Solicitor incorrectly defined lease terms?

by Readers Question

7:52 AM, 18th July 2019
About a month ago

Solicitor incorrectly defined lease terms?

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Solicitor incorrectly defined lease terms?

When buying a shared ownership property, the lease I thought I was buying into was 125 years. This was the paperwork received from the solicitor. The property was purchased in 2008. 11 years down the line and having recently decided to sell the property it now appears the housing association are saying there is only 88 years on the lease and it was 99 not 125 which was issued by the solicitor to me.

Now this is causing issues with the potential buyer and finding information as to whether this constitutes a defective lease or not? Also I was purchasing in good faith a property with 125 years, which has resulted in now being reduced to 88 which was as no fault of my own.

Who would be accountable for the lease extension costs and what are my options?

Many thanks

Ross

 



Comments

Laura Delow

9:13 AM, 19th July 2019
About a month ago

I'm no solicitor but my understanding is that for a mistake by a solicitor to amount to a claim for negligence it must have caused you loss. This means that you must be able to show that but for the mistake of the solicitor, you would not have suffered the loss. Even if your solicitor has made a mistake and breached their duty to you, if that breach has not caused you any loss, I believe the claim will fail e.g. if your loss has been caused by something else, such as a decrease in property prices, independently of the negligence, that is not enough either. However, if damage/loss has resulted from the solicitor's mistake, then a claim in negligence will aim to put you in the position you should have been in had the negligence not taken place.
I recall seeing that any potential claim must be brought within 6 years of the date of the loss. It is possible to bring a claim after this time if you only became aware of the negligence at a later date. If this is the case, you might be able to bring a claim within 3 years of the date of your knowledge, or the date you reasonably ought to have made enquiries into the potential negligence. There is also a final ‘long-stop’ date of 15 years in which you must bring your claim.


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