Do I have grounds to pull out

FKH

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244
"One minute he is saying things in a very optimistic way then he said at one point today that we dont really have a case to pull out yet because the builder basically has 18 months to finish the build from last april. he then contradicted this by saying that the as the builder basically forced us to snag that this changes the situation."

The builder fixed the Completion Date by giving you notice that the works were finished but if you do not agree that any works left to do are minor (snagging) then the prescribed course is that an arbitrator would determine whether the defects were minor or major and if major they cannot rely on the Completion Date and must set a new one when the works have been remedied. There is an argument that the builder would have the balance of the 18 months to finish the apartment if the defects were of a major nature.

You could suggest that your solicitor write stating that you do not accept that defects are minor and that you want to refer the matter to arbitration unless the builder accepts in writing that the problems are major and rectifies them. Also state that you do not accept that the Completion Notice is valid.
 

dub1

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79
In fairness to him he did say that but at the same time he seemed to indicate that we had a good case. That was until he ran it past a barrister last week who basicaally said that the builder has 18 months to fix these problems from the time contracts were signed, regardless of the fact that he actually forced us to snag. That was 8 weeks ago and we have heard absolutely nothing since. I have been to the site and nothing has been touched. My solicitor is finding it impossible to get a response from the builders solicitor. He has written, faxed and makes calls. At this stage I dont think that the builder has the intention of doing anything for the foeseeable future. My solicitor cannot get any kind of timeframe at all. I think either the builder does not have the funds to make good the problems(approx €40000) or else he is finding it difficult to find a solution. Surely there must be a way out of this mess. I'm in a situation where I sold my house last year and have been renting thinking that I would be well settled in this property at this stage(when I put the deposit down in Feb the builder said that the property was more or less ready). I now have to move because where I'm living now is being sold. Do I move to short term(not the easiest to find), medium or long term accomodation. Its a complete mess
 

dub1

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79
Sorry fkh I didnt see your post there on page 2 before I replied to the last comment on page 1. It sounds like good advice. I am aslo going to call another solicitor tomorrow(that has been reccomended) as i don't feel that mine really gives a damn to be honest. I actually very rarely get to speak to him. Its normally just his legal secretary. To be honest I'm not holding out any hope at this stage
 

dub1

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Hi. I got a call from the builders foreman on Wednesday asking for my structural engineer to meet next Thursday at the property with the builder and his architecht. I asked if all the issues had been addressed. He said that they had and that the place was immaculate. I asked for an email to be sent to myself and my solicitor confirming that next Thursday is basically my snaggers reinspection and to confirm in the email that all the issues have been addressed. I asked for this twice but have not recieved it. I'm now not sure of the exact purpose of this meeting on Thursday(which I will definately attend aswell). I also drove past the property today and noticed someone inside. I rang the bell. When the door was opened(by a worker that recognised me) i just let myself in. He looked a little edgy and uncomfortable. I had a good look aroung. The place looked like a bomb hit it. I also checked the windows and there is still alot of moisture inside them. I went to the lower lever and low and behold what did I see only a dehumidifier. The main issue here is the excessively high moisture levels, especially in the lowest level. Im assuming that there is still major dampness hence the dehumidifier. Im convinced more than ever that the builder is a con man. But I realised today that I really love this property. But the last thing that I want is to buy a property with problems. Surely if the property is still showing major problems on Thursday then I will have strong grounds to pull out and will not have to adhere to the condition in the policy that states that the builder has 18 months to basically finish the property?????
 

FKH

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244
I'd still be of the opinion that you're stuck with the 18 month time period for completion. It sounds like the builder is trying to dry the place out prior to your inspection in this instance.

I would perhaps also suggest that the builder go through his solicitor in writing rather than telephone you. I notice that you are already looking for everything in writing. If he phones you just ask his to get his solicitor to write to your solicitor to confirm everything.

