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Suing estate agent

(25 Posts)
Pma2 Tue 19-Mar-19 18:06:47

We found a cottage we loved and after a couple of years managed to get a buyer for our house. Offer was accepted and we instructed solicitor. We went back to the cottage and I noticed varies things to the rear of the cottage which did not look tight. Small area of tiles in an otherwise thatched roof and a flat roof which extended over a dilapidated leanto being used as a utility room. I decided as it was grade2 listed to speak to conservation officer. It turned out that none of this work had approval. Vendors denied any knowledge but they have been forced to get retrospective approval. There is also numerous additional works internally to the cottage which are suspect. Because this is going to take six months to sort out we have lost our buyer. My argument is that the agents should have checked the LB status before marketing it and they should at least pay our abortive legal bill. What do you think

Disfordarkchocolate Tue 19-Mar-19 18:08:21

I don't think that is the estate agents job. Ask these sort of questions before you put an offer in. Sorry.

f83mx Tue 19-Mar-19 18:10:29

No I don’t see how that is responsibility of the agents? Yours - theirs solicitors / surveyor maybe but not an estate agent.

NoArmaniNoPunani Tue 19-Mar-19 18:10:34

It took a couple of years to find a buyer for your house? If the cottage was still on the market after that long, that would ring alarm bells

katycb Tue 19-Mar-19 18:10:46

Again don't thinks it the ea's job really did you have a survey?

ThroughThickAndThin01 Tue 19-Mar-19 18:12:14

I think you don’t have a leg to stand on. Quite rightly. The agent acts for the vendors, they have absolutely no responsibility to you.

grannieanne Tue 19-Mar-19 18:12:24

That's what the survey and searches are for, not the job of the Agent !

donquixotedelamancha Tue 19-Mar-19 18:13:44

1. That's not what estate agents do.
2. You have no contract with the EA.
3. These checks are what you pay your solicitor for.
4. You can't sue anyone for you choosing not to buy the house.

Brakebackcyclebot Tue 19-Mar-19 18:16:42

No, not the EA's responsibility. Caveat emptor- buyer beware. As the buyer it's your job to investigate the property and it's title, and this is what you instruct solicitors and surveyors to do for you. Which it sounds like they've done, seeing as you've found out all this stuff.

adulthumanwolf Tue 19-Mar-19 18:25:00

If it was listed did you have your own specialist survey done?

We did that after making an offer on a listed thatched cottage. The survey cost us £600 and we ended up pulling out due to all of the issue found by the surveyor.

It's the buyers responsibility to have a survey done, not the EA.

thinkfast Tue 19-Mar-19 18:33:06

Assuming you're in England or Wales it sounds like you don't have much understanding of how these things work in this jurisdiction. Sorry l, but I can't see any claim against the estate agents on the basis of the information given in your op.

Undies1990 Tue 19-Mar-19 18:54:13

Agreed; as others have said, it is not the job of the estate agent to check such things - that's why you employ a conveyancing solicitor. You don't stand a chance in hell of suing the estate agent I'm afraid.

Pma2 Tue 19-Mar-19 23:42:08

New laws have made estate agents responsible under Protective legislation. Stricter measures under consumer protection from unfair trading regulations. Agents have a responsibility to make investigations about property at the outset and must disclose fair information at viewing. They at no time during our initial viewings did they warn us that the now quite obvious discrepancies to the property. It was only because I raised concerns of the conservation officer that this illegal work was discovered. Luckily this was before we exchanged contracts. All the searches ect did not reveal problems because it was illegal and solicitor only knew about it from our investigations. The vendors have to apply now for retrospective approval which will take six months. Hence our buyer pulling out. If the agents had forewarned us we could have made an informed decision at the outset. Apparently they have contravened their code of conduct. It says that agents have to take responsibility for what a vendor had hidden. ?

TrixieFranklin Tue 19-Mar-19 23:45:17

No you're completely wrong and misinterpreting the above to try and fit your own agenda. It's completely outside of the agents control and remit and unless they were made aware by the vendors / a previous survey or searches then it's tough tits and they will tell you to do one.

PCohle Tue 19-Mar-19 23:51:35

If you're so sure you're right why are you asking here?

By all means try and sue them based on this new legislation - you won't get far.

Singlenotsingle Tue 19-Mar-19 23:51:56

Are you in England OP? I've never heard of that.

TrixieFranklin Tue 19-Mar-19 23:52:40

I'm imaging the comments on property industry eye now if you even tried to do this hmmgrin

Ciasteczka Tue 19-Mar-19 23:58:00

If it took you a couple of years to find a buyer for your house surely the sensible thing would have been to sell it and rent for a while rather than lose them whilst you waited for the retrospective planning to come through?

Floralnomad Wed 20-Mar-19 00:09:43

Why didn’t you just move out and rent for 6 months as it took you so long to find a buyer in the first place ?

burntdinner Wed 20-Mar-19 00:25:56

An estate agents role is to value and market a property on behalf of the property owner , he is working on their behalf and if you read any particulars it will state that it is up to you the prospective purchasers to ensure you check the property thoroughly before purchase .
It is not his responsibility to have the property checked out by a surveyor or to have searches done , they are the purchasers responsibility, as a previous poster stated " buyer beware "

You could ask your solicitor for an indemnity insurance from the vendors to cover these problems .

Any work carried out by owners previously to the ones you are buying from would not be on the sellers forms as it would not have been carried out by them , this is probably why it did not show up earlier , or possibly permitted development rather than planning permission again would not necessarily show up on searches.

I would be tempted to continue with your sale and go into rented for a while

ThroughThickAndThin01 Wed 20-Mar-19 05:57:30

Think you’re talking a pile of crap, op, sorry.

prh47bridge Wed 20-Mar-19 08:26:44

The law has changed and it is not entirely buyer beware. The estate agent's description of the property must be accurate and they must not withhold material information. If the estate agent suspects there may be an issue with the property they should investigate and, if relevant, report the matter to the buyer. The problem the OP will have is proving that the estate agent was, or should have been, aware of the lack of listed building approval. I think the OP will fail on that count.

Pma2 Wed 20-Mar-19 09:19:46

We thought about doing that but we would have been homeless if the council finally insisted on expensive repairs. Only wanted to sell our house for this cottage and agreed prices on that basis

adulthumanwolf Wed 20-Mar-19 09:28:40

Don't think you've got a chance, sorry OP.

QforCucumber Wed 20-Mar-19 09:33:46

You say you had solicitor checks done but did you get an actual survey done on the property?

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