A flaw in the sale

Our lawyer Fiona McNulty looks at the legal implications of a contract being confirmed for the wrong property when buying off plan
Incorrect contract cartoon
© Malcolm Willett (www.willett-ink.co.uk)
Question: We bought an apartment off plan in July 2006 and paid the 10 per cent deposit and signed the contract within the 30-day time limit as specified.

We selected a third-floor flat, which covered the whole of the third floor, and we marked it with a laser pen on the selling agent’s development model.

We have discovered that we have signed contracts for a second-floor flat, which the selling agent calls the third floor.

Completion is due in December but we want to withdraw because the flat is not what we thought we bought. We feel badly let down by the agents as they filled in the forms incorrectly for the selling solicitors.

Answer: You mention that you feel badly let down by the selling agents but what about your own solicitors? Before you exchanged contracts in July 2006 your solicitor should have carried out the usual searches and enquiries in the 30-day period following acceptance of your offer.

Your solicitor should have established that the contract and draft lease referred correctly to the flat you intended to buy and that the boundaries of the flat, including the balcony area and the flat layout, were shown correctly on the lease plan/plans.

Indeed, when you signed the contract it would have been usual for you to sign the lease plan to confirm its accuracy. I suggest that you contact your solicitor as soon as possible.

One of the most important things to check when acting for a buyer in a property/land transaction is to ensure that the contract documents correspond with what the buyers think they are buying.

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the property team at Thring Townsend Lee & Pembertons Solicitors www.ttuk.com.

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