Prepare an essay reporting on the potential legal implications of the dispute and the remedies available to the owners to recover damages.
In your answer you are to explore the following areas:
• Any potential redress against the Vendors
• Any potential redress against the Local Authority
• Any potential redress against the Surveyor
• Any potential redress against the Architect
• Explain the defence, remedies and potential to recover from the allegations made by the neighbours.
In January 2013 Mr&Mrs Smith purchased 7 Flint Close, Ealing, London for the sum of £3,000,000 as a freehold property. This had recently been subject to major building works that have fully modernised and extended. The property is an established Victorian detached villa and is surrounded by similar long established properties. The Developer, B & Scarper Limited, an off shore company had marketed the property directly without an Estate Agent.
Mr&Mrs Smith when potential purchasers had met the developers, their Architects and the Builder in August 2012 for a social “Nibbles and Wine” gathering organised by invitation only for wealthy individuals seeking exclusive property investments in the Ealing area. During the event all the potential parties interested in the property were shown around and given a PowerPoint presentation by the Architect. The Architect presentation told the potential investors of the special nature of this unique design and how the property would become the most fashionable in Ealing.
The Nibbles and Wine were served on a quintessential English summer evening in the large rear garden. Mrs Smith was a very keen gardener. She noted that a garden space plot this size in Central London was very rare. The whole property and garden were of considerable appeal to Mr&Mrs Smith as a future home. Mrs Smith looked forward to landscaping and creating a new pond, tennis court and maybe a swimming pool for the grandchildren in this amazingly large space.
Mr Smith was impressed by the large wet room with a built in sound system that had full all around body jets that could massage from all sides for the ultimate total body shower experience. The Architects presentation showed a video demonstration of how amazing an experience this would be for the lucky owner. Obviously as this was a very “posh” party one was not allowed to try the area out for real, but Mr Smith was sure the dream on the video would be amazing in real life as he reached for his cheque book.
The evening was a great success and everyone was just “so nice” that Mr Smith agreed on the spot to purchase the property that night and handed across a substantial deposit to secure the deal. He asked a “friend of a friend” to send their 19 year old son around the place for some basic peace of mind. The son was a student at University, so “must know a bit about buildings” to undertaking a survey. Mr&Mrs Smith did not commission a formal survey from a firm of Chartered Surveyors as the Student had told them all they needed to know and after all the Architect was so very nice!
The student’s one page report gave a glowing summary of the property and thanked Mr&Mrs Smith for the introduction to the Developer. The student had so impressed the Developer when he had arrived to undertake the inspection that he now worked for B & Scarper Limited. The letter confirmed that he had had a walk around which was great practical experience for his course and that he hoped Mr&Mrs Smith enjoyed living in the new home.
Mr Smith had made a private fortune by cutting out of the middleman and therefore had got his secretary who used to be temporary administrative staff at a firm of property Solicitors to do the conveyance.
On the day of completion of the sale Mr&Mrs Smith were greeted as the removal lorry was unloading their furniture by the new neighbours. This was not a happy or friendly meeting.
The neighbours, Mr&Mrs Jones informed Mr&Mrs Smith that the new rear addition to 7 Flint Close was seriously removing light to their kitchen windows and if they did not demolish the new extension then “I’ll see you in court!
Mrs Smith rang the local authority immediately on her mobile and was first put through to the Building Regulations Department who informed her that they had no record of any building project at 7 Flint Close. The system did however show that the Planning Department had considered an application in December 2011. That application for Planning had been given permission for an extension and the permission was still live in the system.
Whilst talking on the phone Mrs Smith walked through the house expecting to find peace and quiet in her new dream garden. Before her was a small “postage stamp of turf” with a new fence. In the “large garden” a building site under construction. The sign before her eyes stated B & Scarper Limited were creating three new houses. These all were overlooking 7 Flint Close.
Mr&Mrs Smith were very upset and shocked by the realisation that what they believed they had purchased was not all they had hoped. Mr Smith need to think so headed for a relaxing shower to de-stress.
He set his favourite music track on the sound system and set the jets on full power, this had been a busy day so he felt he needed the full treatment. The experience was amazing such that he enjoyed being water massaged by the jets for a full half hour. The power of the system was everything he had hoped and he now understood why the property had needed the extra large water tanks. The volume of water was amazing.
On walking down stairs to make a drink in the kitchen Mr Smith was faced with a flood scene in the kitchen. All the water from the shower room above had escaped and destroyed the ceiling within the kitchen damaging all the decorations and getting into the storage boxes. These were yet to be unpacked but had been placed in the kitchen whilst they settled in. Everything in the boxes was water damaged ruined.
Mr Smith now has a crying wife and a problem so has rung you asking for help plus an urgent report on what are his potential remedies to salvage the situation?
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