How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Thomas Judge Your Own Question
Thomas Judge
Thomas Judge, Solicitor Advocate
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 32826
Experience:  Award winning lawyer with over 15 years experience
27487359
Type Your UK Law Question Here...
Thomas Judge is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

If someone buys a property and after 8 weeks of owning it

Customer Question

If someone buys a property and after 8 weeks of owning it they notice an issue with the external brick work, which may have been caused by years of damage from water coming from a neighbouring property's over flow pipe, can they demand payment from the owner of the neighbouring property or is the house 'sold as seen' where previous damage cannot be claimed. And what if the previous owner was paid for the damage by the neighbouring property but they did nor repair it before it was sold - can the new owner still claim? Do you need proof of payment? The neighbouring property had no buildings insurance. Here's the background...
I am executor to my father's estate. He passed away 16 months ago. A rental property in his estate has a water over flow pipe behind the toilet, going through the external wall and outside onto a flat roof. It is a semi detached property so the flat roof is shared/adjoined between the two properties. Unfortunately the toilet overflow has been passing water into the neighbours flat roof and leaking into the inside of their property. The neighbour and his builder believe it has been passing water for some time. They believe it has been over flowing into the party wall and spluttering onto the side wall under the flat roof. I can see lots of damage under the flat roof guttering and all down the drain pipe. The mortar between the bricks has warn away - almost an inch or two deep in some parts. But this could also have been caused by rain damage from rain spluttering off the party wall and close by garden shed. The entire property is in a state of disrepair with damp everywhere that has nothing to do with the leaking water. But before i get expensive surveyors on site I'd like to know where I stand legally - hence the above questions.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 10 months ago.

was any of this picked up by the conveyancer

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
No. He only paid for a home buyers variation report and did not pay for a structural survey.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
valuation not variation.
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 10 months ago.

Let me see if I can help and please rate positive

The starting point is that the seller should have set this out for you or in this case your father when he purchased the property -as such the conveyancer should have details of this. If this is not the case - that he did not disclose it - then he is potentially liable for compensation arising from the potential non disclosure claim. In any event if the damage is ongoing then you have a potential claim against the neighbour in any event. Happy to discuss but please rate positive. Thanks

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi Thomas,I'm happy to rate you when we reach the conclusion of our conversation as it's difficult to give a fair rating when we are still discussing.Some points of clarification before we can conclude:1) if I ask the neighbour for a copy of the conveyancing report/survey to see what the previous owner disclosed - what exactly should I ask to see? The sellers report?2) If the previous owner was not aware of the damage (and assuming my father was not aware and did not pay any compensation) then who is liable to pay for the damage - as the previous owner (in my opinion) must be partly to blaim for letting the issue continue (possibly for many years) without reporting it to my father. The new owner claimed the previous owners never used the garden so it seems likely they were not aware of it nor was my father or he would have fixed the water leaking issue.3) if my father is fully or partly to blame then how would a judge decide on what percentage aid be paid from my father's estate - as this will help me make a silent our if court.4) the neighbour is quoting ridiculously high charges of thousands of pounds to fix what looks like less than one day of work. Should i get a quote from my own buider as part of the negotiations?5) Can the neighbour charge me for loss of rent if the property is a rental propery and the repairs delay him renting the flat?Thanks.
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 10 months ago.

1. It should actually be in the conveyancing papers and there should have been basic reference to it - or there would be a potential claim against the sellers

2. there could then be a potential argument for contributory negligence. Blame obviously lies with the cause of the damage but if it has got worse as a result of someone else not raising something which was arguably obvious earlier then there is an argument of contributory

3. The court would look at the evidence it has to determine any share - perhaps from a surveyor or builder

4. the court would expect a joint expert - a surveyor or builder in case such as this - so yes you can get your own builder - but you should ideally agree an independent one.

Please rate positive

Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 10 months ago.

I hope this my answer helps - please can you rate positive for me. Thanks

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi Thomas, I paid for the highest level of service on this website, 'Detailed Answer', but you didn't answer all my above questions:"2. If the previous owner was not aware of the damage (and assuming my father was not aware and did not pay any compensation) then who is liable to pay for the damage?"
If the previous owner denies any knowledge of the damage and signed the conveyancing papers unaware of the damage then can they be liable. I think not. Can you confirm?"5. Can the neighbour charge me for loss of rent if the property is a rental propery and the repairs delay him renting the flat?"Thanks,
Adrian
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 10 months ago.

Let me see if I can help. The supplemental questions were not listed with the original question - happy to answer but please rate positive - I will not charge any additional

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Thomas, I will rate you when you answer my questions. I paid for a detailed response to my original question. You came back to me with a few sentences in response. This is not detailed. This forced me to ask more questions to get a more detailed answer to my original question. If you could please answer my final questions and I will give you a positive response as this seems the most logical way to rate a service. Many thanks, Adrian.

Related UK Law Questions