Question: A year ago we bought a flat in a block. Major repairs to the roof are about to start and all the flat owners must give £5,000 to contribute to the cost. We were not told about this when we bought, but we now know it was planned for two years, that a consultation took place and quotes were obtained. Surely we should have been warned about this when we bought? How do you find out about these things?
Answer: The contract bundle received by the buyer's solicitor from the seller's solicitor should include a leasehold information form, which is a list of questions the seller has to answer. One asks if they know of any expense not usually incurred on an annual basis which is likely to be shown in the service charge accounts within the next three years. Another asks if the seller has received any notices about the building's use, repair, condition or maintenance. So the seller should have disclosed the intended roof repairs in the form.
Your solicitor should also have sent enquiries to the seller's solicitor to be forwarded to the management company or landlord, asking about any anticipated major expenditure in the next three years, the estimated cost and when the financial outlay would be due.
It appears the seller and/or management company or landlord failed to disclose the right information, or it may have been given but not interpreted or followed up correctly by your solicitor. Had you known about the work and the likely cost, presumably you might have offered less for the flat, or not bought. You've suffered loss and may wish to consider whether there has been an actionable misrepresentation.
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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