legal advice please – neighbours extension & possible dodgy solicitors content?

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  • legal advice please – neighbours extension & possible dodgy solicitors content?
  • Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    firstly I’d go ont he council website – most put all planning applications online and you should be able to see what was done and when. If it’s there then your solicitor shoudl have seen it too.

    As far as litigation is concerned – are the solicitors suing themselves or the seller?

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    You probably have something depending on what was signed etc.

    HOWEVER

    Also, we have a 3yo son and im concerned about his welfare during the building of extention with the close proximity of the materials/scaffolding etc. Im sure his/our first summer in our lovely new house is going to be comprimised by this development.

    I have no idea what was going on when I was 3. Stick to the facts and leave the emotional stuff to the daily wail

    slimjim78
    Member

    I have no idea what was going on when I was 3. Stick to the facts and leave the emotional stuff to the daily wail

    That’s fine, but we are talking about an already limited amount of outside space here.
    Would you want your toddler running around amongst/under scaffolding/building materials during the heat of the summer? or should I just keep him indoors?
    I feel its a fair point.
    The fact is, we would have been concerned had we known of the approved plans, and would have proceded with the purchase very differently as a result.

    Premier Icon jam bo
    Subscriber

    he’ll probably think its brilliant.

    slimjim78
    Member

    Yes, scaffolding is ace.

    Roof tiles falling on head, not ace.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    The fact is, we would have been concerned had we known of the approved plans, and would have proceded with the purchase very differently as a result.

    This is the issue, throwing in I HAVE A CHILD is just trying to play on something else. You have a legal issue regardless of if you have children. The outcome will not depend on any of these things.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    I do think you need to stick to the facts.

    1) did the seller lie in any documentation about this proposed extension

    2) did you solicitor do a reasonable job in checking if there was development proposed and informing you if there was.

    3) if either 1 or 2 are found to be a problem then how much loss of value is there/how much less would you have paid.

    4) who you have to sue to get the money resulting from 3).

    I’m not sure you’ll get much compo for scaffolding being on the house next door for a few months, tbh.

    Premier Icon Nick
    Subscriber

    I think you need proper legal advice, for a change.

    clubber
    Member

    The building work itself and your three year old are irrelevant I’m afraid and IME (having had an attic extension last year and my neighbour building a pretty substantial extension at the moment is that mess/etc is overstated. Your son will be fine. Don’t waste time on this bit as regardless of whether you agree, this is a complete non-starter from any legal perspective.

    Your solicitor should have found the planning application assuming that there was one. That said, if you also asked the seller whether anything was planned and they lied, that may be an avenue to explore.

    Get on to a solicitor asap and let your house move solicitors know and if relevant the seller too.

    Junkyard
    Member

    Back OT

    the seller has a duty to inform you and clearly they did not

    The solicitor was paid to do a search and failed to do it so i assume you have a case aginst them for being rubbish

    I assume the later is easier to prove than the former but I would be 100% certain the sellers knew anyway and decided not to tell you ..whether you can prove this I dont know

    What you are enititled to in terms of compensation I dont know
    I dont hink it needs stating but IAMNAL

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Subscriber

    firstly I’d go ont he council website – most put all planning applications online and you should be able to see what was done and when. If it’s there then your solicitor shoudl have seen it too.

    That’s where I’d start (In fact its something I’d have done myself before making an offer, but that’s easy in hindsight). Our council has a nice interactive map you can scroll round and see all the local plans past, present and future.

    Helios
    Member

    I was on your side until you threw in the spurious stuff about how your 3 year old is going to be permanently damaged by someone’s house extension.

    I mention this not to be rude, but because if you want to argue your case to people you might want to avoid them having the reaction I had. Which was to dismiss your otherwise legitimate complaint out of hand because of this bit of parental nonsense…

    crankboy
    Member

    1) solicitor should have done local searches with council, these should have contained details of any planning . If solicitor did the search but failed to spot the planning application he has some fault , if council failed to disclose they may have some liability.
    2) solicitor ought to have raised pre contract enquiries with seller which should have covered neibours developments the standard reply to precontract enquirys is either “None to the vendors knowledge” or “rely on your own searches” if not raised pre contract enquiries or not spoted a warning answer solicitor is at fault if neighbour has lied they are at fault.

