Turns out a property I bought over 2 years ago has a charge against it?

by Readers Question

14:01 PM, 26th January 2016
About 3 years ago

Turns out a property I bought over 2 years ago has a charge against it?

Make Text Bigger
Turns out a property I bought over 2 years ago has a charge against it?

I bought a house over 2 years ago to rent out, all went well until about 3 months ago when the local council contacted me saying they had a charge on the property and unless I paid the outstanding amount of £1500 they would take legal proceeding’s against me.charge

I know they cannot make me pay the outstanding amount, but can get interest added to the debt and possibly court costs. As this was my first investment property a local land search was not carried out.

I was advised by my solicitor that it was for local mine workings etc. At the time I wasn’t even aware you could have a charge against a property. This charge is for work carried out to the property by the council when the previous owner (also a landlord) failed to fix the boiler. The house was later repossessed and I bought it off the mortgage company.

The solicitor who acted for me doesn’t even bother to reply to my requests to look into this matter. Getting to the point, the mortgage company was aware of this charge (they had been in communication with the local council) yet failed to disclose the fact to me, is this legal and surely after repossessing the property where they not libel for the debt as owner of the property.

Also how can I find out if the council acted properly when obtaining the charge against the property ? any help or advice would be appreciated.

John



Comments

Chris Best

15:12 PM, 26th January 2016
About 3 years ago

Somewhat flummoxed by this. You say that no local land search was carried out (because it was your first investment property - not sure why that makes any difference), but you do have a mortgage and a solicitor acting for you. I don't understand how you managed to get a mortgage at all without a land search being carried out - normally I would expect a mortgagor to insist on it; after all, this is exactly the kind of situation a land search is supposed to protect you against. You also say that the charge is for local mine workings, but then say that the reason for the debt to the council is something to do with work on the boiler not carried out by the previous landlord.

Any charge against a property should appear on the Land Registry entry for that property. You can even check this online now. If your solicitor failed to check the Land Registry entry for the property you were purchasing, this in my view would be gross negligence. I would suggest that you need to contact your previous solicitor and threaten them with this unless they get their finger out. I would also suggest that since you have purchased the property with the charge against it (and if the charge is registered, then you will be deemed to be aware of the charge whether you checked it or not) the bank have no duty to specifically make you aware - it is a case of caveat emptor (buyer beware) as your solicitor should have done this.

Get some legal advice, and probably not from the solicitor you used in the first place as they have proven to be useless!

Harry Chunk

15:24 PM, 26th January 2016
About 3 years ago

I am a little rusty on this now but my recollection of the position is that your solicitor should have cleared this matter up when you originally purchased the property. A local land search deals with local issues such as underground mining,highway issues, local planning issues, neighbours and your property. It will also throw up things like dangerous planning notices and problems the council has had with that property. Your solicitor will also have searched at the Land Registry where the council will have had their charge registered. This would have made him aware of the councils problem and enquiries should have been raised with the sellers solicitor who in this case was acting for the mortgagees in possession. It was their solicitors responsibility to repay outstanding mortgages and charges before passing title over to you. My advice would to go back to the solicitor who handled your purchase and get him to take it up with the sellers who should have settled the debt on transfer of title to you. I would go back to him because it gives him the chance to put it right. Going to another solicitor will just run up another raft of charges. I am sure there are solicitors reading this that can give a more detailed advice.

PATRICIA SIMPSON

15:26 PM, 26th January 2016
About 3 years ago

Hello

This sounds very fishy to me. The solicitor who was acting for the lender should have information on the property.
Yes the comment made by the previous person who commented your solicitor should have done a search and notified you of the charge.
You are not liable for the charge as it belongs to the previous owner who was the lender, They are responsible for the cost as they repossessed it, You need to inform the council of this. I have never known a council do that before.
Yes get some advice and make a complaint against the solicitor

Luke P

15:28 PM, 26th January 2016
About 3 years ago

We have had a number of these over the years...they're not charges over the property as such (like when you gain a CCJ), but rather 'land charges'.

We often get them when the Council's 'Community Pride' team go around looking for alleyways and gardens that have been fly-tipped on and clear them up 'in default' (without contacting us first).

Not sure how to exactly get rid of them. No doubt they're up to no good.

Harry Chunk

15:33 PM, 26th January 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Harry Chunk" at "26/01/2016 - 15:24":

I would further go on to add that if you don't get a satisfactory response from your old solicitor tell him you will lodge a complaint with the Law Society. If it was a Licensed Conveyancer then they have their own regulatory body with whom to file a complaint.

John Pettman

16:14 PM, 26th January 2016
About 3 years ago

This illustrates always the need to carry out a Local Authority Search. A charge does NOT have to be registered at the Land Registry it can be registered as a local Land charge and this is exactly what the Local Authority has done .If you bought at the same time as having a mortgage your Solicitor would have HAD to carry out ALL necessary searches and enquiries. Not to do so would in my opinion be negligence. How many times do I hear clients say that they want to save money by NOT having a local search carried out. How many times have I warned clients don't just go along to an auction and buy a property and then hope that your lawyer can get you out of a problem . If a property has a problem either legal or structural the best place to sell is at auction . ALWAYS bear on mind that although a legal pack may be supplied for an auction lot it may be incomplete. Was no Local search supplied in your legal pack.Really ? A mining search is something separate and appropriate in areas that may be or were subject to mining . An environmental search is also important particularly in view of the flooding issues that have arisen in recent times. The Local Land Charge is secured ON THE PROPERTY . When you buy at auction " Let the buyer beware"

Luke P

16:23 PM, 26th January 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Pettman" at "26/01/2016 - 16:14":

That's the ticket! I knew someone would know better what they were.

Any idea on how to have them removed?

John Pettman

17:01 PM, 26th January 2016
About 3 years ago

Yes Pay up . Contact the local authority and request details of the total amount owing. Pay it and get them to confirm that the charge has been removed.

Harry Chunk

17:41 PM, 26th January 2016
About 3 years ago

Well done John, thanks for that.

Rudolph Banton

18:30 PM, 26th January 2016
About 3 years ago

Only two years since you bought this could be good. I bought a property and after 6 years the council wrote and said there were an £8,500 outstanding to pay from the previous owners. Rattled £8,500 worth I wrote to the conveyance team and sent copies of the council's demand asking why they did not picked up the amount? They replied after 6 years they were not liable! I thought the council had tucked me up or pulling the wool! Therefore, I went to a legal firm who dealt with this situation. I ended up paying £5,500 to the council and legal team £3,000 fees!

1 2

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

Want to avoid empty properties over Christmas?

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More