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Michael Holly
Michael Holly, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 6826
Experience:  BA honours degree in law, over 20 years experience in litigation, contract and property matters
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I wanted to buy a new built apartment from a small local

Resolved Question:

I wanted to buy a new built apartment from a small local developer. Exchange of contract happened late June 2015.
On 11th July 2015, they agreed (verbally) to install themselves the flooring (tiles of my chosen from an external provider instead of their own choices of tiles).
On 2nd of August 2015, they gave me a quote for the installation only of the flooring (I was paying for the tiles directly). That quote was £5,300 (installation only). In comparison, their previous quote to buy and install their own tiles was only £4,300 (tiles and installation). Therefore I questioned the making of that quote. They never gave me a straight answer. Instead they said they could no longer install the tiles because of the date of completion. Note that I was never given a completion date. They never agreed either to meet or discuss this issue.
On 27th of August 2015, I received an offer to terminate the purchase immediately without condition and to refund my deposit. To protect my interest I accepted their offer on the 1st of September 2015, being the expiration date of the offer. However, instead of refunding my deposit straight away, they sent me a Termination Agreement imposing new condition to the offer. I refused to sign it. On the 27th of October 2015 (7 weeks after my acceptance of their initial offer), I eventually received my deposit back without signing the termination agreement. Has it happens, the apartment was then sold (£32,000 cheaper) to one the their directors on 29th of October 2015 (being the sale completion date).
My thinking is as follows:
- Their initial offer was cancelled by sending a subsequent Termination Agreement with new condition. This would be supported by the fact that they refunded the deposit 7 weeks after acceptance of the initial offer, while it should have been immediate.
- They instructed the sale of the apartment while still being under contract since I received back my deposit less than a week before the director paid for the property.
- They refunded my deposit while I was expecting to receive a notice of completion.I have now introduced a small claim court to receive the monies paid to them and other costs. However, the small court claim will not deal with the compensation of breaking the contract.My question is the following: After the small court claim, (successful or not), could I still issue civil case against the property developer for breaking the contract? Or should I stop the small court claim now to start a civil case to deal with the whole case as one.The solicitor's defendant has now sent me another letter with a offer of £4k for a full and final settlement. I would like to accept £4k, which will repay me all the monies they owed me but that would not compensate me for the breaking of the contract.Kind regards,
David
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Michael Holly replied 1 year ago.

Dear *****

The damages that can be claimed from breach of contract are those which " naturally flow from the breach" Whilst this sounds promising it is not as liberal as it sounds. Unlike the USA we do not have punitive damages in the UK. This means that any compensation must be tied in to a specific financial loss.

As such if you can point to specific financial loss caused by the breach that is not covered by the amount paid you can claim for it.

Having said we do not award punitive damages you can claim damages for distress and inconvenience but this award is very low usually a few hundred at most.

It may well be worth a letter of claim but I would not litigate on this.

I hope this helps, albeit in a negative way. If there are any further points please reply I will be happy to respond .

Best wishes

Michael

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