    I would ask to see the local searches and replies to pre contract inquiries obtained by your solicitor. Then make a judgement .

    My conveyancing knowledge is 20 years out of date.

    slimjim78
    Member

    1) did the seller lie in any documentation about this proposed extension

    – they signed to state of no known plans/approved plans to build – after receiving full plan details from neighbour

    2) did you solicitor do a reasonable job in checking if there was development proposed and informing you if there was.

    thats what I paid them for, right?

    3) if either 1 or 2 are found to be a problem then how much loss of value is there/how much less would you have paid.

    not sure, thats why im here. we’d have offered thousands less though

    4) who you have to sue to get the money resulting from 3).

    exactly

    I’m not sure you’ll get much compo for scaffolding being on the house next door for a few months, tbh.

    what about property being devalued as a result of loss of natural light to already enclosed garden? plus inconvenience of putting up with undisclosed building works?
    In my eyes, what if the plans were to convert next door into an abbatoir, or chip shop etc.. who’d have offered the same amount then? It’s all a bit horse meaty

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    People have successfully sued the seller for failure to fully disclose where there have been material omissions….

    slimjim78
    Member

    I was on your side until you threw in the spurious stuff about how your 3 year old is going to be permanently damaged by someone’s house extension.

    I mention this not to be rude, but because if you want to argue your case to people you might want to avoid them having the reaction I had. Which was to dismiss your otherwise legitimate complaint out of hand because of this bit of parental nonsense…

    Sorry, thats my 3 year old, and I dont want anything falling on him in the garden.
    Its fine if you were aware of the issue, but for it to not be disclosed before splashing out is my beef.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Sorry, thats my 3 year old, and I dont want anything falling on him in the garden.
    Its fine if you were aware of the issue, but for it to not be disclosed before splashing out is my beef.

    Absolutely, your issues actually stand up well, you don’t need to embellish it with sentiment and emotion. Your loss (the biggest factor) and the inconvince of having the building work (the little part) are you issues. Stick to them, a couple of months of building is nothing compared to the lifetime impact. Don’t fixate on the little thing.

    CountZero
    Member

    I was on your side until you threw in the spurious stuff about how your 3 year old is going to be permanently damaged by someone’s house extension.
    I mention this not to be rude, but because if you want to argue your case to people you might want to avoid them having the reaction I had. Which was to dismiss your otherwise legitimate complaint out of hand because of this bit of parental nonsense…

    Overreact, much?
    He’s a parent of a small child, concerned about said child’s welfare in a small garden with building work going on in close proximity.
    It may not be relevant to the legal issues, but you’re in danger of getting things out of perspective too.

    Premier Icon Nick
    Subscriber

    and I dont want anything falling on him in the garden.

    You could let your son out there to play, and then if he gets injured sue the builders?

    (good luck with the claim, I’d be pissed off too)

    clubber
    Member

    what about property being devalued as a result of loss of natural light to already enclosed garden?

    Absolutely

    plus inconvenience of putting up with undisclosed building works?

    Not part of your case. You have to put up with the inconvenience if planning was granted. There’s no legal issue for this, only the end results (eg loss of light, devaluation etc)

    slimjim78
    Member

    Ok, so imagine the scene – we moved into our lovely new place at the beginning of the month to find a document on the kitchen table left by the previous owners.
    Said document contains plans drawn up by immediate next door neighbour to increase roof height and change from sloping roof to big flat boxy roof. Documents are dated August 2012.

    During house purchase our solicitor reports to us from searches carried out that no local planning had been requested or granted (except flat conversion futrther down the road).
    Also, paperwork provided by previous owners during the purchase process claims of no known intent to build/extend in local vacinity.

