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    • Penguin2017
    • By Penguin2017 28th Nov 17, 9:22 PM
    • 5Posts
    • 0Thanks
    Penguin2017
    Can / Should I complain about EA
    • #1
    • 28th Nov 17, 9:22 PM
    Can / Should I complain about EA 28th Nov 17 at 9:22 PM
    Hi all,

    Read many threads but did not see a similar example so would really appreciate your comments. This is a question on whether I can seek damages against the estate agent

    I am a buyer and am expected to sign contracts next week. I made an offer on a house in June of this year. Before we made the offer, the agent mentioned that a part of the house had planning permission but not building regulation approved. The agent then suggested (via email) that we take indemnity insurance which will be paid by the seller. We agreed as did the seller and made the offer. We also conducted a comprehensive survey (but not a structural survey) to ensure that the structure was safe.

    However, now its emerged (via our solicitor searches) that the seller had approached the council to get the building regulations approved, and the structure had been rejected (All this happened before we made the offer). The indemnity insurance is not valid as a result, and the seller claims they didn't know that the insurance would be invalidated. The seller also told me that the agent knew of the rejection by the council before they accepted the offer. I assume agents would have known that the policy would not be issued given the rejection

    I asked the agent about this, but they said they were not aware of the rejection letter, though I tend to disbelieve them. They came to us to check interest, after they had agreed an offer with another buyer on the same house, but booted him in 45 days (I dont know why), and asked us if were interested. Once we said yes, I assume they said bye to him. However, with him, they would have gone through the same process and should have known about the rejection. Also if they were so upfront on informing us on the building regs, wouldn't they have usually asked the seller on whether the council was approached?

    As a result, we are now nervous about the exposure and will not sign, unless they rectify (seller is refusing) and its a potentially big job to repair. I have lost money on solicitors, mortgage, survey etc. which I could have saved if the agent had been straightforward. I can only assume either the agent truly didn't know or he thought we would go through with the purchase once spending all this money

    Do I have a recourse?
    Last edited by Penguin2017; 28-11-2017 at 9:40 PM.
Page 1
    • walwyn1978
    • By walwyn1978 28th Nov 17, 9:30 PM
    • 379 Posts
    • 339 Thanks
    walwyn1978
    • #2
    • 28th Nov 17, 9:30 PM
    • #2
    • 28th Nov 17, 9:30 PM
    Agent can only go on what they have been told by the seller. Seller misleading, missing out information or lying...doesn't reflect well on the agent but it may not be all their fault.
    • Tiglet2
    • By Tiglet2 28th Nov 17, 9:44 PM
    • 15 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    Tiglet2
    • #3
    • 28th Nov 17, 9:44 PM
    • #3
    • 28th Nov 17, 9:44 PM
    Unfortunately, the estate agent is working on behalf of the seller to sell his property. When a purchaser is found (you), you instruct a solicitor to carry out work on your behalf to make sure you are buying a good property. The solicitor will check all legal documentation, check the searches, mortgage offer, title documents etc to ensure that you are aware of exactly what you are buying. The estate agent does not get involved with the legalities of your purchase and cannot therefore advise you.

    How long ago was this "structure" built? If a long time ago, it wouldn't meet today's building regulations anyway. Also, if built over 10 years ago, it is unlikely that the seller's solicitor will agree to any recourse action and you will probably have to take a view.

    I don't think you will get any recourse from the estate agent. No doubt you have heard of Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware), it is up to you/your solicitor to find out as much about the property as possible - this is done by your viewing/inspection of the property, surveys and by instructing a solicitor to act on your behalf.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 28th Nov 17, 9:51 PM
    • 6,245 Posts
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    davidmcn
    • #4
    • 28th Nov 17, 9:51 PM
    • #4
    • 28th Nov 17, 9:51 PM
    Irrespective of what the EA did or didn't know (and I can't see you'll get far without evidence that the EA did know) - why on earth has it taken you five months to figure out that you can't get the insurance? That surely isn't down to the agent.
    • Penguin2017
    • By Penguin2017 28th Nov 17, 10:11 PM
    • 5 Posts
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    Penguin2017
    • #5
    • 28th Nov 17, 10:11 PM
    • #5
    • 28th Nov 17, 10:11 PM
    There were complications, such as they broke their chain and decided to get another house so we ended up twiddling our thumb while they sorted that out. However, we could have caught it earlier but our solicitor didnt get around to approaching the company to buy the policy till recently, and then found that it was invalid.

    Initially, we were asked to rush, so had everything in place within a month but that also meant we had spent our £ fees . In a way unless we had found out mid way or before we spent on mortgage evaluation or survey, we would not have saved any money
    • Penguin2017
    • By Penguin2017 28th Nov 17, 10:13 PM
    • 5 Posts
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    Penguin2017
    • #6
    • 28th Nov 17, 10:13 PM
    • #6
    • 28th Nov 17, 10:13 PM
    It was built in the last 5 years.

    You are right, that the buyer ultimately needs to do the diligence, however, this stinks!
    • thelem
    • By thelem 28th Nov 17, 10:59 PM
    • 625 Posts
    • 433 Thanks
    thelem
    • #7
    • 28th Nov 17, 10:59 PM
    • #7
    • 28th Nov 17, 10:59 PM
    The money you've spent so far is mostly on doing your due diligence - the searches and survey are all about looking for problems that may make you want to reconsider the sale. You've found one such problem, so they've done their job.

