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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 12076
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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I purchased an ex-council upper cottage flat 11 years ago and

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I purchased an ex-council upper cottage flat 11 years ago and at the time of purchase the property had a staired loft conversion which was included in the survey as a third bedroom. I am now trying to sell it and it turns out the deeds are for a two bedroom with ladder access to loft and that the loft is shared ownership with the other 3 flats which I was never told of at time of sale. I have lost two sales due to this and the previous solicitor who dealt with my purchase has admitted they are at fault. I am also now left out of pocket and with a flat I cannot sell for what it's worth but I feel my purchase is void as the property is not as described. Where do I go from here and what can I expect? The property is in scotland
Thank you for your question. I am a solicitor in Scotland.
This type of situation is not uncommon. A previous owner requisitions the loft space for himself without getting the neighbour's to convey their interest over. The lawyers then don't notice and the flat changes hands until someone does. Be under no illusion, however, you have no claim against the person you bought the property from so your purchase is not "void". Your lawyer should have examined the title and realised that the roofspace was in common ownership.
You need to instruct a new property solicitor to sort this out and your original solicitors will have to pay the costs up to the limit of their PI excess. The insurers will pay anything over and above that.
I see two options:
1. You reinstate the property to a two bedroom with ladder access to a shared loft. A surveyor would have to calculate the loss of value and this, along with convention costs would form part of your claim.
2. You approach the three neighbour's and ask them to convey their interest to you so that you can sell the flat as is. You will have to pay their legal costs and they may ask for a price in addition. Those costs and purchase price will form part of your claim.
As you are under a duty to minimise your loss, your new solicitor will have to investigate both avenues and you should follow the option which costs the least.
I hope this helps. Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
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