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Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 33977
Experience:  Barrister at Self Employed Barrister
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My daughter is buying a ground floor flat/maisonette. 10

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My daughter is buying a ground floor flat/maisonette. 10 days ago, a woman appeared on her doorstep saying she was thinking of buying the upstairs flat/maisonette, had a ‘Private Agreement’ with the owner and asked my daughter to sign an ‘Agreement for Work’ which would be undertaken.
They had a brief discussion and my daughter said she wanted the full details of the proposed work in writing and that she would only discuss it with the owner (who incidentally does not live there and it has been empty for the past year) and asked to be put in touch with him.
The list of work arrived followed by another email asking if my daughter had considered it and would she sign. This included a loft conversion and the woman would share the cost of the scaffolding with the adjacent owner who also wanted to do a loft conversion.
My daughter wrote back and said there were too many implications to make a hasty decision and she would only discuss it with the owner and wanted no further correspondence with this woman. She asked her not to write again or to visit her.
In spite of this, my daughter received another email on Friday saying that if a decision wasn’t made by 28th February, she would withdraw her offer to pay for the scaffolding. She also reaffirmed that she had a ‘Private Agreement’ with the owner of the upstairs flat/maisonette >>If you wish for xxxx to put this in writing – I am happy to ask him to do so. I will ask xxxx to write to you clarifying. <<Incidentally, we are not even sure whether they will be allowed to do a loft conversion but that is another more complex question.What I want to know is does my daughter have to reply to this latest email containing the ultimatum, having said she will only deal, with the owner and if so what should she say.

Let me see if I can help. As I understand it your daughter has not purchased the property yet and as such she should not be entering into any agreements concerning the property with neighbours. The fact is that if there are works to be done and if she is potentially liable then she should potentially renegotiate the cost of these and the purchase price with the seller. The list should be provided to her conveyancing solicitor and sent to the seller. She should not be complying with the ultimatum as she does not own the property at this time. Happy to discuss and please rate positive.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Maybe I worded my question incorrectly. My daughter has had a mortgage on the flat for 10 years. She is the "0wner".
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
By 'is buying' I meant she has a mortgage on it. You have partly answered my question though, in that my daughter should only be dealing with the owner of the flat above hers. We need to know whether she should reply to that last email and what she should say.

I see. Well I think that your daughter is perfectly correct that she would need full details of the plan (not just a list of work), confirmation of planning permission and costings (if any relate to her). Your daughter may also need a surveyors report before she makes any decisions. She should not be rushed into making any decisions unless and until she has fuller details. She should not be bullied into making any decisions.

I hope that answers your question. Please ask anything as necessary.

I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for your help so far. We are already dealing with the work side of things and the permissions, although the Third Party seems to think they do not need planning permission for a loft conversion. So far, the owner has not contacted my daughter and she has no contact details for him but has asked the Third Party twice to ask the owner to contact her.
The issue that we need help with here is contained in my original questions ( I have elaborated on them a little) which were:1. Is my daughter correct in refusing to negotiate with the Third Party, 'Private Agreement' or not?
2. IF the owner sends my daughter a written copy of this 'Private Agreement' should she still refuse to negotiate with the Third Party?
3. Having already told the Third Party that she will only deal with the owner of the flat, should my daughter reply to the Third Party's latest email containing the ultimatum.
4. If the answer to 3 is 'Yes', what should she say?

1. Yes. She is not under an obligation to negotiate if she does not want to at this time.

2. Yes. Because she needs all of the details, costings etc

3. I would only speak to the owner of the flat not a potentially buyer at this time.

4. I would simply say that you are not willing to engage in any further communications at this time as you do not own the property and as such I need to consider my position.

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Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thank you. We now have some breathing space to deal with the rest of the problem. And sorry for the confusion at the beginning - shows how careful you have to be with the wording.