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Accidental damage to internal door by a viewer, estate agent verbally offered to replace, now backtracking. What are their obligations?

(24 Posts)
CobOnTheCorn Fri 22-Mar-13 18:43:12

Sorry for long title. We are buying a house (complete next week), during our second viewing the EA told us the glass in the two internal kitchen doors had been damaged during another viewing. He confirmed they (the agent) would have them replaced.

There have been subsequent conversations where the EA has said the same, now he is offering £100 "goodwill gesture" without predujice in an email.

We're cross and I want to shove his without predujice where the sun doesn't shine. Why put that?

Ultimately though I want them to stand by their word.

Could anyone please tell me where the responsibility lies in this situation?

Thanks

upinthehills Fri 22-Mar-13 18:48:14

Tbh if the glass has broken in door has been broken at a viewing it is most not likely safety glass. I would would want all internal doors to be fitted with safety glass if I had LO and if it was me I would take the £100 and arrange for the glass to be replaced to a spec that I was happy with.

That way you get what you want. If the doors are big and would cost a lot more than £100 to replace the glass and you are confident that you will get nice safety glass I you could press the EA to replace.

CobOnTheCorn Fri 22-Mar-13 19:04:27

We offered to contribute towards to overall bill to allow us an element of choice.

I want to push them to stand by their word. Do you know where the responsibility lies?

Obviously not the seller and not the viewer and not us. It only leaves the agent and presumably this is why they have insurance.

upinthehills Fri 22-Mar-13 19:36:10

I would think it is the seller - they own the property and it is up to them to fix things prior to sale. In Scotland you get 5 days post sale to flag up things (boiler not working for example) and the responsibility is still on the seller to fix it. They could try and reclaim the cost via the EA. I would think it is no different to if they had got broken when a friend of the sellers came to visit - it is their house after all.

upinthehills Fri 22-Mar-13 19:36:38

I would be making it a condition of completing if you think it won't lose you the house.

cumfy Fri 22-Mar-13 19:59:49

2 doors had been damaged ?

Seems careless.

Are you sure it's not a trick by the EA to distract you from thinking it's the owners ?

CobOnTheCorn Fri 22-Mar-13 20:10:31

Interesting theory...

The story is plausible. According to the EA both front and back doors were left open by the viewers. The resultant through wind slammed both kitchen doors and the glass smashed.

It doesn't seem right that the sellers have to pay when the house was in the 'care' of the EA at the time.

upinthehills Fri 22-Mar-13 20:22:01

But it is still the sellers responsibility to sort this out. It is their house, not yours and they want to sell it. Same if boiler packed up today - nothing to do with you.

Surely you just make your offer lower if you take on fixing it?

So is in the sellers interests to fix it then?

cumfy Fri 22-Mar-13 20:30:33

According to the EA both front and back doors were left open by the viewers. The resultant through wind slammed both kitchen doors and the glass smashed.

Total Bollocks.grin

CobOnTheCorn Fri 22-Mar-13 20:33:43

Really? I'm not disputing what you say but my mind separates the two; the boiler scenario is a genuine 'this could happen at any time' (although I can't imagine it being replaced at this stage). Whereas the accident only occurred because the house was for sale and the agent was conducting a viewing. So if the house wasn't for sale, the agent wouldn't be there and nor would the viewers and the accident would never have occurred.

What also confuses me is why would the agent commit to having the repairs carried out instead of saying straight away it's the seller's responsibility?

CobOnTheCorn Fri 22-Mar-13 20:35:17

Laurie we've already exchanged so we risk a lot (losing our deposit) if we reduce offer price now.

cumfy Fri 22-Mar-13 20:35:36

I would contact the owners to find out what really happened to the doors.

CobOnTheCorn Fri 22-Mar-13 20:36:22

Cumfy, please will you come with me to discuss this with the agent? grin

CobOnTheCorn Fri 22-Mar-13 20:37:27

I like that idea comfy. The house is empty and being sold by the son so not as easy as just popping in though.

Well you wouldn't lose if they agreed to it, would you?

I sold a house and after exchange a pipe burst and caused damage to the laminate floor so I offered to either replace the floor or knock it off the price.

It happens often between exchange and completion.

BuiltForComfort Fri 22-Mar-13 20:39:35

I can believe that a through wind blew the doors shut, happens in my house in summer - but the kitchen door which is the one that slams is half glazed and this has never smashed. But this isn't your problem OP, it's the seller's. why get involved?

CobOnTheCorn Fri 22-Mar-13 20:40:50

Thanks Laurie, that's helpful.

I might have to talk to our solicitor on Monday morning.

I hate messing people about though (ie the seller) that's why I want to be certain where the liability sits.

CobOnTheCorn Fri 22-Mar-13 20:45:47

The EA has told us all along that the agent would replace them and I never saw any reason to doubt him (until now!) I never thought of bringing it in to discussion with the seller.

cumfy Fri 22-Mar-13 20:53:18

What also confuses me is why would the agent commit to having the repairs carried out instead of saying straight away it's the seller's responsibility?

Because the EA would be understandably concerned that the whole of the rest of your viewing would be coloured by the negative experience of the broken panes.

In psychology it's called correspondence bias; people would be naturally anticipating, by association, that other parts of the house have been treated with very little care by the current owners.

Much better for the buyer to believe an external agent [sic] caused the damage, thus isolating any negative association effect.

CobOnTheCorn Fri 22-Mar-13 21:09:34

Cumfy, that is really interesting, never heard of it before.

However, the house was/is empty, it was our second viewing (not sure if that makes a difference) and the rest of the house as been looked after beautifully.

Could it be that the EA is a twunt?

CobOnTheCorn Sat 23-Mar-13 09:59:46

I've emailed the agent this morning and included all the references he has made to having the doors replaced.

I wonder if he'll reply...

I'll call our solicitor on Monday and seek her advice about contacting the vendor.

digerd Sat 23-Mar-13 15:21:59

Salesmen working on a commission will promise you anything for the sale not to be jeopardised, sellers too. Happened to me lots of times in various capacities. Plumbers and tradesmen too. Even my surveyor.

Unless you get it in writing, verbal promises are worth nothing, I'm afraid.

The seller maybe entitled to claim on his house insurance ?

CobOnTheCorn Sat 23-Mar-13 15:53:54

Yes, I'm realising the hard way!

I never thought anyone would lie so blatantly. Saying one thing consistently then saying something completely different.

Perhaps this is the reason that some people have a negative opinion of estate agents.

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