We were recently contacted by a homeowner who, after completing the purchase of a property, noticed there were problems with its structure following internal modifications. He was concerned that building regulations consent had not been provided or any indemnity insurance put in place. Were his solicitors at fault? Find out below.
Q. I recently purchased a house as a cash buyer. Since moving in, I have discovered problems with an RSJ installed previously when a wall was removed. I have now found there is neither building regulations consent nor indemnity insurance for the work.
I have been chasing my solicitor about it, but she is ignoring my calls. It seems I now must pay for a structural survey and for a professional to come and assess the situation. Should my solicitor have arranged indemnity insurance?
A. Indemnity insurance is possible for a lack of building regulations consent but gives no reassurance as to the safety of the works. Your solicitor should have provided you with the Property Information Form in which the seller should have disclosed all works to the house.
The building regulations completion certificate for the removal of the wall should have been obtained from the seller. If it was unavailable, and no certificate was revealed in the local authority search, your solicitor should have raised enquiries to the seller's solicitor.
Your solicitor should have advised you to have a survey. A report from a structural engineer would have been another option.
Ask your solicitor's firm for details of its complaints procedure and explain in writing what has happened and your concerns. If your complaint is not dealt with satisfactorily, you may go to the Legal Ombudsman.
You may have a claim if your solicitor failed to advise you properly. You could also request a copy of her file, so that you can see what steps were taken. If the sellers failed to disclose the removal of the wall, there may be a claim for misrepresentation.
Have Questions After a Recent Property Purchase?
If you have questions after a recent property purchase, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our conveyancing law team. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have and advise on your rights.