    These steps exist partly because vendors and estate agents can't be trusted to highlight any potential problems.
    Note: Unless otherwise stated, my property related posts refer to England & Wales. Please make sure you state if you are discussing Scotland or elsewhere as laws differ.
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 29th Nov 17, 9:04 AM
    • 36,183 Posts
    • 152,912 Thanks
    silvercar
    • #8
    • 29th Nov 17, 9:04 AM
    • #8
    • 29th Nov 17, 9:04 AM
    This is the seller's problem to sort. If no one can buy an indemnity then they are going to have problems selling.
    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 29th Nov 17, 10:11 AM
    • 2,215 Posts
    • 3,138 Thanks
    ReadingTim
    • #9
    • 29th Nov 17, 10:11 AM
    • #9
    • 29th Nov 17, 10:11 AM
    Would you rather "waste" hundreds of pounds on legal costs, or tens of thousands of pounds on building costs (plus hundreds of thousands of pounds buying the unsafe structure in the first place)?

    Sometimes you can't get the "best" outcome, but are instead forced to choose the least worst.

    And no, you don't have any recourse whatsoever.
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 29th Nov 17, 10:26 AM
    • 1,214 Posts
    • 1,006 Thanks
    Comms69
    Well you can try sue the EA, but I don't think you have a cat in hells chance of actually winning - sorry
    • Penguin2017
    • By Penguin2017 30th Nov 17, 11:45 PM
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    • 0 Thanks
    Penguin2017
    Can I understand why I cannot get a recourse? The agent knew of the rejection letter, yet he suggested indemnity, and rushed me to finish the process in a month. Its because of this I lost all the money to do the mortgage, searches, solicitors. The seller did tell me that he knew and may corroborate
    • Tiglet2
    • By Tiglet2 1st Dec 17, 8:26 AM
    • 15 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    Tiglet2
    You can't get any recourse because EAs are not trained to advise you about indemnity policies or in fact any legal information whatsoever. EAs sell properties. They work on behalf of a seller to sell. They do not work for the buyer. Whether or not the seller divulges information, the EA will not know. EA base their knowledge of the property on information provided by the seller. Even if the EA knew certain information about the property, it is unlikely he would divulge it to you because he just wants the sale. They could sell a park home which floods every Winter if a buyer was stupid enough to believe the EA and not the solicitor. Think of it like a market trader - they will tell you anything in order to make the sale - it is up to you to find out if everything is above board and fit for purpose. While you might be able to take unsuitable goods back to the shop, in property buying, you employ a solicitor to do the due diligence instead.

    This why buyers instruct a solicitor to find out the actual legal facts. Your solicitor has done their job and found a problem. Therefore, they have done what you are paying them to do and it is now entirely up to you how you move forward, i.e. continue with the purchase or withdraw and look for an alternative property.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 1st Dec 17, 8:31 AM
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    davidmcn
    The seller did tell me that he knew and may corroborate
    Originally posted by Penguin2017
    Not clear what you mean by corroboration here - I thought you only had the seller's say-so that the EA knew? Corroboration is a second piece of evidence to back it up.
    • Carrot007
    • By Carrot007 1st Dec 17, 8:38 AM
    • 726 Posts
    • 587 Thanks
    Carrot007
    Can I understand why I cannot get a recourse? The agent knew of the rejection letter, yet he suggested indemnity, and rushed me to finish the process in a month. Its because of this I lost all the money to do the mortgage, searches, solicitors. The seller did tell me that he knew and may corroborate
    Originally posted by Penguin2017
    The seller will corroborate that they misled you???? Makes no sense, because it was for them to tell you this not the EA.
    • Penguin2017
    • By Penguin2017 1st Dec 17, 9:41 PM
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    Penguin2017
    Well the seller said they didnt know of the clause where the indemnity would be void if the council rejected the conversion. However, the assumption is that the EA knew of these clauses.
    • Lysimache
    • By Lysimache 1st Dec 17, 9:49 PM
    • 87 Posts
    • 37 Thanks
    Lysimache
    Did your own solicitor advise you to:
    a) buy indemnity insurance?
    b) check whether any such insurance would be valid before you purchased it?
    If not, did you consult your own solicitor before you purchased the insurance?
    If not, who was the person (instead of your solicitor) you were paying who advised to take out such insurance?

    The estate agent advising you to do anything has no more weight than a bloke in the street advising you to do anything. I do appreciate how annoying and angry this must make you feel though!
    Last edited by Lysimache; 01-12-2017 at 9:50 PM. Reason: Line breaks
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 1st Dec 17, 10:30 PM
    • 1,945 Posts
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    steampowered
    Even if the EA knew, they did not have any obligation to tell you.

    The EA represents the seller - not the buyer.
    • ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    • By ScorpiondeRooftrouser 2nd Dec 17, 10:14 AM
    • 2,100 Posts
    • 3,127 Thanks
    ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    Well the seller said they didnt know of the clause where the indemnity would be void if the council rejected the conversion. However, the assumption is that the EA knew of these clauses.
    Originally posted by Penguin2017
    What wold make you assume that the EA knew anything about indemnity insurance, let alone the particular clauses of yours?
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