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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71057
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have recently purchased a property (25th Nov), on the 23rd

Customer Question

I have recently purchased a property (25th Nov), on the 23rd Dec it flooded and has been inhabitable since. In the legal pack the previous owner ticked a box to state the property had never flooded. We have claimed on our insurance for the substantial flood damage, but they have halted the claim as they have uncovered that the previous owner claimed for flood damage in 2012. This was not disclosed to us. The insurance company are now investigating us for making a fraudulent claim! Would we have a claim against the previous owner and what is the best way to proceed?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

What would you like to achieve here?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Good question!! I would like to know if I have a civil case against the previous owner as he lied to us, had we known about the previous flood issue, we would have never purchased the property.

Ideally I would like to get my money back, but realistically I would like some financial compensation for the stress, lies and the fact that the value of the house will be lowered considerably, plus insurance will go up

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

You probably have a claim against the previous owner for misrepresentation.

However it would really depend on the nature of the previous flood and the nature of this flood.

If the previous flood was, for example, from an overflowing bath or a leaking pipe then it is still misrepresentation, but if your recent flood is as a result of the heavy rain or the river bursting its bank or suchlike that is a different issue. In the latter case, it is one that you would have to take up with the insurer.

Whether you have a claim against the Seller or not comes down therefore to the nature of the floods and what you have lost as a result of it.

If both floods are rain related, you have a civil claim against the previous owner for whatever this is going to cost you. If the insurer will not pay out, it could be the cost of all the damage and putting it right, plus the cost of increased insurance premiums.

You are going to have to do demonstrate that had you known about this flood problem, you would not have bought the property.

It is most unlikely that the court would order the buyer to take the property back but does have the power to award any financial loss that you have incurred, against the Seller.

The hardest part for you is going to be quantifying the value of your loss and in that respec

Can I clarify anything for you?


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

We have recently found out from neighbours that the house had flooded before and over several years and the previous owner got the house cheaper due to this.

My partner and I are both in the Army so have accommodation, we were in no rush to buy but fell in love with this property. I was also pregnant at the time of purchase and would have definitely not have gone through with the purchase if I had known any history of flooding, but how can I prove that?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
In view of the fact that the property has flooded on so many occasions, I don't think it would be too difficult to convince a judge that you would not have bought the property if you had known the extent of and the frequency of the flooding.

Clearly, the Seller was fully aware of this and this has been a deliberate attempt it would seem to misrepresent the property for his own ends
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you, yes that is my feeling on it, had a terrible Christmas, suffered a miscarriage and now being accused of fraud because he blatantly lied.

Thank you for your advice, will persue it simply so he doesn't get away with it.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
No problem and all the best.

Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’.