    Last Saturday our new neighbour introduces himself and immediately informs us of his approved plans, and that work commences this June. Oh, and he’d like to use our garden to prop his scaffolding…

    Now, I asked my solicitors what the deal was with these plans over two weeks ago and got a ‘i’ll look into it’ response. Ive since been back on to them to state that the plans have indeed already been approved – what the hell is going on? Apparently they are on to their litigation experts and are going to get back to me.

    Now, ive no issue with someone wanting to improve their house, but the only concession we made when finding this place was that it had a very small courtyard garden with a high brick wall.
    Ive monitored the Sun’s movement across the garden over the last couple weeks and whaddya know, it passes right over the neighbours current roofline at around midday, casting shadow over approx 1/3 to 1/2 of our garden. Im under no doubt that we will lose considerably more, if not all of our potential afternoon Sun after the roof height has been raised. Not to mention feeling more enclosed (the house next door is set higher than ours).
    Also, we have a 3yo son and im concerned about his welfare during the building of extention with the close proximity of the materials/scaffolding etc. Im sure his/our first summer in our lovely new house is going to be comprimised by this development.

    So, I dont with to fall out with my new neighbour, and he’s done nothing wrong – but surely theres something amiss here, right?
    Whom should I be more concerned with, my solicitor for not finding the obvious or the seller of property for not disclosing what they clearly knew about?
    I’m sure our solicitor will try to offload the blame onto the seller, should I go down that route? or go nuts at them for missing this from the searches?
    Do you think we are entitled to some form of compensation here?

    We love our new house and the location is superb, but there’s no way we’d have offered the amount we did to seal the purchase had we known the full facts.
    For the record, they are both detached properties.

    Helios
    Member

    Overreact, much?

    Not really – I was making a genuine point – the OP will get a lot further if he sticks with what is relevant. Adding “AND MY CHILD MIGHT DIE!!!” to it makes it all look like knee-jerk NIMBYism and will make people take it less seriously.

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    It’s not your neighbour’s fault of course, but you might be able to negotiate some building arrangements that minimise disruption. If there’s scaffolding directly adjacent to the garden, presumably they can use extra netting and boarding to keep stuff from dropping?

    It would seem like someone has lied or cocked up with regard to vendor questionnaire or searches. I suppose you’d have to get the opinion of a surveyor as to whether there was any material devaluation of your property as a result before you decide whether to take legal action.

    aP
    Member

    You’ll also need to check that a party wall agreement has been made. Obviously if you were to discover that the previous owners had Greed this it would make your case against them pretty watertight.

    robdixon
    Member

    A pretty bad situation and one that’s probably already caused quite a lot of upset…

    Did you search recent planning applications for the road yourself before making your original offer to buy the property?

    Putting the above aside, if the seller did receive a full set of plans from the neighbour you may still have a job proving that unless the neighbour is willing to confirm it in writing.

    The solicitor’s duty to the client is the main line to go down here – forget about suing the seller, your solicitor has potentially not discharged their duties if the work was subject to planning permission and you can find the original planning app on searches (assuming the work isn’t being done under permitted development, or as linked worked to an original permission granted more than 3 years ago that was done in phases, with the roof works being the final phase).

    Also worth checking to see if your home insurance provides any legal cover as what you should do at this point is take some independent advice on what your conveyancing solicitor should have done as part of the process.

    Premier Icon Sandwich
    Subscriber

    If you don’t allow a temporary wayleave (or whatever it is known as) for the scaffolding your neighbour will still be able to put a scaffold up just it will cost him more. The danger is that the scaffolder will not use an engineered solution (as Safety law requires) and will just throw something up which may be less safe than that originally planned.

    Good luck with your claim.

    st
    Member

    Surely if the concerns over your son’s safety are so significant then at least this is the one element that you do have control over. Simply refuse access for the scaffolders onto your property. It might p*ss your neighbour off but your genuine concerns over your son’s welfare are surely more important.

