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UK-Justice
UK-Justice, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 16193
Experience:  Called to the Bar in 2007
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I purchased a property recently (4 months ago) and have since

Customer Question

I purchased a property recently (4 months ago) and have since been having boiler problems. Boiler was not working properly and all plumbers who came said that the boiler had not been serviced for years (boiler is only 6 years old and has a normal lifespan of about 15-20 years). The property was being rented (by an estate agent) before I purchased it - so I assumed that it was being serviced annually given that this is the law. It turns out however that it has not been serviced for years, and I am now having to pay for repairs. Furthermore, I could not even get the boiler insured as it was considered "Not Gas Safe" and "High Risk" by British Gas. So now I am having to pay for 1) Repairs to get the boiler repaired (a lot of spare parts had to be replaced); 2) Paying higher for boiler service as it is in such poor condition; 3) Investing even more money to make the boiler Gas Safe, which also requires further installation of hatches along the way. I am having to spend so much money to get the boiler to work and to be compliant. I have been told that it was the solicitor's job to make sure these were in order and that he was supposed to send me a Gas Certificate for the boiler (I have not received any of that). Can I make a claim to get reimbursed for all these expenses? What is the best way to approach this?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.

Did they say that it was serviced?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


In the form they sent over, the owner had written "not known" when asked when it was serviced. I spoke to the solicitor about it and told him that I need to know the last time it was serviced. The answer I received was that the owner did not know much as the agent was taking care of the property. I asked him to check and I was told that he would, but it would not be an issue as the property was being rented before, hence boiler needs to be serviced annually by law. That's why I was naive or trusting enough not to chase up on it afterwards to check that he received the actual date.


The problem is not only about the servicing though, but also that the boiler was considered "High Risk" (ie not compliant). Isn't that something the solicitor should have told me about?


I have not received any gas certificate either. I was told that all documents would be sent to me by post subsequently, but I have not received gas certificate or even management pack containing details on the boiler. I chased up but have not heard back.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Expert:  UK-Justice replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for your question, I will do whatever I can to help you. Please remember to rate my answer SMILEY FACE OR ABOVE.

Did you ask for evidence before signing contract to buy?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


No I did not. If I did, it would have been blatantly obvious what I had to do and would not have asked any legal advice. I am aware of my key rights and fairly familiar with property law in general but this one is a bit tricky without real property law knowledge, hence why I am asking this question here.


Please see my reply to an initial question - hope this provides some more clarity:


In the form they sent over, the owner had written "not known" when asked when boiler was serviced. I spoke to the solicitor about it and told him that I need to know the last time it was serviced. The answer I received was that the owner did not know much as the agent was taking care of the property. I asked him to check and I was told that he would, but it would not be an issue as the property was being rented before, hence boiler needs to be serviced annually by law. That's why I was naive or trusting enough not to chase up on it afterwards to check that he received the actual date.


The problem is not only about the servicing though, but also that the boiler was considered "High Risk" (ie not compliant). Isn't that something the solicitor should have told me about?


 


I have not received any gas certificate either. I was told that all documents would be sent to me by post subsequently, but I have not received gas certificate or even management pack containing details on the boiler. I chased up but have not heard back

Expert:  UK-Justice replied 3 years ago.
Not necessarily.

If you were so concerned about it then you should not have signed.

The solicitor deals with property matters. As such you can not expect the solciitor to be an expert in terms of builder related items.

You asked when it was serviced and it came back as not known.

If you had said that you were not signing until you had evidence, that may have been a different matter.

But based on what you have said, the solicitor is not negligent.

You may have a claim against the seller, but in my view not the buyer.

I hope this clarifies.





Please remember to click *** OK SERVICE *** or above so that I am credited for my time. The question does not close and you can ask follow ups.

Important: If you feel the need to rate as one of the lower two scores, it counts as negative feedback so please reply to me via the REPLY with any further questions you may have. I will be happy to assist you further.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

This answer relates only to the boiler servicing aspect. There are a few questions I asked which is not clear from this answer:


1. It was a LEGAL requirement for the previous landlord to have serviced the boiler, but this was not done. It is against the law. Can I do anything about this?


2. The boiler is considered "High Risk" and is not law compliant. I beg to differ with you here - the solicitor's job is to make sure that everything in the flat is compliant. If there are non-compliant features, he had to warn me about these. The report the solicitor sends clearly states that he is happy with all answers he received and that there are no issues to note. Clearly this is a major issue.


3. Shouldn't a gas certificate be issued with every purchase? After discussions with British Gas, Gas Safe engineers, local agents, etc, I understood this was a legal requirement. How about that?

Expert:  UK-Justice replied 3 years ago.
A. Legal requirement if renting out the property yes.

If this was not done it was for the tenant who was renting, not you to take legal action.

B. The solicitor is not there to make everything is complaint, that is the whole purpose of a survey and the question form.

The solicitors job does not extend to making sure the boiler is serviced. You could have chosen not to sign.

C. No, there is no legal requirement to have a gas safety certificate,

It is for the buyer to satisfy himself that the property is in order.

I hope this clarifies.




Please remember to click *** OK SERVICE *** or above so that I am credited for my time. The question does not close and you can ask follow ups.

Important: If you feel the need to rate as one of the lower two scores, it counts as negative feedback so please reply to me via the REPLY with any further questions you may have. I will be happy to assist you further.

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