When a conveyancing mistake is made are you entitled to claim compensation?
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Buying a house or a flat is probably the single most expensive purchase you will ever make, so it needs to be done with a great deal of care. As a minimum you will want to make sure that all the walls are stable and not likely to subside, that the roof is sound and that you won’t be facing huge bills in the near future remedying building defects. This is why most people arrange for a surveyor to inspect the property and prepare a report
But it isn’t just building and construction issues that you need to be concerned about. There are also important legal issues that need to be considered when buying a property.
The kitchen extension: Is it legal? Is there planning permission? Building regulations approval?
The driveway: Does it belong to you? Does your neighbour have a right to use it?
The garden. Do you own it? Are the boundaries correct?
The septic tank: Who is responsible for it? Does it comply with current regulations? Can anyone else use it and if so, what is their contribution to its upkeep?
There are so many legal questions that need to be considered when buying a property. Most people would never stop and think about them; which is why you use a solicitor to think of them for you.
In the vast majority of cases the purchase of a property will go ahead smoothly without any hiccups. However, things do sometimes go wrong and a conveyancing mistake is made. The solicitor may for instance fail to notice that planning permission for the kitchen extension was never granted. Or someone starts driving over your property as a Right of Way wasn’t noticed. Or the water pipes burst and you suddenly find yourself responsible for their replacement as ownership of the pipes was overlooked.
In each of those instances, if the problem had been noticed before you completed on the purchase you would have had the choice to pull out of the transaction, negotiate a reduction in the price or obtain an insurance policy to protect you. If the conveyancing mistake has denied you those options and you are now out of pocket as a result, you may be able to claim compensation.