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Matt J
Matt J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 550
Experience:  LLB(HONS)
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My wife and I bought a 40%-share of a housing association property

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My wife and I bought a 40%-share of a housing association property under a shared-ownership scheme. The new 3-bedroomed property was valued around £230,500. The problem we have is that the property is located within a 'development' which includes shared-ownership properties and social-housing rented properties. For the sake of brevity take the issue of 'social housing' in a negative light--NB, we all realise that 'social housing' does not always [or even usually] equal a difficult social environment, by default. However in this case, I fear that it may do. There are continual problems with the social tenants including anti-social noise, anti-social refuse disposal and the knock-on problems these issues seem to attract from external factors--e.g., the 'development' [a proto sink estate in reality] is seen as such by certain types of passers by, who then think it's OK to use the grounds as a urinal, fly-posting dump or a place to 'hide out'.
The reason for painting this picture is because of course none of this was disclosed in any marketing materials for the purchase of the share [One would not expect these issues to be disclosed.] The question is, since the factors I describe could have an impact on the valuation of the share given above, was the given sum justified? And if note, are there any grounds for having the share of the property revalued?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Matt J replied 1 year ago.

Matt J :

HI I will try and help

Matt J :

when did you by this property?

Matt J :

also how long has the development existed? (I realise such developments are built in stages, and so what state

Matt J :

is the development currently in, and when was the development started?

Customer:

Hi,May 28th,

Customer:

Sorry, I meant to write that the property purchase was completed on May 28th, the development has existed for about twelve months I believe, the development is about 95% complete. It understand the development was started early in 2011.

Matt J :

do any of the anti social mater directly affect you (i.e from adjoining neighbours) ?

Matt J :

I may be off line for a while but please post a reply and I will come back to you

Customer:

Whilst, no, the anti-social activities are not directed against my family specifically [we live on an upper storey which is secured by security doors] we can of course hear the noise component of the complaint and witness anti social actions like climbing of lamp posts and roofs of various utility buildings--both of these are examples of occurrences my wife and I have witnessed. Most importantly from our point of view, it's often difficult to get our one-year old child to sleep due to noise which at times does not abate until late at night.

Matt J :

Hi sorry for the delay

Matt J :

I am on line now so will monitor this thread throughout the day

Matt J :

before you bought your property your solicitors/conveyancer would have asked come questions (either pre-populated questions or specific ones) were you ever given a copy of these, and if so do you remember if any of them related to anti social behaviour and what the replies were?

Customer:

Hi, thanks for your responses.

Customer:

I would need to check some of the original paper from the solicitor work to be 100% sure about any anti-social behaviour parts in the notes or documents provided by our solicitor. I'll do that this evening and reply more fully then. Thanks.

Customer:

Hi,

Customer:

I have checked the 'shared ownership lease' and identified 3 sections which could relate to anti-social behaviour, however these part are not in the form of questions or answers. I will note the parts more or less verbatim. 1. Under 'Leaseholder's Covenants', a 'section 3.18 Restrictions on use' "Not to do any act or thing which may ...(b) cause or permit to be caused nuisance, annoyance or disturbance to the owners lessees or occupiers of premises in the neighbourhood or visitors to such premises;"...Additionally, under 'Landlord's Covenants', a 'section 5.7 enforce covenants in other leases' "If so required by the Leaseholder to enforce the tenant's covenants similar to those contaned

Customer:

[continues] "similar to those contained in this Lease which are or may be entered into by the tenants of other flats in the Building so far as they affect the Premises provided that the Leaseholder indemnifies the Landlord against all cost and expenses of such enforcement." [end of section.]

Customer:

Sorry that's only 2 sections, but they are the relevant sections identified with the Lease. Thanks

Matt J :

HI thanks


 


In fact the details in the lease was a secondary point I was going to come onto, however it is handy you have identified these.


 


Firstly however to address the questions/answers that I was asking were provided; When a person buys a property from a private individual, and a question is asked about anti social behaviour, and the reply turns out to be false then there may be a case for breach of contract by way of misrepresentation. This could lead to a claim for damages


 


In your case things are a bit more difficult as the Housing association is not an individual and, as they obviously don’t live in the property, won’t have the same degree of knowledge as an individual. However they may have some knowledge where formal complaints have been made previously. You need to look at the questions raised by your Solicitor (if any) and the answers given, and you may need to make a Freedom of Information Act request for details of past complaints made (not an easy task as they may argue they are not a public body, but there is recent case law confirming that housing associations are public bodies for procurement purposes). Essentially if there were complaints made, and your solicitors asked if there were anti-social problems, and the HA have a record of anti-social complaints, and they failed to disclose them you may have a case for breach of contract for misrepresentation.


 


If for some reason you cannot build a case on the above basis, then you need to look at the Lease. As you have identified in clause 5.7 there is an obligation on the Landlord to enforce covenants against other owners of properties, however as you have also pointed out there is no nuisance behaviour made directly towards your family. Therefore the HA may have difficulty identifying exactly who and what to enforce against.


 


There is no clear answer I am afraid. One practical solution is to keep a diary of the various events, and then write to the HA indentifying those and keep writing so there is a build up of evidence. If the HA fail to do something over a period of time you will have more of a case against them for failing to enforce the covenants in the lease.


 


In addition you should keep calling your local police, as event if they don’t do something right away, if you keep ringing they will identify hot spot areas of antisocial behaviour over a period of time and re-direct resources as necessary. Finally remember to speak to your local Councillors/MP who will take an interest in problem areas.


 


I hope this helps. Please click to leave me positive feedback so I can be paid for my time. You can re-visit an ask any follow up questions you need on this matter

Matt J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 550
Experience: LLB(HONS)
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