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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10452
Experience:  Solicitor LLB (Hons) 23 years of experience in Conveyancing and Property Law
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We bought our house c18 months ago and following a successful

Customer Question

We bought our house c18 months ago and following a successful planning application have started building work. However on digging out the ground works our builders have found an 11,000 volt cable running under the area we have permission to extend over. Apparently this cable was laid in 1959 (the power company have told me) and apparently 'all the legals' were done then. The land has obviously passed through a number of hands since then and it appears that detail of any 'legals' have not been as we were not advised of this by our solicitor during the purchase process. The land registry info makes no reference to a cable.

Do we have any rights to make a claim against anyone?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 3 years ago.

Hi there,

Thanks for your enquiry and am sorry to hear of your situation.

If "all the legals" were done back in 1959, reference should be showing on your Land Registry Deeds by way of a wayleave agreement. Back in 1959 Deeds were not registered at the Land Registry but in the 1970's onwards, they were, so the wayleave agreement should have been registered whenever the property changed hands in the 1970's or thereafter.

I would therefore ask the power company for a copy of any agreement they are holding. I'm afraid that the fact that it does not appear to have been registered at the Land Registry does not make it unbinding on you, and you are stuck with the cable.

As regards making a claim, there are only 2 parties you would have a claim against-

1. Your Solicitor. Unfortunately, if there is nothing on the Land Registry, your Solicitor would have been unaware, just like you, of the cable, as none of the standard Conveyancing searches we Solicitors do would show up any such cable.

2. The Seller. Whenever you buy a property it is a case of "caveat emptor" (Let the Buyer beware) which means the Buyer takes the property as they find it. The onus was therefore on you to carry out your own investigations before purchasing.

However, if your Seller completed a Property Information Form during the Sale process this includes a question-

Are you aware of any drains, pipes or wires that leading to any neighbour's property cross the property?
This is about your only half chance of claiming against the Seller, if indeed the Seller was aware of the cable.

I would therefore suggest that you speak to your Solicitor concerning the above and you would need to take it from there.

Please note, however, that even if you have grounds for a claim against your Seller, litigation is very expensive and it may not be financially worthwhile for you to pursue the Seller.

I hope this assists.

Kind Regards
AL