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Extensive flooding damage discovered after exchange
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puret0ne · 20/09/2020 11:39

We have exchanged contracts and waiting for completion in less than two weeks time. However we only found out yesterday that the house was extensively damaged by the flooding back in 2014 and a massive insurance claim was paid out. They hired a structural engineer to check what was required to fix all the post-flooding issues (he discovered serious foundation distortion btw), but they refused to carry out suggested remedies and only covered minimal cosmetic work.

We specifically asked questions about flooding before exchange but they responded with no to any damage. (We loved the house but with a suspicion from our surveyor we decided to dig deeper to be sure.)

I just wrote a brief factual account of what happened and my question is if I have legal authority to rescind the contract and get the deposit back. We have already spent loads of money on legal & research fees on top of paying the deposit at the exchange. I don’t expect the sellers to pay any of incurred costs but I want my deposit back.

I’m distressed and upset with the situation and also worried at the prospect of legal implications. I’d appreciate If you could share any experience or advice on this...

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pineapplepalmtree · 20/09/2020 11:40

yes if they've lied on the contractual forms. your solicitor should be advising you of how to go about this ..

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mountains76 · 20/09/2020 11:48

Obviously seek advice from your solicitor, if they have lied about this then the vendors are on shakey ground (no pun intended).


What kind of survey did you get? Did this not come up in the survey?

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user1471528245 · 20/09/2020 11:54

They have already breached contract by lying about flood damage, searches should have picked that up also as it’s part of those questions around flood plains, and you’ll have issues with insuring the property as they always ask the question “has there been any flooding” which you would have to answer with yes now you know about it, the fact they have not remedied any of the structural issues is also a massive red flag leaving this open for you to have expensive repairs further down the line, you need to get proper legal advise from a solicitor so if you’re just using a conveyancing solicitor find a more senior level one to take this forward

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Viviennemary · 20/09/2020 13:38

They lied. Which is very serious.You should be able to sue them for your costs incurred if you pull out. I think under the circumstances you should get your deposit back. Don't back down and I agree with seeing a specialist solicitor. But if all costs money. What absolute selfish people trying to pass their problems on to somebody else.

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Africa2go · 20/09/2020 14:15

As above, your solicitor should be advising (but check your solicitor has not missed something and they're at fault rather than the sellers). Check exactly what was put in writing (searches, how enquiries were phrased and exactly what response was given). Check the current owners owned it in 2014 (am assuming you know that already).

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Salome61 · 20/09/2020 14:22

I'm terribly sorry to read this - how did it not come up on your solicitor searches I wonder? Good luck.

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MsKeats · 20/09/2020 15:03

Why is your solicitor not dealing with it? Gross breach of contract.

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MsKeats · 20/09/2020 15:03

They should also pay all your costs thus far.

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MrsElijahMikaelson1 · 20/09/2020 15:05

I would imagine that yes you will be able to pull out due to them lying, plus sue then for all funds spent to date and breach of contract

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YoBeaches · 20/09/2020 15:56

How did you come to find out yesterday?

You should be able to get every penny back.

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puret0ne · 21/09/2020 13:19

Thank you all for the kind responses.

They carefully made sure none of the flood related events were listed on any search our lawyer conducted and we also discovered that they made the structural engineer and the builder to sign an NDA. That’s why it took a while for our lawyer to find out all about it. Our lawyer had to locate the people who were involved in (unofficial) post-flooding work.

We started digging based on our surveyor’s suspicion (lots of damage but no paper trail or record anywhere) and a tip-off of a neighbour who told us if we were going to buy that property we should be warned.

Fast forward so many things have happened over the weekend and now both parties / lawyers are on a conference call.

Guess what - sellers are threatening a lawsuit as they claim “we acted in bad faith” and “all that had been done to the house was disclosed”

The thing they can’t get past is the disclosure that was given and again addressed at exchange isn’t the same one they are presenting now. Their claim? The solicitors switched them! Fucking bonkers.

I’m seriously sick and tired of a swindler’s old trick. Never their fault, someone somewhere did that.

