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  • FIRST POST
    • inner_grace
    • By inner_grace 7th Jul 17, 8:23 PM
    • 33Posts
    • 7Thanks
    inner_grace
    Legal rights after buying a house with dangerous electrics.
    • #1
    • 7th Jul 17, 8:23 PM
    Legal rights after buying a house with dangerous electrics. 7th Jul 17 at 8:23 PM
    Hi

    I recently brought a 4 bed detached house and paid the price of what the house was valued at based on acceptable electrics.

    The seller did not reply to the electricity questions nor did she provide an indemnity policy for an extension (I paid £100 for it just before completion at mine and my solicitors disgrace) I was given a brief reply to the electrics question also right at the last minute. She said she had not required the electrics apart from adding electric sockets in the conservatory. Also said she was advised to update the earth on the cooker 15 years ago. She told us when she showed us around that she extended the kitchen but told the solicitor the people she brought the house of didn't provide her with indemnity policy for the extension? I didn't expect much electrical work because the consumer unit is modern with new cables running around it.

    Upon changing lights we discover it's not the cooker that needs an earth. There is no cooker point as the oven is gas. It's the lighting circuit that needs the earth! She had metal fittings up which have all been ripped down and changed to plastic for safety. Some of the plug sockets were not left safe inside, some also having old early 1960s wiring. The new cables I spotted around the fuse box are for the kitchen as that has been done on a new circuit with earthed lighting.

    So my point here is I told my solicitor something was a miss as she has a new consumer unit but no electrical certificate for it? She said you would not always get a certificate. Didn't question with the seller anymore. The seller knew what she was doing and why didn't she say that the property had been partly re wired?

    She had alot of money from us for the house and eith everything looking nice on the outside. Nicely decorated, new carpets ect. Underneath it all is mostly old wiring and now we are left with a big bill at some point to put right work that she should have done beforehand.

    Not sure if I have any legal rights but I feel that she has mis led us and the solicitor could have been a bit more through on the electrical side?

    Has anyone else had a similar experience, did you pursue and what was the outcome?

    My solicitor just said I could take to small claims court and an independent legal advisor said it's a difficult one and to go through purchase documents to look for mistakes the solicitor may have made.

    Your advise appreciated.
Page 1
    • Alter ego
    • By Alter ego 7th Jul 17, 8:28 PM
    • 2,077 Posts
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    Alter ego
    • #2
    • 7th Jul 17, 8:28 PM
    • #2
    • 7th Jul 17, 8:28 PM
    When buying a house it's down to you to check it's condition,usually by a survey of anything you are in doubt about. It's known as buyer beware.
    Any time or money you spend chasing the vendor will be wasted unless you can prove they lied to you.
    Last edited by Alter ego; 07-07-2017 at 8:31 PM.
    Ignore me if you like, it's not the real me anyway.
    • ProDave
    • By ProDave 7th Jul 17, 8:30 PM
    • 269 Posts
    • 332 Thanks
    ProDave
    • #3
    • 7th Jul 17, 8:30 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Jul 17, 8:30 PM
    Did you ask for an EICR? (Electrical Installation Condition report) It would have cost less than £200 and would have told you what's wrong and would have enabled you to negotiate the selling price to cover some of the cost of repairs.

    1960's wiring is not necessarilly dangerous, plenty of it still safe and secure. Lighting without an earth probably pre dates that. Still safe to use with class 2 fittings, and you can get some metal class 2 light fittings.

    The extension work should have had an EIC (Electrical installation Certificate) and if not was probably a DIY or cowboy job. That should have forced some of the older stuff to be upgraded, but until recently building control were not very hot on things like that so may have let it slip through.

    I doubt there is much you can do.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 7th Jul 17, 8:31 PM
    • 15,096 Posts
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    AdrianC
    • #4
    • 7th Jul 17, 8:31 PM
    • #4
    • 7th Jul 17, 8:31 PM
    What did your survey say? I bet it just said you should get a full electrical check, which you decided you didn't need to do.

    What did you expect your solicitor to do? He never visited the property, and he's not an electrician. You were well aware that her answers on the PIF were sketchy - you even questioned them. Your solicitor is right - you don't always get an electrical certificate. None were issued prior to Part P of building regs coming in in 2005 - and even since then, people haven't always obtained them. You bought an indemnity certificate which, presumably, covers you against the legal costs for a prosecution relating to a breach of building regs regarding the electrical installation? Lovely, but that's not what's happening here, so it won't pay out.

