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wingrovebuyer, Senior Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 737
Experience:  Bachelor of Laws (Honours); PG Diploma in Law; Member of ALA; 9 years' experience
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Good Morning – I wonder if you can advise on the following. My

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Good Morning – I wonder if you can advise on the following.
My son purchased a maisonette – two storey, which sat upon a shop premises 4 years ago and used a particular firm of solicitors. He is now selling the same property. We are not experienced in the matter of leases and relied of course upon the solicitors.
He is now selling the property and the purchasers are using those solicitors. A number of queries have arisen re the lease one in particular which was never pointed out to us, namely they are saying the lease states that where there are two maisonettes in that block, which they are, if one of the occupiers need roof repairs and the other does not, the other is obliged to contribute half the expenses of the neighbour.
My questions are:
I have never heard of anything where you as an individual become responsible financially for expenses on repairs incurred by a neighbour, outside of any annual contribution of buildings insurance paid to the freeholder, which my son and his neighbour do of course make.
If this is indeed right, as this was never pointed out to my son when he purchased do we have any recourse against the solicitors?
I would add that the purchase has been ongoing since July and it is only at this last stage such matters have been raised.
Any guidance would be much appreciated.
wingrovebuyer : Hello. It you son's maisonette below the other, or adjoining it, each with their own roof space?

Adjoining it like semis. They are flat roofs so no roof space as such for the homes. The roof itself sits above both properties without a divide but our side has been maintained and the neighbours is OK but not quite as good.

wingrovebuyer : Ok, thanks. This is slightly unusual, but if it isthe lease says then that could be enforceable if the neighbour knows about it. The solicitor should have told your son about all possible liabilities affecting the flat, when he bought it. This is a pretty major liability, because he might be forced to pay out through no fault of his own. I suspect the intention was that the roof would be jointly maintained and replaced from time to time, but it seems one owner took it upon themselves to maintain their side themselves, and the other didn't bother. I think you may be able to claim negligence against the solicitor, but you'd have to be certain he didn't point out this potential liability to your son four years ago. In addition, to make a claim, he needs to have suffered a loss. I am not sure what loss you could claim, because at present there is no financial loss suffered. I suggest you contact the solicitor and say that they didn't point this out, and it has now come out in the wash and you want to know why this was no made clear four years ago. Doing this puts the ball back n their court, and the onus on them to suggest a resolution. Best, WB

Thank you very clear. Can I just ask would a potential loss be the costs involved in a loss of sale as the buyer may well pull out and our legal costs thus far as quite high already plus once we sort it out there will be costs of obtaining a new mortgage. Secondly could we expect say an indemnity insurance in favour of the purchasers paid by the original solicitors to protect them for a period of time.

wingrovebuyer : Possibly, yes. You'd have to demonstrate that the losses were reasonably attributable and foreseeable due to the apparent negligence / oversight. As I say, try speaking with the old solicitors first, to see what they say about this. They caused the problem, so they ought to be given a chance to suggest how to resolve it.vbest, ***** ***** don't forget to leave a rating!
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