Am I letting my heart rule my head?? <as usual>

(12 Posts)
TheBrewster Sun 07-Oct-12 12:24:15

Hi there,
We are in the process of buying an amazing house in a seaside village (will be second home) I am completely in love.
It's a converted chapel and was done beautifully 10 years ago. It was originally on for 350k, then reduced to 299k, we got it for 285k.
But...our solicitor has come up with the following problems. It's a flying freehold (2 cottages directly underneath) which we are responsible for. We pay their buildings insurance and they pay us back. There is indemnity insurance in place for that, so the lender isn't too concerned. However, the estate agent denied that it was a flying freehold when we specifically asked him at the beginning of the process. Very annoying.
Most importantly, the chapel is being sold with a parking space directly infront (like gold dust in this village), but it turns out that the land (including the pavement and therefore the access to the house) belong to someone else! There is no record of who it belongs to. Obviously this is a major problem and I feel that the agents have been "economical" with the truth to say the least.
I have demanded the vendors take out indemnity insurance for this too.
They lost a buyer at the beginning of the year and I'm fairly sure it was because of all these extra legalities.
The survey came back saying it was a beautiful conversion, with no major issue, but there was a damp problem (nothing that needs sorting immediately) which will cost approx 5k to fix.
WWYD? Before all these issues DH and I had already decided to take the damp on the chin (as it were hmm ) It definately wasn't a deal breaker. Now I just feel very uncomfortable and wonder what else could be thrown up when we do the land searches.
Should we be going in at a lower price? 285k is a real bargain but it's only worth what someone is prepared to pay at the end of the day.
If you've got this far, then thankyou!

financialwizard Sun 07-Oct-12 13:04:42

If I were you I would definately be going in at a lower price (you are only going to have the same problems when selling). If they won't accept I would be seriously considering pulling out.

TheBrewster Sun 07-Oct-12 16:34:45

Thanks financialwizard. The resale problem will be my best bargaining tool I think.

Fizzylemonade Sun 07-Oct-12 16:54:22

But surely if you have indemnity insurance to cover the parking space and then the person who owns it stops you using it you only get money, and no parking space. So where will you park? Wouldn't you also be prevented access to your property across the pavement? Is there another entrance into the chapel?

Does that mean that it is unregistered with Land Registry? Surely then your solicitor would be advising you on how to proceed with registering the land to yourself.

Personally I would think very long and hard about proceeding until this issue is resolved. I don't think indemnity insurance is a good enough solution, I don't believe it is a solution.

TheBrewster Sun 07-Oct-12 17:06:37

Hi Fizzylemonade-I think the insurance would cover buying the land should the owner ever come forward (unlikely as it seems the deeds were lost over one hundred years ago) And a bit of pavement would be of no use to anyone but us.
I know it's a real mess though. But I really really love the house. Our solicitor also said something about squatters rights, once we'd owned the house for a period of time.

Rhubarbgarden Sun 07-Oct-12 20:03:46

It sounds gorgeous. I think I'd blow caution to the wind and buy it anyway. But I'm reckless like that so don't listen to me... smile

discrete Sun 07-Oct-12 20:59:18

I was going to say the same as your solicitor, if you use the land for a certain period of time you have a right to it.

But anything like that which will result in an issue when selling means that as an asset it is less liquid and therefore worth less, so you should consider your options in terms of the price you are willing to pay for it.

TheBrewster Sun 07-Oct-12 21:01:59

Thanks guys. Rhubarbgarden-it really is amazing and I'm reckless with you grin
discrete-thankyou. I am definitely going to use it when I go back and offer them 275k!!

Fizzylemonade Tue 09-Oct-12 13:53:17

Can I just point out that squatter's rights no longer exist. It used to be that if you used the land for 12 years exclusively then you could claim it.

Now, you can use it for 10 years and then you have to apply to Land Registry to register the land to you. Land Registry then notifies the owner of the land and they have 2 years in which to basically say, oi clear off my land.

The land mark case was a farmer who leased his land out to another farmer for grazing livestock. Money stopped being paid, but the farmer still grazed his animals on the land as he wasn't told to get off it. Move on 12 years plus and he claims squatter's rights. Owner says to hell with this and went to European Court of Human Rights, the land was worth millions!

European Court agreed that if you borrow something it doesn't make it yours, hence the change in the law re having to actually apply to have the land you have nicked registered to you.

It worries the pants off me if your solicitor still believes that squatter's rights exist sad this has been the case for about 6 years +.

Anyway And a bit of pavement would be of no use to anyone but us. this is known as a ransom strip and the person who owns it can pretty much name their price.

you need to find out if the land is registered or not registered and go from there, have a look at Land Registry website for info. But it is something I would want sorted before I bought somewhere no matter how gorgeous it is.

TheBrewster Tue 09-Oct-12 17:49:19

Hi Fizzylemonade,
Thanks again for your help. This is exactly waht my solicitor said- "I will need Statutory Declarations setting out details of their occupation/user as we will need to, over a period of time, try to establish adverse possession of the land (i.e. squatters rights) and also build up enough evidence to acquire a right of way. This will again need to be covered by indemnity insurance to satisfy any lender. I am afraid it is all very messy."
I have had confirmation that the vendors are paying for indemnity insurance....
does that seem any better? confused

Fizzylemonade Tue 09-Oct-12 20:25:24

I just want to say for the record the a converted chapel sound absolutely beautiful and I am just trying to save you heartache.

<disclaimer, I am not a solicitor, but have knowledge of this area and have read GardenLaw/law forums/court case summaries until my eyes bled>

The whole adverse possession thing is a blooming minefield. Yours is complicated by the fact that it is a parking space and a pavement. So my first question would be who maintains these? Are they privately maintained? Or does the Council maintain them?

For adverse possession you usually have to exclude all others so it is normally where someone fences in land. See this court case here by its very nature a parking space is difficult to control so other people may park in it unless you are planning to put up signs stating it is yours.

See this from land registry for a bit of light reading pay particular attention to the definitions in 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3.

This is why solicitors charge so much money. grin If your solicitor allows you to go ahead and it goes pear then you can come back and sue, but money does not buy you the parking space which you explained is like gold dust.

A right of way usually has to be established for I believe 20 years, so your solicitor seem to be saying adverse possession for the parking space and a ROW (right of way) for the pavement.

I would absolutely want to know, in writing, what any indemnity insurance covers.

I hate to be all down and gloomy, I am really upbeat and chirpy in RL so I want to come across as helpful not a bum hole grin

TheBrewster Wed 10-Oct-12 10:41:00

Fizzylemonade-I really would never think of you as a bum hole grin
We intend to bring up up all of the above factors with the sellers agent and lower our offer accordingly.
DH hasn't even seen the house yet-we're off there this afternoon! Can't wait to see it again (and the sun is shining)

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