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Solictor and insurance - is she unhelpful?

(19 Posts)
user1467297746 Tue 12-Jul-16 12:08:53

We engaged a solictor my brother recommended - altho he later admitted he had a slight falling with her!

Her replies to questions are very short and she doesnt answer every question

for example here's what I wrote to her..

^thank you for your email. I have read the questions and answers -

We will let you know as soon as we can..

Basically the vendor backed out of our request to fix an drain gully, citing incompetence of the drainage company I engaged. However becos of that poorly installed gully we were unable to complete CCTV drains inspection along the side of the house towards the kitchen - the area of concern highlighted by the surveyor.

We are worried about possible subsidence issue due to Clay soil and leaky drains making said clay soggy…..

I am pressuring them to fix the drains - if they do not fix them - then I will seriously consider withdrawing? Is this reasonable?

I do have one further set questions to present to them . I believe they are insured- With whom is the insurance taken out? am I correct in presuming that the insurance would cover subsidence issues?

can we or should we continue that policy with the insurance for ease of continuity?

Thanks for your help -^

and she replied.

Question 6 of the Property Information Form confirms that they insure the property. They are not obliged to inform you who this is with but the Estate Agents may be able to find out from the Sellers direct.

I await hearing from you as to whether you wish to proceed.

Am I gasbagging to much?

Not much in the way of advice from her really.

I am planning to buy 2 more properties in the near future so I would have hoped she could have been more helpful?

ChocChocPorridge Tue 12-Jul-16 12:15:31

Solicitors, in my experience, never give advice. They tell you what you already know, and charge you for it.

Unfortunately, this is a call you'll have to make - can you talk to the surveyors and get a feel from them instead?

I'm jaded, but insurance people in my experience are similarly useless - promise all upfront, then when you come to claim find some way to wriggle out.

wowfudge Tue 12-Jul-16 12:25:20

The standard excess for subsidence claims is £1000, but it hasn't yet been established whether there is subsidence. Maybe that is putting them off? How would knowing who their insurer is help you? If you are thinking their insurance could cover their costs then suggest that via the EA. The EA has a vested interest in getting the sale through.

Your solicitor's responses seem perfectly reasonable.

I think you are getting side tracked by the details. What do you hope to achieve and how will you get it?

I suggest you get your solicitor to let the vendor's solicitor know that unless the gully is fixed, you won't be able to have the CCTV survey carried out and will be unable to proceed with the purchase. Do you have something in writing from the drains company about the broken gulley? If so send it to your solicitor and the EA to send to the vendor.

user1467297746 Tue 12-Jul-16 13:29:07

thought it would be better to have the same insurer then if there was a claim they have all info on file - might be needed in case of subsidence

When we made offer on the house we knew it needed decorating carpets etc - but having 'bodged' drains that needed repairing werent factored into the costs

So we want them to fix the drains - since they are the ones who had them badly installed / modified.

The leaking drains might be causing some cracks in the walls.

Or do we just suggest to the EA for them to discount the cost of the works?

We did manage to get 7K off the asking price - the place had been on the market for more than 6 months,... It is a bit of a state in places - but great potential for us.

Coughingchildren5 Tue 12-Jul-16 16:29:29

Your solicitor is not going to help you solve this one .

If you are aware that there is a problem with the drains then your new insurer (new owner new policy so it's not really relevant if you use the same company) will not cover the cost and if it's proven that same problem has caused subsidence they are unlikely to pay out for that either.
So the current owner needs to sort out the problem through their existing insurance or you need to have the cash to deal with it all your self.
If you really want the house you need to go back to the vendor with a revised offer to reflect the repairs you will have to make or ask them to arrange to make the repairs by x date so you can continue with the purchase.
Be aware that any involvement of insurance companies at this point will really slow down the purchase especially if they start investigating subsidence!

eurochick Tue 12-Jul-16 16:43:42

You are asking non legal questions. It is for you to decide whether the deal is acceptable or whether you want to try to renegotiate in light of the points you mention. She cants decide for you whether or not you should go ahead.

wowfudge Tue 12-Jul-16 19:08:21

There is little point trying to knock more off the asking price as you simply don't know the extent of the problem. My stance would be that they sort out the issues or no deal. If there is potential subsidence then they will be fools not to deal with it as they will struggle to get a sale with anyone.

Spickle Tue 12-Jul-16 19:20:29

The conveyancing/legal process is to procure the sale of and/or purchase of property. The solicitor will look at the draft contract, title documents, old conveyances and transfers, the property information form, fixtures & fittings, search results and act on behalf of the mortgage lender to ensure that due diligence with regard to ID and finances are in order. When they have raised enquiries and have received satisfactory responses as well as any requested documents, they will report to you on their findings. Unfortunately, they do not visit the property, nor do they have sight of your survey and even if you send them a copy, the only part they will look at will be the legal bit at the end.

So any concerns you have regarding the condition of the property is really up to you, your solicitor will not advise on non-legal stuff. You have probably heard the term "caveat emptor - buyer beware" and this is why. It is up to you whether you continue with this transaction, the seller may accommodate you or may not. You can try to exert some pressure on the seller via the estate agent, but if they refuse to negotiate then it will be down to you to make a decision one way or another.

Sorry if it's not what you wanted to hear.

user1467297746 Tue 12-Jul-16 19:34:39

I am very lucky in that when I sold my place it had gained enough to give me cash to buy this place outright so no mortgage.

The buyer has just assumed I needed a mortgage and the EA appears to have forgotten I am a cash buyer too when it was shuffled to the progressions dept.

