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Conveyance Solicitor Professional Negligence (Long)


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In 2003 my mortgage company appointed a Conveyance solicitors to act on my behalf with regards to a 2 bedroom council property I wanted to purchase under the "Right To Buy" scheme Which I had planned to extend in to a 3-4 bedroom due to having a young family of 2.

 

My Mortgage company confirmed in writing to the solicitor that I would be borrowing additional funds to extend the property.

 

I received letter from the solicitor requesting me to pay £200 for search fees which included £40 for a drainage and water search. The amount requested was paid in full.

 

The solicitor then wrote to the local Borough Councils solicitor and confirmed the amount I was borrowing and notified them also that additional funds I was borrowing were to extend the property; they also enclosed a quotation that I had forwarded to my mortgage company from my builder.

 

The solicitors then carried out their searches.

On completion of all the searches I received a property report along with other paperwork from my solicitors. Before signing any paperwork, myself and a family member went through everything and there was nothing in any of the paperwork that would suggest that I should not go ahead with the purchase of the property. The only thing I recall is a warning about radon gases.

 

The purchase of the property was completed in August 2003.

 

In May 2004 I proceeded to extend my property as originally planned. I instructed an architect and plans were drawn up and then submitted to the planning dept.

 

My Plans were passed but when my application got to building regulations it was then flagged up. Building regs dept notified me that there were 2 main sewers running through where my proposed extension was to be. It was my understanding that these sewers should have been picked up not only by my architect but at a much earlier stage from the drainage and water search that was carried out by the solicitor. I contacted the solicitors in question and was told that I should have received paperwork for the drainage and water search. I checked all paperwork again that I received and could not find this paperwork nor can I ever recall receiving it. There is also nothing in the report that they complied that made me aware that 2 main sewers were running within the boundary of my property. Under drainage and water section in the report it just says we can confirm that you drainage is adopted by *** water company.

 

I made contact with the solicitor and asked them if they could send me a copy of the drainage and water search that they carried out. After calling back I was told that they could not find the paperwork in question. So through a solicitor I requested my complete file to be sent to my solicitors direct. On receiving my file my solicitor confirmed to me that there was no drainage and water search paperwork contained in my file. The solicitors in question had also confirmed in writing that they could not find the paperwork.

 

I contacted the company who originally carried out the search on behalf of the solicitors and they have confirmed in writing to me a search was carried out back in 2003 and that 4 main sewers! were found within my boundary.

 

The water company who own the sewers will not let me build over them and will only allow me to divert them which is going to cost 20k+

I have now instructed my solicitor to bring a case of negligence against the solicitors in question because had I known these sewers were there in 2003 and that they would stop me from extending my property I would not have purchased the property knowing that my boy and girl would be sharing a room. I would have put in for an exchange to a 3 bedroom instead.

 

At the moment the total losses that I have suffered amount close to 1.5k I still need to extend my property but can’t because of the sewers. Should I be able to claim damages for what it's going cost to me to divert the sewers? My solicitor says I can’t as I have not yet forked out the 20k and suffered an actual loss.

 

Any help would be appreciated

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I think you might have already suffered actual loss in that your boy and girl are going to have to be split up, isn't ten when they are not allowed to sleep in the same room, that will mean you moving.

 

I would go for the cost of the diversion. You could always make an enquiry from one of the no win no fee boys as they wont take it on unless they are sure of winning, and if they say they will, then instruct your solictor to carry on.

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Conniff thanks for your comments my solicitor is actually doing this on a No Win No fee conditional basis.

 

peterlucas this is what my solicitor is saying that I have not suffered a actual loss with the cost of the diversion which I can kind of understand but on the other hand I am going to suffer that loss.

 

Anyway I have spoken to a solicitor today who happened to be a member of the Law Society Professional Negligence Panel and although this is not legal advice this is what he said to me

 

Although not financial yet he said I am suffering a loss because I am unable to extend my property unless I divert the sewers at cost of 20k+ furthermore had I been able to build my extension the value of my property would have been a lot greater than what is now, he also mentioned about the interest I am paying on the extra funds I borrowed to extend which I am unable to pay back due to the clause in my mortgage conditions. He also agreed had I known about the sewers I would not have purchased the property and would have been re-housed by the council and would now be in at least a 3 bedroom house with the benefit of having separate bedrooms for my children.

 

I am going to relay these points back to my solicitor.

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