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Can i sue my builder

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  • Can i sue my builder


    I am a new member to the forun and this is my first post.

    I was approved by Thames Valley Housing to buy a property on home equity loan. They have initially given me about 3 months to find a property and exchange the contract. I have chosen a brand new 2 bedroom property and the estate agent told me that the property is ready to move in and told that we need to keep £1000 deposit to reserve the flat. The condition was that the £1000 deposit will not be refunded if we cannot exchange in 28 days. I have paid the money on September 21st. But after that we were told that there were some errors in the property deeds and the exchange was delayed for more than a month. Finally when the property deeds were sorted out, it turned out that Thames Water had a right of way through the property and since then the vendor has been trying to sort the issue with Thames Water. So, far this issue has not been resolved.

    Today is the deadline from Thames Valley Housing for exchanging the propery and if we do not exchange today my mortgage offer will be cancelled and the deposit from Thames Valley Housing will be withdrawn and i wont be able to buy the property. The builder today came back and said that Thames Water have agreed to sign papaers confirming that they no longer have right of way and this will be done next week. My solicitor asked if he can sign a conditional exchange contract so that he can produce the evidence within the next 2 weeks before completion date. He agreed to the conditional exchange, but he is refusing to give back the deposit should he fail to obtain confirmation from Thames Water regarding the right of the way. He is also not willing to return the deposit even we do not exchange.

    Also, the agreed price of the property was £175,000 and because he failed to exchange in the agreed 28 days now i have to pay the stamp duty of £1750. Also, based on their confirmation, we had to give notice to the place where i was renting and had to vacate on Jan 4th. I have kept all my furniture in storage and living in a temporary accomodation.

    I am very much angered and frustrated by the whole episode and the stress is getting to me. Is there a way i can sue this developer and do something about this?

    Thanks for any advice offered.

  • #2
    Re: Can i sue my builder

    Have you taken legal advice from a solicitor about this? Simply because I think the whole situation depends on

    i) terms of the contract
    ii) fairness of the contract

    I'm not a solicitor, but if the inability to fulfil the exchange was due to the builder then I would personally expect there to be room to claim back both the deposit and not be eligible for stamp duty, on the grounds that the builder failed their contractual obligations.

    Which is why it depends on the terms of the contract in the first place, and how fair they can be judged to be if there's no dispensation for failure for the builder to fulfil their part.

    I would hope there are grounds to claim the builder was in breach of contract, but there are too many uncertainties without a legal professional going over the actual factual details of the agreement.