Moving home is an exciting time in everybody’s lives. Our conveyancing department regularly receive calls from their clients following completion of purchases thanking them for guiding them through what can often be quite a stressful time in their lives. Unfortunately, house stress does not always end following completion of your sale and purchase. Despite enquiries, searches and title checks being carried out prior to a transaction completing, sometimes problems come to light only after you move into your new house.
A common complaint is that of misrepresentations by those selling the house to you. Often purchasers of properties will arrive and find physical ailments at a property such as damp, Japanese knotweed or problems with appliances or other features at the property. So what are your options should you find a problem in your new house?
Prior to completing a purchase your solicitors will deal with investigations of title. This will include matters such as access, boundaries, rights and reservations of the property. They will report to you on everything to ensure that you are happy to complete the purchase of the house as it is. Your solicitor will raise enquiries (i.e. ask questions) of the seller’s solicitors and will refer you to the answers given in order to assist you in your decision as to whether or not you wish to complete the purchase.
Most buyers will also engage a surveyor to undertake a valuation and (in a lot of cases) a detailed homebuyers’ report. This is effectively a full check of the physical premises and advice about any current or potential problems.
Often purchasers will move into properties and find that matters are not as they had hoped. If the seller had misled you about the position, it may be possible to bring a claim against your seller for misrepresentation, seeking damages for any losses which you have incurred.
Alternatively, you may consider that your surveyor, when carrying out the survey of your new house, should have spotted and informed you of a problem but failed to do so. In such a case, you may have a claim against your surveyor in negligence. This would be limited to the amount of losses you have suffered as a result of the claimed negligence.
Not all claims are viable and in many cases, individuals will seek to simply resolve matters themselves. However, where problems are of a certain level, it is advisable to instruct a solicitor to investigate the matter (including a review of the file of papers from your conveyancing solicitor). From here, we can establish whether you have a claim either against the seller of the property or indeed the solicitor or surveyor who acted on the purchase.
If you have moved into a new house or flat and discovered unexpected problems, our property disputes team can help. Call us on 0800 988 7756 for a FREE initial chat.
This article originally appeared in Leeds City Dweller Magazine.