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Matt Jones
Matt Jones, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 671
Experience:  I am a qualified and practising Solicitor with over 7 years post qualification experience
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I want to buy my housing association home & received a "formal

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I want to buy my housing association home & received a "formal sale offer" from them together with their surveyors valuation report. In the valuation report it specified the front, rear and side garden. Since sending my acceptance the housing association have said that the side garden is not included. I asked them on numerous occasions before they sent the offer to verify the side garden and they have had 4 weeks since sending the offer, but they have waited until about an hour after receiving my acceptance to tell me we can't buy it and they're arranging for their surveyor to alter the paperwork. We have paid out for a mortgage valuation and conveyancer. Where do I stand because I agreed to buying the side garden with the house?

Matt Jones :

Hi I will try and help

Customer: Thank you
Matt Jones :

was the "offer" you received including the side garden a "section 125 offer"

Matt Jones :

does it say that on the notice?

Customer: I'll just have a look
Customer: I can't see that
Matt Jones :

does it say something like "offer notice - housing Act 1985 - s.125"

Customer: It says
Customer: social homebuy - formal sale offer
Customer: It's from moat
Customer: It definitely doesn't say any of what you asked
Matt Jones :

ok thanks

Matt Jones :

just one second please

Customer: Ok
Matt Jones :

sorry about that

Customer: Ok
Matt Jones :

if the offer is just an offer to seller then your acceptance of it is probably not a binding agreement. Generally acceptance of a pre-offer (i.e. in the same way as if you made an offer on a markets property though an estate agents) if not binding until you have formally exchanged contracts of sale.

Matt Jones :

if the notice is a s125 notice (which it probably is even though it doesn't say it) is a bit of a grey area

Customer: So, if I decide not to proceed because they won't include the side garden, have I just lost the money I have paid out?
Matt Jones :

there is a case of Nessa v London Borough of Tower Hamlets in whcih the court of appeal didn't really address fully the question of whether s125 notice, once accepted, could be amended and so left the situation open

Matt Jones :

so it is probably worth arguing with the HA that they made the offer to include the side garden, and you accepted this, and so they must proceed with it

Customer: is that likely to get me anywhere realistically?
Matt Jones :

I am not sure, it really depends on how much you are willing to fight it and what the side garden is worth to you. As I say the Court of appeal has not really decided the issue so you could take it all the way to the Supreme court! Of course the first thing is to write to the Council saying that you accepted the s125 notice and so they are bound by it. See what their reaction is. Out of interest, although the side garden is not included in this second notice, will you still have the use of it as if it were yours?

Matt Jones :

is anyone else likely to have the benefit and use of it?

Customer: Well it's an end terrace which has a front parking space then from the side of that space there is grass down to four or five other spaces which face the side fence. The first space is mine so the grass goes right up to the house between my two parking spaces. There is no benefit to anyone else, but anyone could use it solely for the purpose of annoying us, ie dog fouling, ball games on our wall etc. two surveyors (theirs & mortgage lenders) considered it to be side garden to the house.
Matt Jones :

I see so it is defiantly in your interests to get it tied into the house so you can block it off

Matt Jones :

has the house value gone down because of the new notice?

Customer: Yes, I also informed them that their surveyor had included it and so they had plenty of time to amend it before I accepted the offer.
Matt Jones :

back in a sec - please carry on

Customer: they say that it may go down, but they've instructed the survey to amend that so currently don't know how much by. We really want the garden not the reduction.
Customer: But we are not really in a position to take on an expensive legal battle
Matt Jones :

Hi back again. Well the price should, in my view, go down.

Matt Jones :

you may be able to find a local "no win no fee" solicitor who will take the case on should the HA continue to be stubborn. It is worth ringing around.

Customer: Do I have any redress regarding the fact that I alerted them to the surveyors inclusion and they did nothing until after receiving my acceptance?
Matt Jones :

I think this is certainly a big point in your favour. This would be a major part of the claim against the HA.

Customer: Ok, thank you very much for all of your time.
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