    That one dealt with you can then progress your concerns over the more tangible deficiencies in the conveyancing process.

    slimjim78
    Member

    Thanks guys.
    I have a copy of the plans in my possession, along with letter addressed to previous owners so I think I’m pretty watertight there. The seller left them in the kitchen remember !
    Scaffolding wise, the close proximity of our properties means that completing the building works without having access from my property will be very difficult for them. And if they manage, they will be working right against and above our border. The party wall is effectively his house

    robdixon
    Member

    have they served a party wall notice?

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Subscriber

    I’d be wary of upsetting the neighbour because a) they’ve done nothing wrong and b) they will carry on being your neighbour long after the vendor, estate agent and solicitor have disappeared. You might want to do your own extension in the future and it’s good have the on board for a load of reasons.

    edlong
    Member

    IMO you’ve got a potential claim against both the seller and the solicitor.

    I’m not sure why other posters seem to think proving the case against the seller would be difficult – you’ve had a response from the purchase process that they didn’t know of any developments, and they’ve left you the documents they received dated last August that say there is. Am I missing something or is that not pretty much “case closed” on that side of things?

    The solicitor appears to have not done what you engaged and paid him / her for – I’d think you’d at the very least be able to get your fees back, if not pursuing for consequential loss.

    I am not legally qualified, opinion only.

    Premier Icon michaelbowden
    Subscriber

    Get some third party legal advise. Use you house insurance cover if you have it.

    andyl
    Member

    This is a crap situation to be in.

    Would you have moved in had you known about the proposed works? From the sounds of what it’s going to do I wouldn’t (sorry to put a downer on your new home).

    You need to be going after both your solicitor and the sellers. Get some proper legal advice. I bet your solicitors are now very worried (hence their current actions) that they will get the full brunt of it. You may want to approach them calmly (as though you are not after their blood) about the lack of disclosure by the sellers and see what advice they offer in that respect as they will be your allies in any action against the seller. Leaving the documents on the table is a really low move.

    Concentrate on the issues of loss of value and that you wouldn’t have moved in had you known and not on the danger aspect (although I understand your concerns it is not the best approach and you might need to use that later on to block access or negotiate with next door as they ought to compensate you for using your property as you won’t be able to use your own space at times and will have to put up with builders coming into your space).

    I really would be after taking the sellers to the cleaners over this! (and then the solicitors)

    edlong
    Member

    Assuming you’re still planning on staying in this house that you’ve just bought, I’d be very hesitant to make life difficult for the neighbours – as you acknowledge, it’s not their fault this situation has arisen, and getting arsey now over some very short term disruption and scaffolding might mean you have an unpleasant relationship with your next door neighbours for the next thirty years.

    Premier Icon cb
    Subscriber

    I think getting 60% plus of helpful responses on here is pretty good going! Ignore the others. I’d be looking for some compo from both the seller and your solicitor. I’m guessing your solicitor will be better equipped to make you pursuit of them more painful and costly. Compo will also (I am guessing) be limited to the value of your loss and you’re going to have a difficult time quantifying that.

    I’d start by contacting the seller and proposing a solution that is acceptable to you. If they ignore it then legal is your only option. I’d be bloody annoyed but I’d echo the ‘keep the new neighbour sweet’ sentiment, but you already know that.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    I have a copy of the plans in my possession, along with letter addressed to previous owners so I think I’m pretty watertight there.

    You wouldn’t even need that. The very existence of a planning application is proof that they knew, as they’d have had to be notified as part of the planning process.

    bigyinn
    Member

    This is a failure of the solicitors to find out any planning requests and also a failure of the seller to disclose something that was relevant to the transaction.
    This is not the fault of the neighbor or the planners.
    Keep any complaints factual and put your emotions to one side.
    Its a crap situation and the solicitor needs their arse kicking for not spotting it.

    trail_rat
    Member

    tbh id have been straight down the solicitors when i found it on the table.

    much easier to get things like this sorted out in the first week.

    ebygomm
    Member

    The very existence of a planning application is proof that they knew, as they’d have had to be notified as part of the planning process.

    Not true, there is no statutory obligation to inform neighbours. A site notice is all that is legally required, although in practice neighbours are usually notified.

    Do you know whether you had an official local authority search or a search carried out by a search company?

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