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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 12195
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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We sold a property (byre) to mr & mrs h in 2001. We own a hotel

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We sold a property (byre) to mr & mrs h in 2001. We own a hotel which is adjacent to byre, when we developed byre it was part of the hotel land and we had shared water supply. One of the conditions of sale was for mr & mrs h to arrange and pay for connection to mains water supply. Until such time a verbal agreement was arranged for mr & mrs h to pay us (hotel) £20 per month. Our supply is metered and pays commercial rates - more expensive than domestic rates.
Nothing happened, and in 2005 at request of mr & mrs h we installed (at our expense) a dedicated water meter for byre to measure water usage. mr and mrs h said they did not have funds to connect, no payments of £20 per month were ever received since 2001.
We didn't pursue this for whatever reason, in 2011 mr & mrs h moved away and rented property, they did not tell new tenants that supply was shared from hotel. In 2014 our water bill was over £10k, we reviewed water usage in hotel, there was a leak, but also we told tenants of byre that shared supply existed. We told mr & mrs h that private supply needed to be organised, plus arrears to be paid. All amicable at this time, mr & mrs h found that they had been paying domestic water rates since 2008 and contacted local council for refund. This took a long time and I contacted council to verify shared supply, mr and mrs h were upset that I had contacted council and referred the matter to their solicitor. We had a letter from them in July stating that the refund of £1400 from council would not be paid to us unless we agreed to write off rest of monies owed (approx. £2000). Very aggressive letter, we were friends with mr and mrs h until solicitors letter. We do not want to cut off supply to byre as tenants are young family with a toddler. Also new tenants are paying us £30 per month for water usage, however no effort has been made to connect byre supply to mains. If we accept council refund of £1400 would we be accepting terms that their solicitor has set out in letter?
Thank you for your question.
Was the obligation on Mr and Mrs H to connect to the public supply embodied in the title deed you signed in their favour?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

not sure, how do we find this out?

It would normally be put into the title deed that you granted to them at the time of the sale.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

we have contacted the solicitor who completed the sale for us and they are looking into it, if this was detailed in the title deeds, where does this leave us?

It means that they would be in breach of the title conditions and that would give you leverage in dealing with them. In answer to your original question, were you to accept the £1400 on offer that would mean that you could not claim any further monies from them.
As a general observation, and based on a case I dealt with personally for a client, recently, the solution was to have (in this case) the byre separately metered so that one reading could be taken from the other, ie, the hotel less the byre so that the hotel consumption was accurate. The byre would just continue to pay domestic water rates as before.
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