The damp expert's report pinpointed 2 small areas that needed work and we paid for that work to be done and the guarantee was passed to the buyer. They were happy with this at the time.
There was no warranty for the property. We had the conversion signed off by the building control inspector and this certificate was shared with the buyer. The builder wrote that he would rectify snagging within a fixed period of completion, but this period has expired and in any case the builder has closed his business, and on discussing it with him, he would not term rectifying problems with new work that was not part of the original specification "snagging".
No-one from the architect to the building inspector to the buyer's surveyor suggested the necessity of tanking the room that is now seriously affected.
Please let me know if any further info would help clarify the situation.
Just to be clear - the areas pinpointed in the report and the work done to rectify those issues was not in the room now seriously affected. Completely separate problem.
Thank for this. It's what I believed, but wanted to be sure. It seems their solicitor believes they have a case but I'm not sure what it's based on exactly. Is it possible the builder's letter of guarantee could be held up as a warrantee? If so, can we be held liable if he fails to deliver on it, as it was provided by us as part of the paperwork accompanying the sale?
They may be able to rely on the Builder's letter of guarantee, depending on what items were covered in the letter. This would be seen as some form of warranty. If you could let me know what the letter said I can expand.
Just to check, is this private or visible on the website?
Fellow experts can read any posts made by customers.
The general public can access completed Answers if they were to Google and happened to come across this post.
If you feel it is not wise to divulge all the information contained in the letter, I can try and expand a bit now-
If your Builder's letter states that the property has been built in accordance with Building Regulations and any planning permission, you have nothing to worry about.
If and only if it specifically mentions that the property is free of damp or some sort of warranty is given concerning damp, then of course the Buyer could rely on this statement.
Not sure if this helps.
Thank you. It doesn't specifically mention damp or any guarantee as to compliance with any standard, building regs or otherwise. The main part they may look to rely on is the builder's line: "I will give a full guarantee that up to 1 month after the sale of the properties there will be an honourable correction of any faults to workmanship or defective materials".
But at no point in the conveyancing was there any mention of tanking or damp proofing so if it wasn't part of the original specification and therefore hasn't been done but has been signed off, it can't be sign to be defective workmanship or materials, right?
The letter is from his company in any case, not from us as individuals.
You are correct- as the Builder is only guaranteeing the work he has actually carried out, as opposed to an unknown defect, the Sellers can't rely on his statement.
I hope this helps.
It does help a lot thank you.
Silly question perhaps, but is this fairly black and white in terms of how it would be perceived by any legal professional or is there an element of grey? e.g. sympathy for the buyer's situation, the fact I have ongoing involvement as freeholder of the block, "dodgy developers" taking advantage of first time buyers, etc etc?
(For the record, if we'd known there was damp it would have been a small job at the time to sort it!)
It is harsh on a Buyer, but it comes down to the old chestnut- "Let the Buyer beware" caveat emptor principle, and the Buyers Solicitors will be telling their clients as much.
It is therefore black and white.
That's very reassuring to hear. Thank you for your help.
All the best.
I have a follow up question. Contrary to what they told me initially, the managing agent now says the service charge can't be used to repair faulty workmanship. This leaves the options of me paying for the work as a good will gesture or nobody paying for the work as the new owner will refuse. Is the agent right?
Thanks for getting back in touch.
To enable me to answer your new question, I will need you to post it as a new Question, if that is ok.
ok, does that mean I have to pay again?
Yes it does I'm afraid.