I don't think it's necessarily a re-inspection as you disputed that the work was finished in the first place. As him to send a new completion statement to your solicitor stating that the propetry is finished. If he does this it is an admission that the property wasn't ready first time.
 

dub1

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79
The "reinspection" was done yesterday. There was still high levels of dampness. The builder had the heating on full blast in the lower level right up until we arrived(the room where the dehumidifier was). In fairness to the structural engineer he went all out and checked absolutely everything. We were there for about 3 hours overall. He found some building regulation problems. The head height clearance is approx 200mm lower than building requirements in places(on the stairsetc). He said that this is a serious issue. The engineer has been involved in a number of cases where there are contract issues. Another issue is general differences(window sizes, room sizes etc) in the property and the plans that were submitted into the contract. Is this considered serious?. Another odd thing is that I went into the civic offices on Tuesday and got a copy of the planning file. The plans that were approved are completely different than what was built. Not just small differences, completely different. The property is even 20sq metres smaller now than what was approved by planning. Is this an issue that I can do anything with. The builder seemed quite nervous yesterday. On a separate issue the property next door was destroyed(and the property below it)yesterday due to a burst pipe. I called in and the place is a complete mess. Im now feeling even less confident about the whole development now. Any further advice?
 
M

mercman

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Have you received confirmation from HomeBond that the property is covered under their Policy. Are you sure that you really want to purchase this property. If the property is completely different from the plans submitted with the contract, your solicitor should be able to extract you from this purchase. The destroyed properties next door and
below should be a complete indication as to what you are getting into.
 

aircobra19

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2,736
I'd make every effort to get out of that. You'll just be plagued with endless problems and big bills for years to come. It will break your heart. You'll never be able to sell it either. I expect the builder realises the same. Once he loses the people currently signed up, he'll never sell the properties to anyone else, once they see/inspect them.
 

dub1

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79
my solicitor is to provide the engineer with all documentation today before he does up his report. correct me if im wrong but do homebond not provide their certs very early on in the build(i was always of the impression that these certs were only given after the property was finished). With regard to the property being completely different from the plans, this is correct. But its only completely different from the plans that were approved by Dublin City Council. It is different(but not massively) from the drawings as submitted into the contracts. As I didnt buy from the original plans would I have any grounds to pull out here(the proprty has lost 20sq metres frm the original approved plans). After yesterday I want out. Its obvious that the builder has masked some of the dampness by way of the dehumidifier. My worry is that a year down the line the dampness could become a very serious issue again. The engineer seems to think that I have strong grounds to pull out(especially due to the building regulations that were not adhered to). But at the end of the day he is not a solicitor. After saying that he has been much more help to me than my solicitor, who is a complete waste
 
M

mercman

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Not only should you try and get out of the House purchase, you should give serious consideration to changing your solicitor. You are wasting valuable time and money in trying to fix a problem not of your making. Using a dehumidifier will only temperairily hide a damp problem If the root cause of the dampness is not sorted, there will be massive problems further down the road.
 

aircobra19

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2,736
Get a better solicitor. I would guess theres more problems you haven't found, plumbing, electrics etc.
 

dub1

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sounds like good advice. Does anyone know a good conveyance solicitor(the impression thaat I get is that my solictor has earned the majority of his fee at this stage and just wants rid of thiss at this stage)
 
M

mercman

Guest
IMO, it doesn't work this way. He charged you his fee to exchange contracts on a house purchase. If he doesn't want to move matters forward, let him refund you. Not sure what part of the country you are in, but I would suggest you use a heavyweight law firm to get you out of this. However, I would have the existing solicitor write to the builder's solicitor to have your deposit refunded and to advise of your intentions and from hereon in all the expenses will be for his account.
 
M

mercman

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And say nothing to your existing solicitor about moving for the time being.
 

Kate10

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Hi Dub1,

I hear that you are feeling very frustrated with your solicitor, but in fairness to him/her this is not a black and white situation, and you are looking for a black and white answer.