    Caveat emptor. The time to satisfy yourself about condition was before purchase.
    • maninthestreet
    • By maninthestreet 7th Jul 17, 9:59 PM
    • 15,095 Posts
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    maninthestreet
    • #5
    • 7th Jul 17, 9:59 PM
    • #5
    • 7th Jul 17, 9:59 PM
    Shocking!!
    "You were only supposed to blow the bl**dy doors off!!"
    • G_M
    • By G_M 7th Jul 17, 10:20 PM
    • 41,106 Posts
    • 47,247 Thanks
    G_M
    • #6
    • 7th Jul 17, 10:20 PM
    • #6
    • 7th Jul 17, 10:20 PM
    tt
    Hi

    ....

    Not sure if I have any legal rights
    few
    but I feel that she has mis led us
    You feel she misled you, or she has misled you?

    If she has, please quote the exact words she put in her written replies to your questions regarding the electrics. We can then advise if this constitutes any legal commitment.


    and the solicitor could have been a bit more through on the electrical side?
    True. He could have visited the property and completed a complete elecrical check.

    Oh! No - I mean an electrician
    could have visited the property and completed a complete elecrical check.

    Has anyone else had a similar experience, did you pursue and what was the outcome?
    Not many people will have experienced this. Most people are cautious about what they are about to spend several hundred thousand pounds on.

    My solicitor just said I could take to small claims court and an independent legal advisor said it's a difficult one and to go through purchase documents to look for mistakes the solicitor may have made.

    Your advise appreciated.
    Originally posted by inner_grace
    My advice is to get 3 electricians to give you quotes to rectify all the problems.

    Then pay the cheapest or most professional-sounding one to do the work.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 7th Jul 17, 10:28 PM
    • 5,806 Posts
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    davidmcn
    • #7
    • 7th Jul 17, 10:28 PM
    • #7
    • 7th Jul 17, 10:28 PM
    and the solicitor could have been a bit more through on the electrical side?
    True. He could have visited the property and completed a complete elecrical check.
    Originally posted by G_M
    What did you expect your solicitor to do? He never visited the property, and he's not an electrician.
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    He's not even a man. The OP's solicitor appears to be one of those lady lawyers. I hear they're all the rage these days.

    (seriously, most fee-earners doing residential conveyancing are female, so why the assumption that they're male, even after you've been told they're not?)
    • patel007
    • By patel007 7th Jul 17, 10:31 PM
    • 739 Posts
    • 260 Thanks
    patel007
    • #8
    • 7th Jul 17, 10:31 PM
    • #8
    • 7th Jul 17, 10:31 PM
    Shocking!!
    Originally posted by maninthestreet
    • phill99
    • By phill99 7th Jul 17, 10:55 PM
    • 7,959 Posts
    • 7,191 Thanks
    phill99
    • #9
    • 7th Jul 17, 10:55 PM
    • #9
    • 7th Jul 17, 10:55 PM
    It's always somebody else's fault isn't it? No body wants to take responsibility for their own actions.
    Eat vegetables and fear no creditors, rather than eat duck and hide.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 7th Jul 17, 10:56 PM
    • 15,096 Posts
    • 13,415 Thanks
    AdrianC
    He's not even a man. The OP's solicitor appears to be one of those lady lawyers. I hear they're all the rage these days.

    (seriously, most fee-earners doing residential conveyancing are female, so why the assumption that they're male, even after you've been told they're not?)
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    May I refer my learned friend to section 6 of the Interpretations Act, 1978?
    6 Gender and number.

    In any Act, unless the contrary intention appears,—

    (a)words importing the masculine gender include the feminine;
    (b)words importing the feminine gender include the masculine;
    (c)words in the singular include the plural and words in the plural include the singular.
    • 3mph
    • By 3mph 7th Jul 17, 11:11 PM
    • 172 Posts
    • 198 Thanks
    3mph
    "I recently brought a 4 bed detached house and paid the price of what the house was valued at based on acceptable electrics."

    They were acceptable to you since you bought it.
    They were acceptable to the previous owner since they did nothing about it.
    Whether they were acceptable to an electrician you will never know since you never bothered to ask one.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 7th Jul 17, 11:17 PM
    • 41,106 Posts
    • 47,247 Thanks
    G_M
    "I recently brought a 4 bed detached house and paid the price of what the house was valued at based on acceptable electrics."

