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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I purchased a parcel off land in 2003 after the sale had gone

Customer Question

I purchased a parcel off land in 2003 after the sale had gone through i discovered that due to a land registery error i didnt actually own most of it,my title for which was amended in 2010. Out of the small portion of land which remains at least a third of it lies underneath a building and driveway which was erected atleast 15 years ago,I have spoken to the owner and he denies all knowledge to it although he did try to obtain a adverse possesion order on it just before the sale transfer went through. What can i do? Am I entitled to any form of compensation? can I charge him ground rent ?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property 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 :

May I ask did you use a solicitor as part of the purchase please?

Joshua :

Was there a contract for the purchase or did you proceed just with a transfer?

Customer:

Yes a solicitor was used. could you clarify what you mean by a contract

Joshua :

Thank you. When buying a house or land you would typically enter into a contract which is exchanged and then a transfer - the latter on completion.

Joshua :

For smaller purchases people will sometime dispense with the contract and just execute a transfer but this would normally only be for smaller purchases. Do you know if a contract was agreed?

Customer:

Yes a contract was agreed

Joshua :

Thanks. Was a plan agreed between you as to the extent of land to be transferred?

Customer:

Yes,we believed{due to the fact we had the deeds to the entire piece of land} that we owned the lot

Joshua :

Thanks. So was a plan agreed and attached to the contract or did the contract just provide that one or more title numbers would be transferred?

Customer:

the whole piece of land was on one title number

Joshua :

Thanks. Finally what was the mistake the land registry made please which means that you do not own what you thought?

Customer:

the land registry had mistakenly put two parcels of land together

Joshua :

Thanks. Did you believe you were purchasing both parcels but now find there is only one?

Customer:

no there was only one at the time of purchase, but what i was not aware of was that there had been a long running dispute over who owned what,and when it eventually got to court it turned out that i only owned a small portion at the top of the plot which was due to an error on the deeds,

Joshua :

Thanks. Do you know if your solicitor raised any enquiries in respect of the land you were buying. In particular standard disclosure requirements would include an enquiry as to whether the property was subject to any dispute of any kind? If this was asked do you know the sellers response?

Customer:

the solicitor never mentioned any of this on completion of the sale,although I did pay for searches

Joshua :

Thank you.

Joshua :

Your solicitor should have made reasonable enquiries in respect of the land you were purchasing if he was instructed to act for you on the sale. In addition the contract should have provided for full title guarantee which means that the seller must transfer good title to the property he is selling.

Joshua :

Providing your solicitor did ensure full title guarantee and better still did make an enquiry in respect of any disputes regarding the land then from what you say you would have a claim against the seller for breach of contract and misrepresentation respectively and if he has failed to transfer what was agreed could either demand damages for the loss of area of land or a rescission of the contract and a full refund and return the land that is left to him.

Joshua :

The first place to start is with your solicitor to make the above enquiries. Whilst he is not liable to represent you in any litigation he must advise you and furnish you with contractual information. If the solicitor has failed to ensure the above which would be surprising, he may be liable to you for negligence.

Joshua :

If this is the case then you will have a cause for complaint initially to the firm and if not satisifeid to the Legal Ombudsman who can award compensation if appropriate.

Joshua :

If your solicitor has conducted himself properly which would be my expectation then he will be able to supply you with the above representation and contract evidence to show that the seller is in breach of contract as above. From there you would need to consider instructing a litigation solicitor to issued a claim against the seller for the above remedy of your choice - damages for the loss of land or rescission of contract and a full refund. You should have a claim available for costs in these circumstances.

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?

Customer:

The lady i purchased the land off was in her 90's and in poor health unsure if she is still alive,but to go back to my initial questions,is there anything i can do relating to the man who has built on what land i do own

Joshua :

If the lady has passed away then you would have a potential claim against her estate. However you would need to act quickly as you are potentially running out of time to make a claim under the Limitation Act.

Joshua :

Was the building work erected 15 years ago or is this more recent work please?

Customer:

unsure of exact date but at least 15 years ago

Joshua :

Thanks. May I ask why you have not taken action before now?

Customer:

It was in the hands of my solicitor,and i thought he was dealing with it,he has since left his job for another position,and i recieved all the paperwork relating to this case in approximatley june/july last year and since reading through it,i have decided to try and take some sort of action over these matters,i have had dealings with a local solicitor,she seemed to think after reading some of the paperwork that my original solicitor looked to be at fault but she was not prepared to take on the case

Joshua :

Thank you. I am concerned about the amount of time that has gone by and the extent to which this might prejudice your claim however notwithstanding this in principle you have a potential claim of trespass against the neighbour who has built on your land and be able to claim damages for the loss of your land based on market value of the same. Typically such a claim would need to be brought within 6 years though.

Joshua :

Alternatively or in addition you may have a claim against your solicitor for negligence. Again you should make such a claim within 6 years but if you did not discover the negligence until later you have a further 3 years to make a claim from the point you discovered it subject to an overall limit of 15 years under the Latent Damages Act.

Joshua :

If you wished to pursue a claim for negligence against your solicitors firm the first step is to make a complaint and if not satisifeid with their reponse refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:

Joshua :

http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/aboutus/complaints_procedure.html

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help with any further?

Joshua :

Are you happy with the information I have provided to you above or is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?

Customer:

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX made things a little clearer for me,and have given me a direction in which to proceed.Could you recomend a company who would be prepared to take this case on?

Joshua :

Which large town or city do you live near please?

Customer:

Wrexham, the only thing is the man who has built on the land has dealings with all the good solicitors and when i have approached them have been turned down

Joshua :

Alternatively you should not need a solicitor to pursue a complaint against your old solicitor through the legal Ombudsman. This process is designed to be used by the public without representation.

Joshua :

I am glad the above was of some assistance. If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do no hesitate to let me know.

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 very much for the help and advice you have given

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