I have told them they need to fix the drains because the surveyor has said it's needed - since one metal grate/ gully pipe in the drive is badly installed and they cant get the camera past it to go up the side of the house where they worry it might have eroded causing some cracks in the wall - they arent big cracks and a builder basically said they werent of concern.

I guess if a mortgage company was involved they would be telling the solicitor whether it was ok to proceed on the basis of the surveyor?

I have to call the EA back tomorrow and pretend I spoke to the solicitor..

I have to say I was surprised when the EA asked if I wanted a discount.. Is that a good sign?

user1467297746 Tue 12-Jul-16 19:45:02

actually I better say - I'm not really after a discount,

I just didnt know the drains had problems when I put my offer in.

I just want them to fix the drains so I can move in knowing they are ok and they are not undermining the building.

wowfudge Tue 12-Jul-16 20:47:29

I think you need to me more succinct in your dealings with the EA. The fact you don't need a mortgage is irrelevant - a sensible buyer investigates possible issues before committing. If the seller won't cooperate just walk away.

user1467297746 Tue 12-Jul-16 21:23:35

thanks wowfudge I think I understand now

I just need to say - get the drains fixed so we can do the CCTV properly end of.

I guess I cant specify the contractor.
But I can insist its not his "mate" doing it? Think it was his mate who did it last time.

I do hope they just get on with it.. this is the only house we can afford and like in months of looking!

evrybuddy Wed 13-Jul-16 11:27:50

We've bought both with and without mortgages and my experience is that solicitors are obliged to be (and are) more 'focussed' when a mortgage is involved.

Mainly because somewhere in the contract it will say that they are also representing the interests of the mortgage company.

It tends to focus their minds when, if they cock up, they might have HSBC to answer to and not just old Joe Bloggs.

Buying with a mortgage, I found the solicitor often carrying out checks which seemed of little benefit to me and when questioned they acknowledged that the checks were entirely at the behest of and for the benefit of the mortgage company.

wowfudge Wed 13-Jul-16 11:47:38

Just ask that the drain is fixed so your CCTV survey can be carried out. If it isn't and the survey guys can't get the camera in properly then the deal is off. You could ask for photos showing the repair for your peace of mind/reassurance. Buying a house is an expensive purchase. Your vendor needs to understand that just because you don't need a mortgage to buy it doesn't mean you are prepared to deal with (and pay for) issues which need sorting before exchange.

MichaelTMackey Thu 14-Jul-16 07:05:27

Make a final deal. tell them to fix the drain. If no progress, walk away.

Luckystar1 Thu 14-Jul-16 07:21:22

Buddy when a mortgage company is involved, the solicitor is (usually) also instructed to act for the mortgage company and is required to follow their (very,very strict) requirements before monies can be released.

These tend to be because an'ordinary' person will 'take a view' on many things (as in they will fall in love with a house and over look lots of things to get it) whereas the bank is purely interested in whether the house will cover their loan in the event if repossession.

It's a bit sad that people think/expect their solicitor to do more than the legal process. It's what ultimately gives solicitors a bad name, as many of the questions often asked are just but within a solicitor's remit (although many, depending on the relationship may give unofficial advice of course!)

Anyway that was more of a rant for me really! Op I hope everything works out!

evrybuddy Thu 14-Jul-16 10:52:55

Not sure what I've said that's bugged you...

The point I was making was that sometimes having a mortgage gets you, the buyer, a higher level of service and/or protection, a more diligent approach, because the solicitor is also being held to account by a mortgage company, a company who can and will hold the solicitor to account if there's a cock-up.
A company that will know the ropes and have the money to take action.
Unlike most civilian buyers.

My first non-mortgage property was a leasehold flat - and only when I came to sell (to people getting a mortgage) did I discover that there were areas not brought to my attention by my solicitor (because I had no mortgage) that I wish had been brought to my attention.

Failing that, the solicitor would have helped me by saying - 'because you don't have a mortgage, these are issues relating to the lease which are up to you to take a view on but if you'd had a mortgage, the mortgage co. would be anxious about.'

Of course, they're not nannies, but when you know something and you're paid for it, and you would have done it anyway if a mortgage was involved - it's just good manners and decency to give the same service... that's what I thought - but was wrong - that's solicitors/that's people.

namechangedtoday15 Thu 14-Jul-16 12:00:14

Evrybuddy - your post comes across as suggesting the solicitors only pull their finger out when there is a lender to account to, as well as a buyer. That's just not the case. The solicitor has a number of duties to the buyer and should fulfill those irrespective of whether a lender is involved. If there is a lender - then the solicitor has a number of other duties. It doesn't get you a "higher level of service" or a "more diligent approach" or from your earlier post a "more 'focused'" solicitor.

evrybuddy Thu 14-Jul-16 13:27:08

Unfortunately, it's not a matter of there being an 'objective truth'.

My experience is that my interests as a purchaser were better served when there was a mortgage provider involved - fact.

Make of that what you will.

My perception is that the requirements of the mortgage provider were such that there was a more thorough job done.

That will probably be because in being obliged to serve the interests of the mortgage provider, the solicitor is having to comply with the requirements of another company's legal counsel rather than a regular civilian who may or may not have as exhaustive a list of 'requirements' to be satisfied.

It worked to my benefit.

Like all businesses, the solicitor seeks to maximise profit while completing the minimum requirements of the buyer as set down in the contract and any relevant legislation.

I don't doubt that the solicitor satisfied the minimum requirements when dealing with my purchase - without a mortgage provider.

The minimum requirements the solicitor satisfied when there was a mortgage providor involved gave me more information.

All at the same cost to me - as far as I'm concerned, my experience demonstrates that there is a difference.

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