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On purchasing a house, searches were done by purchasers solicitor.

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On purchasing a house, searches were done by purchasers solicitor. Upon selling the house the new purchasers searches were very detailed revealing problems of ownership of the land upon which the kitchen extension was built. These searches have cost the vendor a great deal of expenses.

Question. Should the original solicitors have done these searches (which meant that the purchase would not have been made,) or the then vendors would have to have paid?

What is the nature of the ownership problem for the land upon which the kitchen has been built please?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Several years ago the kitchen was built attached to the rear of the house on land swapped between next door and the then occupier. This occured two or three owners ago. The land was never registered with the Land Registry, therefore it remained in a gentlemans name who is now deceased. The problem has been resolved but the question remains of the cost to the current vendor and his/her solicitor. The cost of the detailed search could have easily been bourne by two employed people seven years ago. Since then one has, because of ill health become unemployed and they also now have two young children. I feel that they should have some sort of recourse from their original solicitor.


Thanks for your patience.

The solicitor acting on the purchase of the property when it was sold for the first time since the erection of the garage should probably have picked this up.

They would usually refer to the title plans for the property and if the kitchen appears from the Sellers replies to have been erected very close to the boundary of the title plan then they would submit a enquiry establishing that the kitchen was built only on land which was in the ownership of the Sellers.

If they were not able to establish ownership then they would not advise their client to complete the sale until the ownership was transferred in to the name of the seller.

The problem is that the original solicitor would only have liability to their client for their mistake. IF their client had incurred costs when they sold the property then they would be able to complain to their solicitor and they would probably have to pay them some money.

If the property has been bought and sold since then there the subsequent owners cannot now sue the original solicitor. However, their solicitors who acted on behalf of each subsequent purchase should also have picked it up and so the current vendor should refer to their solicitor that acted in the purchase if they wish to claim monies.

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Kind regards,

Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 7405
Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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