I guess they are going to lie their arses off until they can’t. Every evidence / report is documented and presented to them. If they have any bit of human decency in them, they should feel an ounce of remorse. Maybe it’s my wishful thinking.

Let’s see how it all turns out. Angry

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12309845653ghydrvj · 21/09/2020 13:29

What total dicks, I’m so sorry this has happened to you. If it’s any conciliation, I think you have the upper hand here—I imagine your solicitors are going to come down on them like a tonne of bricks.

Is the damage such that a big lump sum would repair it, or do you definitely want nothing to do with the property? Because you’re in a very strong place if the former—I expect their solicitors don’t work with them again, and they may find their house is basically unsellable.

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Wnikat · 21/09/2020 14:36

What did they answer to the flooding question in the TA6 form?

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puret0ne · 21/09/2020 15:57

@12309845653ghydrvj They have now offered a discounted price for the property but I don’t want anything to do with it. We took a long car ride to view the property and they were there to show us around and blatantly lied to our faces. Also there is a lot of health hazard attached to the property and the best way forward is to demolish it or fix it (which is prohibitively costly).

@Wnikat No to flooding in general & no to damage to house. Funnily enough my simple google search brought out their heavily damaged house on the local newspaper.

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FurierTransform · 21/09/2020 16:04

Damn OP, that sucks I can't believe they have acted like that, & are still acting the way they are! Sounds like they have been caught bang to rights & you can easily prove it.

Please keep us updated.

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Wnikat · 21/09/2020 16:11

Wow that is some brass neck

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SavoyCabbage · 21/09/2020 16:18

Wow, that is utterly outrageous.

I would certainly be trying to get all my costs back. And I'd be shouting it from the rooftops too.

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Bluntness100 · 21/09/2020 16:19

Wow.. they took the insurance money, didn’t fix it and then waited sufficienct time, tried to sell and lied. That must be illegal. Is your solicitor not threatening them with legal action?

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WinterIsGone · 21/09/2020 16:41

That's terrible. What did the estate agent say? Were they not a local one? I know they are acting for the seller, but even so.

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puret0ne · 21/09/2020 16:45

@Bluntness100 We are trying to be reasonable and not dicks about it. All we asked for is our deposit back plus extra cost incurred to investigate their wrongdoing. We also added realistic cost towards wasted time and misc expenses.

They are apparently politically well connected and don’t actually want to go to court. I hope they come down to their senses and wrap this up ASAP.

Once it’s settled this will go into record so that the next buyer will be fully aware of what they are getting into.

Caveat emptor!

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Someonesayroadtrip · 21/09/2020 16:53

That's really upsetting. I hope things work out OP.

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Kitcat47 · 21/09/2020 16:55

Honestly don't know how people have the nerve! Terrible x

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puret0ne · 21/09/2020 16:58

@WinterIsGone We were never informed of anything by the EA (they are a semi local agent I’d say?).

The sellers were in the middle of switching EAs when we made an offer and there was another saga. When we viewed the property they were with one EA and by the time we made an offer they were technically on contract with another EA yet the previous EA did the memorandum of sales. The sellers said nothing about this until I saw the property listed again on Rightmove by another EA after exchange.

Come to think of it there were signs all over the place. Hmm

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12309845653ghydrvj · 21/09/2020 17:13

You’re in a really strong position to negotiate with them, if this ends up with a paper trail in court they’ll never sell the house. Go into mediation for a big whack of a payout, they wouldn’t want this whole saga and the house’s real state on the public record.

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2bazookas · 21/09/2020 17:31

Your deposit is held by their lawyer; yours needs to inform him pronto in writing that you want it back. AND that you are pulling out of the purchase due to misrepresentation and lies by the vendor.
I'm pretty sure their lawyer will be so anxious to distance himself from any potential professional misconduct complaint that he won't withhold return of the deposit , which is your money,not his clients.

Once you have got your money back and disentangled yourselves I'd contact both the EA'a involved and notify them.

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