Building plan has been changed after exchange without my agreement!

by Readers Question

8:41 AM, 17th May 2016
About 2 years ago

Building plan has been changed after exchange without my agreement!

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Building plan has been changed after exchange without my agreement!

I Bought/Reserved a 30th floor flat from a developer in summer 2013 and was told that my flat is the highest floor with a balcony. That means I will have an open sky balcony. This is definitely a great feature with significant added value to the flat.plans

Now as the building approaches the completion, I went to the site and noticed there are actually balconies installed to the floors above. I checked with the developer and was told they modified the building plan after my reservation/exchange. They didn’t specify exactly when. Neither myself nor my solicitor was notified of this change. As a result, the supposed premium open sky balcony has been turned into a normal covered balcony.

Definitely a significant change from my perspective and the property now is not what was sold to me and not what I expected.

To me, this is totally a sales and marketing trick they are playing and it is very unfair.

The Developer claims they are within their rights making this kind of modification.

Can they do this?

Kevin



Comments

Neil Patterson

8:46 AM, 17th May 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Kevin,

If that is what I wanted and it was changed after completion I would be hopping mad and looking to get out of the deal at no cost if I could on a matter of principle.

Does your solicitor know if there is any kind of breach of contract here?

If not our team at Cotswold Barrister might be able to assist if your solicitor sounds unsure see Mark Smith (Barrister-At-Law) members profile >> http://www.property118.com/member/?id=1945

Ian Narbeth

10:11 AM, 17th May 2016
About 2 years ago

You need to check the contract carefully. You are likely to find that the developers excluded all liability for statements made by their sales agents, for the pretty CGI photos you saw in their brochures and for any models showing a sky balcony. As Neil says it's worth checking the legal position. You also need to decide if you want to rescind and not purchase at all or try to obtain some sort of compensation. It might also be worth talking to Trading Standards.

Kev M

11:22 AM, 18th May 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Narbeth" at "17/05/2016 - 10:11":

The developer basically said there's no impact to the property value so they are not liable to do anything for me. My conveyance solicitor is reluctant to do anything about this. He did send a letter to the developer and the letter has been ignored by the developer.

The property value has gone up over the past 3 years with the broader market anyways. So no reason to rescind the contract. In my opinion, whether there is an impact to the valuation or not, I believe this is a false advertising, misrepresentation case outside the scope of the property purchase contract. After all, I was sold a sky balcony by the developer which has now been turned into a covered one and the sunlight will no longer directly go into my property. It is a fraud and sales trick. I just don't know what my rights are in this case.

Ian Narbeth

11:47 AM, 18th May 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Kev M" at "18/05/2016 - 11:22":

Hi Kev
That is the problem. You may not be able to show a financial loss. Even if there is a breach of contract (not necessarily the case - see my previous post) it does not follow you can recover damages if you suffer no loss. You might have a claim for diminution in value if your flat would be more valuable with a "sky balcony" than it is now but that is not straightforward. You will risk expensive litigation costing tens of thousands with no guarantee of success and you won't get your sky balcony at the end of it.

Nick Pope

11:50 AM, 21st May 2016
About 2 years ago

It is likely that both the contract and the agents particulars will allow for changes to design and specification "without notice" and provided you are getting substantially what you agreed to buy (i.e. same size etc) then there is probably nothing you can do. In any event the price differential between a sky balcony (by which I assume that there would be bo balconies above) and an ordinary balcony - in valuation terms the difference is negligible so you have not lost out.


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