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Seller took out a personal loan for home improvements, can I be held liable?

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  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 14,033 Forumite
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    Gavin83 said:
    user1977 said:
    fatbelly said:
    baccalad said:
    I’ve only just managed to be able to get in contact with my solicitor today. I explained how I understand what they’re saying could happen, but I asked if they could explain to me the legal aspect of why it could happen, as I still don’t understand how I can become liable for their loan if I buy the house. They just reiterated the same point about items being financed and not owned outright, and how I wouldn’t own them and they could be seized if the seller stopped paying for them.
    Which is true if the items were hire purchase because you don't own them until the final payment. 'Hire', and 'Purchase', see?

    It's not true if they bought stuff with a personal loan. ...
    And as discussed above, even if they were on HP (which they wouldn't have been...) the items in question are now  fixtures incorporated into the real property. So the creditors couldn't come and chisel them out, if anyone it's the mortgage lenders who have a charge over them.
    I'm really not sure that's the case.
    I'm really sure that it is the case. Once chattels become fixtures then they accede to the land, and are part of the property owned by whoever owns the land.

    See here:

    https://www.33bedfordrow.co.uk/insights/articles/affixing-objects-to-land-or-buildings-losing-title-to-the-objects

    and many other sources.

    Yes, cars are different, because they're always going to be chattels.

    But this is a bizarre enquiry to make - it's certainly not a normal one, and particularly unhelpful if the solicitor making it doesn't understand how to interpret the answer and advise their client.
  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 46,955 Ambassador
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    If the loan isn’t secured on the property then it is unsecured and the loan company chases the person they made the loan to, they can’t go after what the loan money was used to purchase. Imagine the loan money went into the borrowers bank account, that bank account would have been used to pay all sorts of bills as well as by the goods in question. There is no way that loan can now be linked to items the original borrower bought and has since sold as part of the house sale.
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  • Hoenir
    Hoenir Posts: 2,061 Forumite
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    edited 24 November 2023 at 7:01PM
    user1977 said:

    But this is a bizarre enquiry to make - it's certainly not a normal one, and particularly unhelpful if the solicitor making it doesn't understand how to interpret the answer and advise their client.
    Their client is also the lender. Which is where the query was directed too. The personal affairs of the vendor need not be disclosed. Making a molehill springs to mind. 
  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 14,033 Forumite
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    Hoenir said:
    user1977 said:

    But this is a bizarre enquiry to make - it's certainly not a normal one, and particularly unhelpful if the solicitor making it doesn't understand how to interpret the answer and advise their client.
    Their client is also the lender. Which is where the query was directed too. 
    Yes, the solicitor seemed similarly unable to give advice to the lender, and left it to the in-house team at the lender to roll their eyes and confirm they didn't care.
  • baccalad
    baccalad Posts: 14 Forumite
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    edited 25 November 2023 at 12:43AM
    I should probably mention that I'm using a local law firm with a physical office nearby as opposed to an online conveyancing firm. I've checked on their website and there is a profile for my solicitor, who is a trainee solicitor at the firm, having recently completed her Law Degree and Legal Practice Course. There are also quite a few positive reviews on Google where her name specifically is mentioned as being brilliant.

    Also, when the estate agent questioned her legal knowledge on the personal loan, she said she didn't appreciate the tone and that she'd already discussed it with two other solicitors at the firm. Make of that what you will, although I myself don't really know what to make of it. The firm as a whole has a pretty good rating on Google.

    My experience hasn't been quite so positive. The Property Information Form I originally received in the post was completely blank so I had to call up to be told that it must not have printed out properly. You'd think they'd look over stuff after printing it out to make sure that it's all there and all okay, even if they've previously read through it on a computer. When I did get the completed form I raised an enquiry about one of the seller's answers, only to receive a reply weeks later that was completely unrelated to the original issue I raised in the enquiry...
  • GDB2222
    GDB2222 Posts: 24,660 Forumite
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    edited 26 November 2023 at 12:08PM
    baccalad said:
    I should probably mention that I'm using a local law firm with a physical office nearby as opposed to an online conveyancing firm. I've checked on their website and there is a profile for my solicitor, who is a trainee solicitor at the firm, having recently completed her Law Degree and Legal Practice Course. There are also quite a few positive reviews on Google where her name specifically is mentioned as being brilliant.

    Also, when the estate agent questioned her legal knowledge on the personal loan, she said she didn't appreciate the tone and that she'd already discussed it with two other solicitors at the firm. Make of that what you will, although I myself don't really know what to make of it. The firm as a whole has a pretty good rating on Google.

    My experience hasn't been quite so positive. The Property Information Form I originally received in the post was completely blank so I had to call up to be told that it must not have printed out properly. You'd think they'd look over stuff after printing it out to make sure that it's all there and all okay, even if they've previously read through it on a computer. When I did get the completed form I raised an enquiry about one of the seller's answers, only to receive a reply weeks later that was completely unrelated to the original issue I raised in the enquiry...
    I read the link that @user1977 posted, and it's a very interesting read. The question of whether a particular item has been 'legally attached' to the fabric of the building is quite nuanced. It depends on both the physical attachment and the intention of the parties involved. 

    The extreme cases are obvious. For example, concrete in the foundations is obviously legally attached, whilst a picture blu-tacked to the wall obviously isn't. In between those extremes, it's not so obvious.

    The case of a boiler that is part of an HP agreement is not covered by that link, but it would be easy to insert into the agreement that there is no intention to 'legally attach' the boiler to the building until fully paid for. I haven't seen any case law on that, but it might be valid.

    You have a trainee solicitor who has completed both a law degree and legal practice course, so I'm inclined to believe her when she says that there's at least a theoretical problem here from a legal POV. 



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  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 14,033 Forumite
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    GDB2222 said:
    baccalad said:
    I should probably mention that I'm using a local law firm with a physical office nearby as opposed to an online conveyancing firm. I've checked on their website and there is a profile for my solicitor, who is a trainee solicitor at the firm, having recently completed her Law Degree and Legal Practice Course. There are also quite a few positive reviews on Google where her name specifically is mentioned as being brilliant.

    Also, when the estate agent questioned her legal knowledge on the personal loan, she said she didn't appreciate the tone and that she'd already discussed it with two other solicitors at the firm. Make of that what you will, although I myself don't really know what to make of it. The firm as a whole has a pretty good rating on Google.

    My experience hasn't been quite so positive. The Property Information Form I originally received in the post was completely blank so I had to call up to be told that it must not have printed out properly. You'd think they'd look over stuff after printing it out to make sure that it's all there and all okay, even if they've previously read through it on a computer. When I did get the completed form I raised an enquiry about one of the seller's answers, only to receive a reply weeks later that was completely unrelated to the original issue I raised in the enquiry...
    You have a trainee solicitor who has completed both a law degree and legal practice course, so I'm inclined to believe her when she says that there's at least a theoretical problem here from a legal POV. 
    Even if there were a theoretical problem, it's not really the job of your conveyancer to raise the potentially infinite range of enquiries which they could conjure up about theoretical problems...(especially if they're unable to explain why they're asking them or how to interpret the responses).

    But I'll wait for someone to come up with an anecdote about a house buyer finding their boiler being repossessed...
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