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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3498
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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My partner and I purchased a new build flat in October 2013.

Customer Question

My partner and I purchased a new build flat in October 2013. The development was built in June 2009 but we are the first people to live in the flat.

We have recently been informed that there is a leak due to a faulty pipe in our bathroom - we had no way of knowing of this when purchasing the flat as the pipe was built into a wall and therefore out of sight. We have had no issues with the shower running etc.

The building management company have informed us that given that it is a demised pipe, we are liable for the repair cost.

I would like to know whether this is the case, as had we known, or had any way of knowing, about the issue we would have requested its repair prior to completing the purchase of the propery.

Given that the problem has existed since we moved in, we believe that it is likely that the pipe was faulty from the time of its installation and therefore not a recent development. However my assumption is that is not covered by the builder's warranty, as that specifies internal problems as covered in the first 2 years only.

Does our argument have merit or have we taken on the liability upon signing our contract?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you for your question and welcome.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will assist you.

Did you purchase the flat from the developer?

How much will the repairs cost?

Did you have a survey done?

Has the problem only developed since you moved it?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi AJ



As we understand it the the property developer went into liquidation shortly after it finished construction of the tower, in 2009. Its assets passed to a subsidiary called Plumdean Ltd, from whom we purchased the property.




The repairs are estimated to cost £300.



We had a valuation survey undertaken only, for the purposes of our mortgage. We were advised we didn't need anything more than this as it was a new build property.



Please let me know if there's any more information you need.



Thanks,



Rich

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

Did PlumXXXXX XXXXXmited offer you any form of warranty?

If the developer had gone into liquidation their warranty would have been useless anyway?

Do you know what caused the problem? Is it just day to day use or was it from poor installation of the shower system?

I have to log off briefly but will be back online at 2pm.

Kind regards

AJ

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

AJ


 


We have a copy of a Zurich Building Period Certificate, which I presume is a valid certificate as our conveyancing solicitor indicated no problems with it. Similarly we have a photocopy of an NHBC final certificate. However, in both instances the standard 2 year period for most items being covered has past some time ago as the building was not occupied fully for several years.


 


These are all that we have been provided with in the form of warranty documents.


 


A plumber that came to inspect the source of the leak indicated that the problem was caused by a poor fitting of a plastic connection. The implication is that it has always been faulty and is not as a result of our recent use of the shower.


 


Kind regards,


 


Rich

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

When the seller gave you the property information form, did they say anything about everything being in good working order?

Did they say anything about the plumbing or state of the bathroom?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

AJ

 

Our property information indicated we would be purchasing the flat 'sold as seen'. Nothing was mentioned as being in anything but good working order - we were not told that we would have any work to undertake for known problems.

 

I appreciate that sold as seen would imply that we take what we get, however we had no reasonable way of identifying the leak, and indeed would not know of it if it were not for a plumber coming and taking apart our bathroom.

 

Kind regards


Rich

 

- I have checked with my partner and she is under the impression that we did not receive a property information form. Certainly looking at an online proforma I do not recall ever seeing such a document.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

The problem you have is that in theory aside from any warranty from the builder under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 there is an implied contractual term that s service should be provided with reasonable care and skill. As this is a contractual claim technically you would have six years to bring the claim regardless of the 2 year warranty. That said the builder has gone insolvent anyway so the warranty would be worthless.

The only way to make a claim would be against the seller. As they did not install the bathroom you need to prove a breach of contract. They sold the property as brand and as seen. Therefore there is a reasonable expectation that the shower would actually work.

I do not think you could really justify bringing a county court claim as it would expose you to time and cost consequences if you lost that would be disproportionate.

It would therefore be worth writing to the seller and demanding that they pay for this on the basis that they sold you a brand new flat with faulty plumbing. They will probably say no but you might be able to get them to at least split the cost with you on the threat that you might bring a county court claim.

I would start by requesting the property information from your solicitor to see if there is anything that suggests you were purchasing a brand new property free of defect.

Kind regards

AJ

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