You signed contracts that allowed for an 18 months build period. It's going to be very tricky for any solicitor to get you out of this contract. The builder has to breach a fundamental term of the contract before you can rescind it. The fact that the builder asked you to snag a house that was in no way ready is bad but it's not bad enough to be a fundamental breach. That is why your counsel said you did not have grounds to pull out.

Having said that, matters seem to have progressed more since then, and there are a couple of things I would say to you:

1. Homebond issue a number of certificates and the final certificate only issues after the house is complete and has been inspected by them.
2. The fact that your deposit is held by the solicitor for the builder as stakeholder is very positive.
3. Your job now is to hang in there, be patient, and work your way out of this situation. It won't be fixed overnight but if you do everything right you will either get all of your money back and walk away or ultimately get a house that is structurally sound.

Ok, so this is what I think you should do next:

The planning permission issue is the biggest negotiating point you have, assuming that the information you have gathered is correct. I know that you got plans from the LA, but you should be aware that the builder could have submitted plans at a later date that were substantially different. Do you definitely have the most recent set of plans approved by the LA?

Confirm that first. If you do have them, then contact your solicitor. I think it would be best to email him at this stage with the info you have gathered. Tell him that your engineer has confirmed that the properties are in breach of planning permission (make sure that your engineer is on board with this). It is likely that you solicitor will write to the other side putting this to them, and telling them that you believe this to be a fundamental breach of contract, and if they cannot provide evidence to the contrary you intend to repudiate the contract. While the builder could argue that he could still remedy this problem within the next 18 months, you will be putting him under serious pressure (he is really not going to want to address this on all the properties), and you will be building up your grounds to pull out.

Having said that Dub, I think its very unlikely that he is so obviously in breach of his planning permission ...it's pretty extreme ...

Be patient. You are in a messy situation and there are no easy answers. Work with your solicitor and you will come out the far end.

Best of luck.

Kate.
 

Bronte

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13,632
If the house has not been built according to plan then you cannot get a certificate of compliance with planning unless you get a false one. No solicitor would allow you to purchase without this. If the house is smaller than what was in the contract then you will have grounds to pull out, that would be a serious contractual matter, especially a difference of 20 sq m. The height problem cannot be rectified easily and that is a serious issue as it doesn't comply with building regulations. The dehumidifier and heater will temporarily disguise the underlying damp problems. As previous posters have said you should try and get out of this contract.
 

dub1

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79
Hi, I appreciate your replys. I did verify with Dublin City Council that what they had was the final plans that were submitted. But as I said earlier this may not help our case much seeing as we did not buy off the plans(its not like we can argue that the house wasnt built as per what we thought it would.). There are differences from the contract plans but nowhere near as major as the original plans. The 20sq metrre loss is also from the original plans aswell. According to the Structural Engineer the height restriction problems that they have breached would be impossible to remedy. Aside from his own experience the engineers wife used to be a senior planner for Dublin City Council, so I assume he is getting good advice from her. He really is going beyond the call of duty on this for me. So do you think that I should for now stick with the solicitor that I have. I dont have a problem at this stage playing the waiting game. On a slightly separate issue the engineer did an assessment of the external area of the development(its only 12 units). He said that the builder has breached so many safety issues. You are right its a messy situation, and one which I think will get a lot messier.
 
G

gwladys st

Guest
Hello Dub1, I am in a very similar situation. I paid a deposit last May 07 and the they only finished the house last week but the site is a total mess, barely 20% finished with houses at foundation stage or less right beside mine. I don’t want it now and have offered to forfeit my deposit but have heard nothing as to whether they accept this or not. according to my contract they had 18 months to finish my house, therefore this runs out on Monday and while they have finished the house itself no one could live happily there and its looks to me like there is a good 6 or 12 months work left before its remotely liveable. I have recently been on to a few TD's as i want this highlighted that the law seems to protect the builder far too much and because of the last 15 years great economy this has never come to light. I believe people like us need to possibly get together and campaign about this issue as there is strength in numbers. I totally understand your current situation and distress and would be happy to talk to you if you feel you would like to help highlighting this issue which i feel is affecting many people right now with the way things have gone.
 
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