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Buying ex-council property - HELP

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  • Buying ex-council property - HELP

    Hi,

    I am in the process of purchasing a semi-detached in a lovely residential area. My solicitor has just informed me that the house is an ex-council property acquired by current owner more than 20 years ago via a right to buy scheme. There are restrictive convenants in place which state that any external alteration of the property needs to be approved by the local authority aside from the planning permission/BR.

    I feel very let down because I was not forewarned by this. I had discussed the sale in detail with the vendor prior to making an offer and feel that the house is not adequately priced given these circumstances. Both myself and the owner had recently gone through costly experiences of pulling out of the sale because of similar issues in my case/ buyer pulling out at last minute in theirs and we agreed that both parties were going to be very straightforward in order to move the sale quickly. The house is in need of work and I am going above my initial budget because it really is lovely - I just feel tricked now and not sure what my options are. I cannot understand whether it is a right decision to go on with the sale as is - I looked at house prices in the area and the most recent sale from last year was considerably lower than my offer for an identical house.

    Any advice greatly appreciated!

    Thank you.

  • #2
    Re: Buying ex-council property - HELP

    The restrictive covenants are not an issue at all because many builders impose similar covenants requiring their consent for alterations on houses on their estates so you could well find the equivalent restriction on any non-ex Council house you found.

    The price depends on the area. If the house is on a large estate where there are all kinds of tell tale signs of anti-social behaviour etc then the price will be lower than where these signs are not so evident and there are maybe only a few houses which were Council in what was otherwise a private estate. So I don't think the mere fact of it being ex-Council should put you off or would alter the value - it is the area generally you should look at - and many older Council houses were built to much higher standards than private ones, so that is a plus.
    RICHARD WEBSTERwww.rwco.co.uk
    As a conveyancing solicitor I want to be helpful (England/Wales only) but can't accept liability for this.

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    • #3
      Re: Buying ex-council property - HELP

      Thanks for that.

      We had a survey done and it came back negative with lots of issues highlighted. The surveyor also commented that in his opinion the issues above might affect saleability. The house is in need of major rennovation and it no longer justifies the price. I guess the owner is just naive or has no experience as a first time seller, either way I have to re-negotiate my offer as there is no way I can afford the expenses just to bring it back to a decent standard. I had to spend solicitor and survey fees to discover this, incredibly frustrating!

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      • #4
        Re: Buying ex-council property - HELP

        What a pity that HIPs were abolished. This is just the sort of problem they were intended to address. But you have to remember that, had such information been provided before you spent money progressing the deal, solicitors would not have received fees for abortive work.

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        • #5
          Re: Buying ex-council property - HELP

          I totally agree. This is the second house I am trying to purchase and I lost money on both to find out stuff that comes up through local searches. I don't understand why vendors choose to hide things deliberately in the hope buyers will not notice. With the market being tough, buyers will demand that at least the basic things be in place and you will eventually end up having to re-negotiate because you cannot sweep things under the carpet...I guess I should have picked up on this because the buyer before us asked for a considerable reduction and ended up pulling out of the deal - money aside, there is nothing that can compensate for the time and effort and frustration. The lack of professionalism of the estate agents inflating the prices is unbelievable, no wonder the market is in such a state.

          Sorry, just had to vent...

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