PM
    • 16,780 Posts
    • 10,988 Thanks
    molerat
    How is a business attached to a domestic water supply ? I would have thought the water co would be onto that or are they charging business rates for the supply ? Do the water co know one of the users is a business ? It would not be too bad if it was a shop with a sink and toilet but a high use business seems a bit strange and I would have thought they would need a bit more than a standard domestic main.
    Last edited by molerat; 07-07-2017 at 3:13 PM.
    www.helpforheroes.org.uk/donations.html
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 7th Jul 17, 3:45 PM
    • 7,055 Posts
    • 7,531 Thanks
    AnotherJoe
    Sounds odd to me too. Why would you expect they utility usage to be anything like yours? Usage depends on how many people in the property/ whether anyone is home in the day/ how warm they like to keep the house......
    Originally posted by silvercar
    .... because when it said "water bill for 3 months £5,000" you might investigate rather than thinking they just showered frequently ?
    Last edited by AnotherJoe; 07-07-2017 at 3:48 PM.
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 7th Jul 17, 3:52 PM
    • 14,630 Posts
    • 14,387 Thanks
    Guest101
    Turn the water off I guarantee they'll sort it the same day
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