How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask F E Smith Your Own Question
F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10512
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
Type Your Law Question Here...
F E Smith is online now

I have put in an offer on a house which has been repossessed

This answer was rated:

I have put in an offer on a house which has been repossessed and is up for sale. Our offer is being considered as we speak in light of another previous offer which apparently was all due to go through this week.
The property in question had a double garage with it's own deed. The double garage is in a parking block behind the house and is land locked (hence the different deed I expect). The original home owners are named on the deeds of the house and of the garage. On the garage deeds it says 'associated garage of X house' but under lender it says 'none' (unlike with the house where it shows the bank).
I sent the deeds to a solicitor I am hoping to employ if our offer is accepted. She contacted me to say that although their is no lender shown on the garage deeds, the original transfer documents/deeds would likely show the house and garage as part and parcel, and therefore they have a duty to transfer the garage to us also. She said the bank probably had the right to repossess it.
The estate agent is just getting defensive and saying that it doesn't come with a garage, and they have followed it up before and been told 'no garage' by the repo ppl. The solicitor I asked earlier said that if we don't get the garage now, we are unlikely to get it. The owners would be very difficult to chase.
I am confused now and worried because I don't want to loose out on the house BUT, if the garage should come with it (and I suspect the poor repossessed original owners consider that their garage got repossessed at the same time), then legally how can we most easily get that garage?
The estate agent can't give us any details, and seems to be favouring the other sale because they are not questioning the garage issue. But surely if the garage should go with the house, then the solicitors will need to sort it out before a sale goes through. Can it be followed up after the sale of the house?
I am worried we will loose the house because the repo people won't want the hassle of dealing with a mistake they likely made when repossessing the house (the house has been vacant for 2 years apparently). If the garage still belongs to the original owners then I would like to contact them and make them an offer on it. BUT the solicitor seemed to suggest that it should be sold along with the house. What can we do? Until an offer is accepted we can't see that paperwork or know who the repo ppl are, and even then, can they change their mind on the sale if they are challenged on the ownership of the garage. I made it clear on the phone that our offer was not conditional on the garage but that we still would need to know the legal status of the garage or who owns it. I have the deeds here and can send them over.
I just feel frustrated and helpless that this is clearly a legal matter and all these non legal ppl are saying 'no' when they probably are just trying to cover their own mistakes and sweep the whole matter under the carpet. What are our chances of being able to claim the garage as ours? Perhaps we could 'take possession' but I want everything to be done to the letter of the law.
How would we proceed if we bought the house? Can we take the matter to court (and what is this likely to cost?) Can a judge just rule that the garage is ours? If we found the original owners do they still have any right to it? Is this something that will be easily clarified and sorted between solicitors in the conveyancing etc.? Could the garage be signed over really fast after a few conversations between the solicitors or is this going to be an absolutely hopeless case of a disused garage? We are hoping to rent the property in the future so we'd rather have the issue solved quickly.
The transfer deeds and conveyancing deeds can be bought online for 60GBP. Will there be something in there that would tell us what our rights are?
If we knew we could get the garages we would be prepared to offer more money for the house. But I want to know what the various courses of action are.
I really appreciate your help. Thank you. ***** have chosen the cheaper service, I want the expensive one, but I'm worried my husband will be angry with me.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have just heard from a different agent (who used to let the property out for the former owners), that she has been able to email the owners and ask them who owns the garages. I'm not sure if she has passed on our interest to buy it from them yet and I don't know it they have the rights to it or whether the rights are the banks/repo ppl's but I am happy that I know that they are abroad and someone may have a way of finding them. I don't know if this changes any course of action?

If the garage is on a separate title and there is no mortgage on the garage, then there is no mortgage on the garage. In which case the situation is that whilst the house may be sold by the mortgagee in possession, the garage is still owned by the borrower.

It may be an error of the solicitor when the borrower brought the property if the solicitor failed to register the lenders charge at some stage when the property was bought.

The way of dealing this is to ask the lender to confirm they have no interest in the garage. Then, you buy the garage from the repossessed borrower and you buy the house from the lender but, and this is the important part, both of the contracts are conditional on each other. Hence, you don’t buy the garage unless the borrower sells the house and you don’t buy the house unless the borrower sells the garage.

I would get your solicitor to write to the mortgagee in possession (details will be on the title deed of the house) and also send a copy of the garage plan title and asked the lender to confirm that they have no interest in the garage. It’s as simple as that. Then you proceed as I mentioned earlier. It’s messy, but not insurmountable. It won’t take a lot of effort to sort this.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Please rate the service positive. It is an important part of the process by which experts get paid. It does not cost you anything but helps us greatly.

Best wishes.


F E Smith and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. I will rate you very highly, but I have a few followup questions...If we would still buy the house without the garage, are we safe to proceed and then later to approach the garage owners or do the bank have a right over the garage that they haven't exercised?Why do we need to ask the lenders if they have no interest in the garage? What are the risks to us?The repossession is being handled by a company that is not the bank, so we have the bank details on the deeds but not anything useful. We are relying on this reluctant estate agent until we hear that our offer is accepted.I am very loath to rock the boat because the other party are/were so close to completion and they are 'happy with the garage situation'.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I asked the estate agent to confirm who owns the garage and she came back to me with 'I've spoken to the repo company and they say the house is being sold without the garage'. So not specifically what I had wanted to know. I don't want to try her patience!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Agh, by 'no interest in' do you mean 'no ownership over'?

I apologise for the delay in replying. This didn’t flag up as waiting for my attention.

If you buy the house without the garage, there is a risk that the lender has no interest in it and the existing owner registered keeper would then hold you to ransom by asking an extortionate price if they thought it was important to you.

Either the lenders have an interest in the property or they don’t. The risk to you is if you don’t ask them, rather than if you do.

The lenders may have a mortgage deed over the garage which due to an error by a solicitor simply hasn’t been registered. Although you would buy free of mortgage, because the charge is not enforceable because it is not discoverable on any reasonable search, the last thing you want is the argument.

A solicitor would normally simply write to the bank quoting the property number.

If the agent is specifically saying “no garage” just make sure you have it in writing because then, if there is an issue and you haven’t raised it with the lender, at least you can go for the estate agent.