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Matt Jones
Matt Jones, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 671
Experience:  I am a qualified and practicing Solicitor with over 7 years post qualification experience
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i bought a property off plan it was supposed to be finished

Resolved Question:

i bought a property off plan it was supposed to be finished in 2010 but they did not complete it till 2012 can i get compensation?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
Matt Jones :

HI I will try and help

Matt Jones :

Was this a property for you to live in?

Customer:

yes it was a residential property for the family

Customer:

sorry i was trying to get the hang of how to get a reply to you

Customer:

hello

Matt Jones :

hi there

Matt Jones :

what was the reason for the delay?

Customer:

they never communicated any reason to me they just kept saying it wasn't ready

Matt Jones :

Thanks

Matt Jones :

Do you know if the contract you signed had any provision that specified a completion date, and then also something called a "long stop" date or similar? and also did your solicitor serve any notice on the Sellers?

Customer:

no i don't think so all i have is the initial paperwork i signed which had the expected completion date for first quarter of 2010

Customer:

The solicitor was theirs so he was probably on their side anyway i used him becaause there was an incentive

Matt Jones :

Ok thanks. One of the main principles in a new build purchase contract is that the Builders are not tied to a specific date so that they can build and not find themselves penalised if there are issues with weather, suppliers etc. and so when they are ready they can serve notice on the Buyer to complete. This has lead to problem as the builder move at their own pace and can be inconvenient to the Buyer. In recent years moves have been mode for (some of) the bigger builders to include in the contract provisions that, whilst the power is still in the hands of the builder as far as completion dates are concerned, but there are "long stop" or "anticipated completion" dates. This allows the buyer to serve notices on the builder after these date, basically giving them a short period of time to complete or face various consequences (damages, Buyer withdrawing from the contract etc) . What these consequences are vary from contract to contract so it is difficult to say without seeing this, however you probable would have been advise already about this by your Solicitor. It is unfortunate that the Solicitor was somewhat in the pocket of the builder as they would be unlikely to have altered the contract to include this if is wasn't included in the first place

Matt Jones :

I think on balance it is unlikely that you will be able to claim compensation however it may be worth revisiting your contract to see if there is anything of additional help. Your Solicitor should still assist you with this question.

Matt Jones :

I hope this helps but do ask any follow up questions

Customer:

so the fact that the anticipated completion date is first quarter of 2010 and we got it in last quarter of 2012 does not matter

Customer:

i think that in itself form s a contract

Customer:

that is 2 and a half years later

Matt Jones :

Where is this mentioned? in the contract itself, or in other correspondence?

Customer:

in the preliminary form that i used to pay the initial deposit

Customer:

in addition to this i was told that we would have access to all the facilities as there is a pool and gym and we bought a three bed flat as we are a family of six after moving in they say two of my children cannot join unless they pay extra because there is only provision for four people for a three bed flat but i did tell them that we were a family of six when we made the initial deposit and i am going to live there forever and have to pay extra for my two children which they never mentioned at the beginning

Matt Jones :

I will just deal with the completion date question for the moment and come back to the other issue shortly. It is unlikely that that would be considered a binding part of the contract, and more a statement of intent. It is states as "anticipatory" only, and so they will argue that it was a reasonable statement to make at the time with the factors available. A contract for the purchase of land is not "time dependent" unless the words "time is the essence of the contract" is used, which would not have been used in your case. You may be able, to argue that the preliminary statement was a "misrepresentation" which induced you to enter into the contract, but you would have to prove the statement was never achievable and so there was negligence which is quite difficult to bring together as a case.

Customer:

ok

Matt Jones :

As to the other issue this is a matter of evidence. I agree with you that if you were told that you were entitled to the facilities then this is what you should be entitled to, and not have to pay extra (and indeed could be a mis-rep case as I have described above). However it is all a case of what you can prove, and if all of this took place verbally this could be difficult. It may be that you have claim against your solicitor for not correctly advising you what of what you were entitled

Customer:

so do i write a letter of complaint to my solicitor in the first instance and take it from there

Customer:

and if i decided to pursue the first issue further not pursuing negligence per se but asking for compensation for the inconvenience that has arisen due to their inability to fulfil their obligations at the expected time, how would i go about making this case ? do i go to a small claims court and represent myself or do i write the company itself do i go back to my own solicitor and make a complaint and is there a time limit on making this sort of complaints?

Matt Jones :

If you feel you weren't properly advised yes. You have 6 years to bring a claim for loss against the solicitor, but a lot less time if you want to bring your complaint to the legal ombudsman so I would advise to write to them complaining that you have just found out that you are having to pay extra and asking for a copy of their complaints procedure. If they dont resolve the matter satisfactorily then take the matter up with the legal ombudsman (they have an obligation to supply you with all of the details )

Matt Jones :

on the second question, you would have to write a letter of claim. I have assumed in my advice that you have "loss". This is key to the issue. There may be a complaint or a claim, but if there is no "loss" the claim will fail. inconveinience is not enough, there has to be some financial consequence, such as overpaid rent over mortgage payment, relocation costs etc etc. You need to calculate these first. if they are less than £10,000 then the claim is in the "small claims court". If you involve a solicitor at this point you will not get your cost back so this is inadviesable. However given my comments above i would strongly suggest you get a solicitor to review your case and the contract as you may find that if you pursue court proceedings (either with or without a solcictor) if may simply be a waste of time

Matt Jones :

However you could simply write to the builder with a standard "dis-gruntled" buyer letter, saying you will take the matter to trading standards.. They may offer something as an ex-gratia payment to prevent bad publicity. This is worth a shot if nothing else

Customer:

thank you for your advice you have been very helpful and i am pleased with your service.

Customer:

have a good week

Customer:

do i do the rating now and submit?

Matt Jones :

great thanks. All the best and same to you. Yes please rate so i can be paid for my time. Goodnight

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