Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Sands of Time

Wow, has it really been so long since I posted anything?

Something of a testament to how busy I've been, how frustrated and angry I've been. Earlier in the year I started house-hunting. Stressful at the best of times but trying to fit it in around other commitments, I was wondering whether I'd chosen the right moment to go down this path, especially since I had a small window in which to ensure completion, should I find something, and move.

Unfortunately people are particularly unscrupulous at the best of times, never mind when they're trying to flog you their house. What's prompted my writing today is that the property I had to pull out of buying has just gone under offer. Oh I hope the buyers have a solicitor who's on the ball.

When I had viewed this property I was talking to the vendor about future plans for loft conversions and renovations, and through price negotiations, things like the rotting sash windows were used as leverage to try to reduce the price. The vendor maintained that there was nothing wrong with the windows (or the roof or the guttering) and was reluctant to bring the price down.

Anyway, long story short, a price agreed, my solicitor receives a single piece of paper which states that the freehold is owned by Newcastle Council.

The vendors do not in fact even own the roof, the roof space or the guttering, or even the windows. The council does. And all the money they're asking for the property is essentially for renting the empty space between the walls.

Nice of them to mention that. This piece of paper didn't even go into specifics - I had to ring the council direct for that and was told a special pack should have accompanied their solicitor's paperwork - it hadn't.

So I pulled out, what else could I do? The survey I'd had done which confirmed issues like the roof had been rendered useless as the vendor wasn't in a position to carry out any repair works - all repair work was down to the council, and the surveyor intimated that the situation with the lease/freehold had made the flat practically worthless.

Unfortunately the law of caveat emptor, means the law is somewhat on their side (how can that be), and now the next lot of poor unsuspecting buyers will have to negotiate their way around this nasty situation.