    They were acceptable to you since you bought it.
    They were acceptable to the previous owner since they did nothing about it.
    Whether they were acceptable to an electrician you will never know since you never bothered to ask one.
    Originally posted by 3mph
    If either the OP, or their mortgage lender, had a Valuation done, I very much doubt it said: "Valued at £X00,0000 if the electrics are acceptable".
    • 00ec25
    • By 00ec25 7th Jul 17, 11:45 PM
    • 4,800 Posts
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    00ec25
    you had the right to ask the vendor if they would agree to and allow an electrican to do an inspection

    you had the right to ask the vendor if they would pay for such an inspection

    you had the right to pay for the inspection yourself

    you had the right to take note of, or ignore, the findings of the inspection

    you had the right to ask the vendor to reduce the purchase price based on the findings of the inspection

    you had the right to walk away from the purchase if the vendor refused your revised offer

    you had the right to impose conditions in the contract

    your rights are now in the past....

    you exchanged contracts and your vendor neither implied nor stated anything at all about the electrics in that contract, which you failed to have inspected to establish what their actual state was. The contract completed on that basis and caveat emptor therefore now applies. They are now your electrics and your problem
    Last edited by 00ec25; 08-07-2017 at 10:37 AM.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 8th Jul 17, 7:24 AM
    • 23,149 Posts
    • 88,522 Thanks
    Davesnave

    Has anyone else had a similar experience, did you pursue and what was the outcome?

    My solicitor just said I could take to small claims court and an independent legal advisor said it's a difficult one and to go through purchase documents to look for mistakes the solicitor may have made.

    Your advise appreciated.
    Originally posted by inner_grace
    I have needed to rewire two of three houses I've purchased.

    I didn't 'pursue' anyone, except an electrician, because I either knew the house needed the electrics sorted, or I accepted that what was there, though safe, wasn't worth preserving.

    In other words I'd done due diligence when examining the house and understood that rewiring is a fundamental activity when considering a property's long-term future. It's not something one does after other alterations are complete.

    If that's an accurate account of what they said, it sounds as if your legal advisors here are talking BS.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 8th Jul 17, 10:32 AM
    • 35,897 Posts
    • 151,133 Thanks
    silvercar
    It's the lighting circuit that needs the earth! She had metal fittings up which have all been ripped down and changed to plastic for safety.
    Plenty of homes are like this, fitted out before it became a requirement to earth the light circuits. If your seller's were still living in the property, they would still be living like this. The general guidance, for anyone not rewiring immediately, is not to have metal switches.

    Changing the fittings for plastic is a further safeguard, though a lot of people would just be mindful not to swing from the lights with wet hands!
    • martindow
    • By martindow 8th Jul 17, 10:33 AM
    • 7,175 Posts
    • 3,990 Thanks
    martindow
    I have needed to rewire two of three houses I've purchased.
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    Was this due to safety issues though. Rewiring I've had done has been due to the fact there were only one or two sockets in each room and I wanted more. The wiring was old but not dangerous.
    • Bonniepurple
    • By Bonniepurple 8th Jul 17, 10:34 AM
    • 89 Posts
    • 103 Thanks
    Bonniepurple
    When we bought this house we knew that the electrics were probably going to need updating, so before exchange we asked our electrician to go in and test. What we asked for was "opinion on the electrics and to tell us if it was safe to plug in a kettle on moving day". He tested it, told us that it wasn't as bad as we thought, and we exchanged. It wouldn't have put us off, but I wanted the reassurance.
    Buyer beware.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 8th Jul 17, 10:42 AM
    • 15,096 Posts
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    AdrianC
    Plenty of homes are like this, fitted out before it became a requirement to earth the light circuits.
    Originally posted by silvercar
    <nods>
    It's probably worth pointing out that earthed lighting circuits only became a requirement for new installations from 1998.

    So, unless your house has been rewired since then, it's entirely possible - likely, even - that the lighting is not earthed.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 8th Jul 17, 1:03 PM
    • 23,149 Posts
    • 88,522 Thanks
    Davesnave
    Was this due to safety issues though? Rewiring I've had done has been due to the fact there were only one or two sockets in each room and I wanted more. The wiring was old but not dangerous.
    Originally posted by martindow
    Err, would you believe rubber cable? OK it's going back many years, but even in those heady days of practical naivety, I knew perishing when I saw it.

    Here, in the present house, I had some interesting live cables where they ought to have been dead, and no certification for any of the more modern work, but overall it didn't look too bad.

    I didn't claim both houses were potentially dangerous, but both shared the common theme of vendors who weren't capable of giving reliable answers, and I suspect that's the case with the OP as well.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • bxboards
    • By bxboards 8th Jul 17, 1:26 PM
    • 1,292 Posts
    • 1,025 Thanks
    bxboards
    Lots of older installations have no earth in the lighting , this is quite normal for older houses. You actually do not NEED to do anything, just fit Class II fittings. No earth is so normal, B&Q sell Class II.

    Older wiring does not mean things are unsafe - just avoid metal fittings.

    PS: houses are 'bought' not 'brought' they are not movable objects, so you can't 'bring' them from one place to another!
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