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Thomas
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
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Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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My solicitor carried out a conveyance for me on the purchase

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My solicitor carried out a conveyance for me on the purchase of a farmhouse which had been seperated from a barn which was subsequently sold seperately to another party.

I have now discovered that the only access and driveway to the property was to both the barn and farmhouse and when the deeds were split the access was included with the barn. Consequently I purchased a property with no legal right of access to it off a private lane (owned by a neighbour). The seller had constructed a driveway for the farmhouse off an entrance to the adjacent field on green belt land without planning permission.

Do I have any recourse against my solicitor for failing to identify that my property had no legal right of access?

I have since sold the property and the purchaser is now suing me. It is only through this action against me that I have found out about the lack of access.
Hi,

The property and barn benefited from a right of acess, this was the only way of accessing both properties. The barn has been sold and now has the right of access. There is no right of access for the property that you have retained.


There is a driveway which would otherwise give access, but there is no planning permission for this.

Your conveyancing solicitor did not make you aware of any of this.

Is this correct?

Tom
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes Tom that is correct. Just to be clear - I didn't sell the barn and retain the house.


 


The seller of the house owned both properties and sold the house to me without any access.

Okay, so to be clear the Seller owned the barn and the house with a right of access.

The house has been sold to you with the access. You have now sold the house.

Correct?

When replying can you please also state why the buyer is suing you?

Tom

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The seller owned the house and barn with a single shared access.


 


The seller constructed a new access and driveway (without planning permission) for the house before selling it to me. The barn was sold by the seller with the original and, as I now know, the only legal access.


 


When I bought the house and when I subsequently sold it, at no time was it discovered that the house had no legal right of access. My buyer is now suing me for misrepresentation and breach of contract because I did not disclose the works for the new access and driveway when I sold it to him.


 

Hi

Thanks for your patience.

Of course, it’s difficult to be definitive without actually seeing the file for the sale to your or the file for the sale to the subsequent buyer.

However, it does sound on the facts that your original solicitor certainly has a case to answer. The file will confirm.

If it was apparent that the right of access was only afforded to the barn which was not being sold to you then the solicitor should have highlighted this to you and then contact the owner of the land which granted the right of access with a view to executing a further deed of easement giving the right of way to the house that was sold to you. This should have been done before completion really.

You need to get in contact with your original solicitor referring to the lack of right of way and that you are now being sued to establish whether this was reported to you (it seems not) and what was done by the solicitor in respect of securing a right of access (again, it seems not much was done successfully).

You are permitted to request a copy of your file. If the meeting with the solicitor does not go well then you should take it to another property litigation solicitor for a consultation with a view to issuing a claim against your original solicitor and defending the claim against you.

It sounds like a mess to be quite honest. The extent of the solicitors responsibility will become apparent once you have got a full copy of their file.


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Kind regards,


Tom
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