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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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An auctioneer from whom I am thinking of buying a property

Resolved Question:

An auctioneer from whom I am thinking of buying a property has in general conditions " that the property is bought in the existing state of repair, and the buyer is deemed to purchase with full knowledge" and yet the auctioneer refuses to organise viewings , despite the AST providing for the tenant accepting such viewings (so they have the power to organise such) saying verbally it is to be bought as a blind investment . Does that strike you as an unfair contract? For example, if it becomes apparent there is serious structural problems, noticeable only from inside not out, and they could have or should have known, but prevent you from finding out?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year ago.
Joshua :

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

Joshua :

Has the auctioneer given a reason for refusing to allow a viewing - is it because the tenant refuses access please?

Customer:

No - it is because the auction is in the south of england, and a handful (only) of the properties are in the north

Customer:

I cannot see why they have to be involved other than contact with tenant, but they will not

Joshua :

Thanks. Auctions are difficult forums in which to buy property. They are becoming increasingly popular as a way of disposing of "difficult" properties or properties in need of modernisation but there is very little in the way of protection for a buyer as consumer protection legislation that applies to most types of consumer contracts do not apply to land and property contracts.

Customer:

I understand. For all that - asking you to agree to "knowing the condition" when they are instrumental in preventing you from knowing it , sounds like an unfair contract to me!

Joshua :

the position at auction is that precisely as you understand it, you purchased the property in the condition that property is at the time the hammer comes down, warts and all. there is an obligation on the buyer to fully satisfy himself of the condition of the property before he purchases it. Refusal to allow inspection would not remove that obligation. It is therefore very important to be able to conduct a full inspection before bidding and ideally a further inspection immediately before the auction to check the condition of the property at that time.

Customer:

But no comeback if it turns out that the fault could not have been known without entry, and they as agents of the present owner are actively preventing that? It is highly unlikely I would challenge, only if there was a massive and obvious problem that implies "intent" on their part in trying to prevent me knowing about it.

Joshua :

an auctioneer's refusal to allow a viewing would be a concern because you simply have little idea what you are purchasing. There is law that requires an auction property to be made available for viewing but refusing to allow viewings would typically hamper bids and prices achieved at auction because a savvy property investor will at best factor in what could be likely worst case scenarios such as damp, structural issues and so on.

Joshua :

It is therefore unusual though by no means unprecedented to refuse to allow viewings if no other reason than it will usually limit the potential price the property is likely to achieve at auction

Joshua :

However, to be clear, whether viewing is allowed or not, auction standard conditions provide that you purchase the property with full knowledge of its condition (even if this has not been possible to obtain) and all one can do as a buyer in the circumstances is either decide not to bid or factor in issues that may exist at the property into your maximum bid so you are insulated against "nasties" you may find

Customer:

Joshua. Good you sound to me like a man who knows his stuff. What I really wanted was to send someone documents comprising - the original ground lease, AST for the tenant, sale conditions - on two properties. And tell me - first - is everything standard or does anything look odd, and then answer some questions for me. For a price of course. But I dont know any solicitors, and the few I have used did not impress me! Is it something you can do?

Joshua :

As you say there is no comeback after the auction for issues even if you could not discover them. This is unfair but it is not unlawful which is unfortunatley the key. In general terms, the only way you can typically make claims following an auction purchase is if you can point to clear misrepresentation on the part of the seller ot by the auctioneer. there is nothing stopping you asking questions of the seller through his solicitor in respect of any questions you have regarding the property and you are entitled to rely on the replies of his solicitor and on any information given in writing by the auctioneer.

Customer:

Not about the properties themselves, just the legal documents. The kind of question I have is (on a flat in a block) - "so who pays if the common area between the flats needs ms maintenace? Can you do that?

Joshua :

I am happy to look at documents for you. Depending on the number of documents you would like me to look at it can take some time. I am happy to work out a likely cost for doing this if you would like.

Joshua :

For looking at the title and lease and AST for one property is likely to take 45 mins and then another 15 mins or so to answer your question and highlighting any other "issues". I would suggest this is likely to cost around £120 in terms of time if that is acceptable.

Customer:

Joshua I am happy to payfor this discussion - are you allowed to give me your details for the follow up??

Joshua :

You can return to this thread at any time from your customer account page or a link in your email. I can provide my email address should you wish to go further with the above - this is treated by the site as an "additional service" for which there is a fee as agreed between us as above. The site prevents posting any email contact information outsie of an additional service. Therefore the best approach is if you would like to take the matter forward just return to this thread when you are ready and let me know and we can go on from there if that sounds ok

Joshua :

You can also ask for me at any time using the following link:
http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-joshua/

Customer:

Not really. I need someone I can contact in the ordinary ways.. I am happy to pay "just answer" for their establishihgn this contact, but it wont work as an ongoing relationship. My email is***@******.***. Don't know if you are allowed to email me. Don't do it if you feel uncomfortable.

Joshua :

We can communicate by email in the future - it is just that payment for any services provided by email - e.g. looking at documents and so on has to go through this site under the terms of my agreement with the site.

Customer:

Thing is, if I go a ahead I also need a couple of rapid conveyances done within 4 weeks . I cannot imagine that is possible just through this site without knowing details both ways. So thanks for your help - cant see how it works long term.

Joshua :

For conveyances you would need to retain a solicitor formally - I am limited in providing you with information as this site is not regulated to provide formal solicitor client relationship unfortunately - hence the lower cost compared to instructing a solicitor formally which would be much higher than fees through this site.

Joshua :

If I can help with information relating to your auction document packs I would be very happy to do so, but I am not permitted to form a formal client solicitor relationship or obtain referrals to do so though this site I regret.

Joshua :

If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do not hesitate to revert to me

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 please reply back to me though

Customer:

Thanks joshua. Hadnt realised the limitations. I will think on it. Happy to givei you an A rating for this.

Joshua :

Many thanks. Good luck with your auction if you decide to plump for any properties

Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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