Can I get compensation for these delays?

Our lawyer, Fiona McNulty, answers your questions
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Delays with builders
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Question: I exchanged contracts on a flat in a new scheme that should have been completed in April. My mortgage offer expired in April but has been extended to June 22. However, the developer is still way behind schedule. My broker says if I have to get a replacement mortgage it will cost more, as the lending criteria has changed. This could put the whole deal in jeopardy. Will the developer compensate me for these delays?

Answer: I would be surprised if the developer was obliged to compensate you in these circumstances.

Many new builds run behind schedule and so it is unfortunate your broker arranged a mortgage due to expire in the same month the property was due to be completed, leaving no leeway for unforeseen circumstances. Your broker must try to get your mortgage offer renewed on the same terms.

Consider the terms of the contract which you have entered into with the developer. You are bound by these terms and will be in breach of contract if you fail to complete. Contracts should never be exchanged unless funds are in place to complete.

The contract should state the anticipated date of physical completion and what you are entitled to do if the completion date is delayed, eg if the delay is truly excessive you may be able to rescind the contract and have your deposit returned. However, the delay you are suffering is unlikely to allow you to do this.

Do tell the developer that your mortgage offer will lapse this month and if the property is not finished then you may not be able to complete. This may encourage the developer to get a move on but really, the problem is yours.

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the residential real estate team at Thring LLP (

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

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