advice from solic?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in House Buying, Renting & Selling
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jen_jen_2jen_jen_2 Forumite
1K Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in House Buying, Renting & Selling
OH is buying a property which hasnt been lived in for a while and needs work. His solic. has sent him a letter saying

"The vendors solicitors have mentioned to us that the lady next door has had dampness shown into her property which she belives is coming from the property you are buying. The contractor has been round to give her an estimate of the work done and has quoted a sum of £1000. The vendors solicitors thought it only right that you should be aware of this as this may affect you in that the neighbour may wish to have some compensation for the damp going through to her property"

His solic has told him he could be liable for the compensation claim and he has to go and speak to the neighbours, she will not explain further.

How can he be liable for a claim when he was not the owner? What should he be saying to the neighbours? Can the solic not include something in the purchase details saying that the vendor is reponsible?

Any help appreciated
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Replies

  • Unfortunately if your OH is buying this house he is also buying any problems that come with it ,he should use this as a bargaining tool to lower the price unless it's already be finalised................the neighbour can claim compo off whoever owns the house if she can prove the problem was caused by that property.........it makes no differance who owned it before,presumably a survey was done,did not pick up any problem with the building that could cause the neighbours issues:confused:

    in summary

    If you haven't finalised the sale ,you need to find out if it's possible that the building your buying is causing the problem..........then re-negotiate with the seller to take into account that YOU could be liable for paying the neighbour compensation
  • Debt_Free_ChickDebt_Free_Chick Forumite
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    If you haven't completed on the purchase yet, surely the seller can claim on his insurance for this? Then, the work gets done AND the insurance company pays the bill.
    Warning ..... I'm a peri-menopausal axe-wielding maniac ;)
  • BossybootsBossyboots Forumite
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    If you haven't completed on the purchase yet, surely the seller can claim on his insurance for this? Then, the work gets done AND the insurance company pays the bill.

    That would be my first move too.

    If the seller does not agree to sort it out or you cannot come to a compromise with the seller and the neighbour, I personally would look for a different property.
  • jen_jen_2jen_jen_2 Forumite
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    OH understands that the cause has to be fixed immediately, but I still dont understand how if you buy a house you can be responsible for damage to another house caused before you owned it? If the damage was caused by neglect how can the new owner be responsible for neglect of a propery that wasnt owned by them at the time? It doesnt seem right.

    Is it possible to insist that the solicitor puts something in the contract so that the seller takes responsibility or to prevent liability for this specific problem as it is known to the seller already? The sale is due to go ahead this week and there isnt much confidence in the solic. as she is very evasive with answers - too late to change now though.
    Ready to Go Go!
  • BossybootsBossyboots Forumite
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    jen_jen wrote:
    OH understands that the cause has to be fixed immediately, but I still dont understand how if you buy a house you can be responsible for damage to another house caused before you owned it? If the damage was caused by neglect how can the new owner be responsible for neglect of a propery that wasnt owned by them at the time? It doesnt seem right.

    Is it possible to insist that the solicitor puts something in the contract so that the seller takes responsibility or to prevent liability for this specific problem as it is known to the seller already? The sale is due to go ahead this week and there isnt much confidence in the solic. as she is very evasive with answers - too late to change now though.

    When you say the sale is going ahead next week, do you mean exchange of contracts or completion? If it is exchange then personally I would refuse to exchange until agreement on this issue is reached. It shouldn't be the responsibility of the purchaser to deal with this. As it has been raised before purchase, the neighbour is clearly aware that the problem existed before sale. Unfortunately I think the neighbour will go for the easy target, your OH.

    If completion is next week then I don't think there is anything to be done as the contracts will be signed and exchanged. If this is the case then your OH is going to have to stand his ground and insist the neighbour purse this through the seller.

    Also, why does it have to be fixed immediately if the house has been empty for some time. Why didn't the neighbour do something about this beforehand?

    If the neighbour has approached the seller about this beforehand and nothing was done or it has not been mentioned in any of the documentation exhanged so far, then I would suggest that the seller has been less than honest with your other half and may even be in breach of contract by failing to disclose a material issue.

    Is you OH using a solicitor suggested by the estate agent? Is that solicitor doing the conveyancing for a low fixed fee? This might be why she is not being helpful as obviously the more work she does the less the profit for her firm.
  • jen_jen_2jen_jen_2 Forumite
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    OH was due to exchange on Friday and complete the end of this week.
    He was planning to get the work fixed immediately after completion to avoid liability that any damage took place post sale.

    Don't know what discussions have gone on prior to the sale of the property between the seller and neighbour but as it is apparent via the sellers solicitors that there is an existing problem then does this not clear my OH of liability presuming the problem is fixed soon after completion??

    Thanks you all for the information so far.
    Ready to Go Go!
  • jen_jen_2jen_jen_2 Forumite
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    an update, the OH asked the solic. about this again and challenged her to explain why he will be liable, she said she'd speak to the legal team!!

    it is so frustrating why she didnt do this weeks ago i will never know, well eventually seems she is being helpful.

    :D Thanks guys
    Ready to Go Go!
  • BossybootsBossyboots Forumite
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    jen_jen wrote:
    an update, the OH asked the solic. about this again and challenged her to explain why he will be liable, she said she'd speak to the legal team!!

    it is so frustrating why she didnt do this weeks ago i will never know, well eventually seems she is being helpful.

    :D Thanks guys

    I suspect she hoped you would just accept it and save her the hassle. It is all additional work that she is not going to be able to charge you for if you are paying a fixed fee, unless there is an agreement to pay extra costs if things do not proceed smoothly.
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