10:59 AM, 15th January 2021, About 11 months ago 4
I am selling up and last year I sold a flat and made the leasehold a shared freehold. The buyer had a survey done in March, and it showed up some works to be completed. He never told me of this survey nor its contents.
The property completed in May. In November, during discussions with him over the renewal for the building Insurance, (which I had not charged him for since his purchase) he brought up the defects from his survey. Mainly the roof repairs. He offered to pay for these if I allowed him to put Velux windows in the roof. I agreed.
However, I did ask as to why he had knowingly bought the flat in the full knowledge of these repairs being required. He then changed his mind and said I had to pay for 50% of the cost of the repairs as per the shared freehold agreement. He had already had quotes. 3 of them and was keen to go with one company. He gave me 10 days to get my quotes but said I could not use anyone I knew as (his words) ” I would bung them a ton and split the difference of a higher cost for the job”.
OK I agreed but then in less than 24 hours, he said it was taking too long and the roof was dangerous (suddenly it was dangerous to his girlfriend and him after living there 6 months!! Ignore the danger to my tenants as I was unaware of this for the last 25 years!!) and he had made an executive decision to use his favoured company. He also contacted the Council Building Control, and they confirmed chimney work was required in the roof to support the chimneys. Actually, I got them out that evening. He posted notices on his door. I was trying to sell the lower flat. I still am.
To cut to the chase he got the work done. He wanted paying. I said I would subject to Council Building Control signing of the work and proof he had paid them. He jumped the gun and went for a Small Claims action before the Council signed off the work. The council now have. There are other issues (all acrimonious and not related) but all not related to the main question for which I would value some advice.
Is it legal or reasonable for a person to buy a property in the full knowledge that they are buying it with known defects?
Defects not known to the seller. Then 6 months later, claim these defects are life-threatening, get the work done, and then expect the shared freeholder to pay 50% for the repairs? Is there a property case law? Is there a consumer law precedent?
I do not understand why he did not ask for the work to be done before completion? Nor why he bought the flat with some serious known defects. I have no problem accepting my responsibility to pay 50% of repairs in the future but these were known only to him before completion?
My gut reaction is that I should not be liable as he has knowingly accepted the defects therefore he is fully liable as I was not informed before the sale. Any comments?
Meanwhile, I am still selling the flat downstairs so it’s not in my best interest to ‘rock the boat’ too much. He has informed my selling agent that there are debts on the flat and the buyer needs to be made aware.
This was even before work commenced – as he wanted to buy the flat but and had put in a very low offer – which I have refused.
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