Is completion date agreed in writing when we exchange contracts?

by Nick Thompson

11:29 AM, 11th June 2018
About 6 months ago

Is completion date agreed in writing when we exchange contracts?

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Is completion date agreed in writing when we exchange contracts?

I am buying a property for the 1st time doing the 5% gov scheme, we exchanged contracts , however there is nothing in the contract to say about the completion date. I bought it off plan, the property is still in construction, but before we exchanged contracts the verbal agreement was the property will be finish and ready to move in between October to December this year (2018) . However after we exchanged contracts, straight away they said the property won’t be ready until February 2019.

Now my questions are:

  • Can I get the sellers company to send me in writing an agreement about the completion date and if they not finishing the property by December to take legal actions against them?
  • Is there anywhere in the exchange contracts saying that the property will be ready by a certain date or in a certain period of time?
  • Can I pull out the deal and get my deposit back if they doing this?
  • Can I add this clause to my contract after we exchanged contracts?
  • Is there anything I can do legally to get my deposit back if I changed my mind about the company and I can see they are not taking this matter serious and their attitude towards me has changed since we exchanged contracts?

Many Thanks.

Marc



Comments

Ian Narbeth

12:25 PM, 11th June 2018
About 6 months ago

Hi Marc
Are you using a solicitor to act for you. Ask him or her. If not, you probably should instruct one now.

Does the contract incorporate and or modify Standard Conditions of Sale? Most do. That may tel you when the contractual completion date is.

In property sales verbal "agreements" have no contractual force and should not be relied on unless confirmed in writing VIA SOLICITORS.

Joe Gervin

12:37 PM, 11th June 2018
About 6 months ago

Marc

Ill answer as best I can in the circumstances:

Q Can I get the sellers company to send me in writing an agreement about the completion date and if they not finishing the property by December to take legal actions against them?

ANS: please ask you solicitor or read the contract you signed. It will normally include a clause saying completion will be a certain number of days after "practical completion", i.e. once the architect / surveyor has signed it off (subject to building control / planning permissions). Usually there is some kind of "long stop date" that will put the developer under pressure to complete within reasonable timeframes. Check with the contract!

Q Is there anywhere in the exchange contracts saying that the property will be ready by a certain date or in a certain period of time?

ANS - as above, but you'll need to check the contract for long stop / practical completion definition.

Q - Can I pull out the deal and get my deposit back if they doing this?

ANS - Doing what? If they are finishing the building, this is what you have signed up to. The only way the contract would fall away if there was some major material breach by the Seller / developer.

Can I add this clause to my contract after we exchanged contracts?

ANS - no, only the other party agree to this, but highly unlikely.

Is there anything I can do legally to get my deposit back if I changed my mind about the company and I can see they are not taking this matter serious and their attitude towards me has changed since we exchanged contracts?

ANS - as above, extremely unlikely. Exchanged contracts are generally the point of no return. Hence, lawyers do all their due diligence prior to exchange, which I assume your solicitor should have done?

Joseph Gervin
Liverpool Property Solutions

Edwin Cowper

12:21 PM, 16th June 2018
About 6 months ago

Buying off plan - especially flats - is one of those things where anyone needs a good experienced lawyer. Leasehold especially is a minefield in itself. I did this work for nearly a year and almost nothing else. The number of issues that arose was incredible. Some of the new build flats I had to advise my clients not to buy. As a result of issues I raised the legal paperwork for several whole developments had to be re-written.

So I suggest you get good legal advice now - ask the person has he/she done new build leasehold off plan, and if so how many times?

Even if you are buying a part of a leasehold development second hand you need a good experienced lawyer who knows what he/she is doing. Having the right to sue a lawyer is no substitute for the lawyer getting it right


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