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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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The house we are purchasing has been owned by a person for

Resolved Question:

The house we are purchasing has been owned by a person for nearly 20 years but he's never lived in it - it was rented out. At the back of the rear garden there is a [quite significant] mound of soil and rubbish and rubble which both myself and the surveyor have picked on. I have repeatedly asked for it to be removed and the seller is refusing - he would "only" remove the obvious rubbish from the surface, but will not look through the mound to clear it out. He admitted in writing that the mound is a result of his tenants dumping rubbish over the years! Also, in his Seller's Information Pack, he ticked "Yes" to removing all rubbish from the property, and YET his solicitor told him it is contractually acceptable for him NOT to clear the mound. I have asked mine for advice but they are useless and not answering. This is the only thing that is holding us up from exchanging. Is the seller truly contractually in the clear over this? Surely you can't expect a buyer to inherit your tenants' years of rubbish????
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

Can you kindly clarify to what extent does the mound consist of rubbish and to what extent soil - if you had to guess what proportion of each comprises the mound?

Customer:

Hi, the area covered is about 20x10 ft, so quite large. It is hard to know how much is soil and how much is rubbish without digging it up - I would say probably 60% soil, 40% rubbish

Customer:

most of the rubbish is *in* the mound, not on its surface - only bits would be sticking out

Joshua :

Thanks. Because the "feature" for want of a better word is not just a pile of rubbish but is principally from what you say comprised of soil albeit with a lot of rubbish compacted down, this would not fall for a definition of rubbish within the terms of the national conveyacing protocol documents. Rubbish is not attached to the land but can be freely remove with little or no effort. From what you say this has become almost a mini landfill. He would have contractual obligation to remove the same on the basis of his agreement to remove rubbish in my view and consider his solicitors are correct.

Joshua :

However the position is clearly not acceptable and there is no obligation on you to accept the position.

Customer:

sorry the last sentence confuses me - his solicitors say he is not obliged to remove it, but if it is a mini-landfill as you very appropriately described, he should be obliged to remove it?

Joshua :

There may be a health and safety concern under the Environment Act whereby the council may service notice to remove accumulated rubbish which you would inherit if you bought the property as is. You may wish to consdier advising the seller that he must either undertake to remove the same and make good any contamination that may have been caused to the land prior to completion or alternatively you will obtain quotes for removal and reduce the purchase price accordingly on the basis he allows access between exchange and completion to provide for the work. The former would be preferable so you do not have to get involved.

Customer:

Perfect, thank you!!!

Joshua :

Regarding your last post, to be clear I do not consider he is obliged to remove the mound based on the force of his confirmation in the property information forms, however as a buyer you can require that he does remove it as a contractual condition of purchase as suggested above.

Joshua :

If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do no hesitate to let me know.

Customer:

that's exactly what I was after, thank you.

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with though please reply back to me though.

Customer:

thank you Joshua, that's the best answer I've had today.

Joshua :

Thanks - thats good to hear. Do ensure your solicitors obtain confirmation in writing from his solicitors or better still include a specific condition in the contract such as above.

Customer:

will do

Customer:

have a lovely evening, and thanks again

Joshua :

And you

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