Misrepresentation

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Volumiza
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Misrepresentation

Post by Volumiza » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:15 pm

Hi all,

To cut a hugely long and nasty story short, we purchased our house as seen and lived happily there for a few years before realizing that a strip of our land had been fenced off providing a pathway for the sole use of one of our neighbours to access a parking area behind our garden.

After trying to discuss this with the neighbours and claim the land back while still letting them use it as access (a stupid act of goodwill which did us no good whatsoever) we found ourselves very quickly in an adverse possession claim / dispute which, when that failed, turned into a boundary dispute and when that failed turned into a prescriptive easement claim which has so far failed. This has taken up nearly 2 years of our lives, been unbearably stressful and really put a lot of strain on us as individuals and as a couple. Our neighbours have a history of boundary and encroachment disputes which were never declared in our sellers information pack.

Looking closer at the sellers information pack there are four very clear lies from our vendors, all relating to this strip of land. We obviously feel incredibly angry at both our neighbours and our vendors. We will carry on dealing with our neighbours appropriately and go to the very end in court if necessary but it is our vendors that now I feel angry with.

Surely, they cannot move a boundary and not declare it to the buyer. They must have know about one dispute at least as it was between them and the same neighbours that we are in dispute with. Denied any formal or informal arrangements regarding rights of way and access. To me the sellers information pack should have contained all the details of this and we would not have touched our house with a bargepole!

Our solicitor has advised us that it would not be worth filing a claim for misrepresentation as we have, as yet, suffered no financial loss but surely that cannot be right? We have endured and continue to endure harassment, intimidation and bullying from our neighbours which has caused constant and unbearable stress. Has anyone else had any experience of filing for misrepresentation? If so, what were your experiences?

Thanks,
Vol

MacadamB53
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Re: Misrepresentation

Post by MacadamB53 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:40 pm

Hi Volumiza,

IMHO you need to change sols if that is what your current one has to say...

kind regards, Mac

Volumiza
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Re: Misrepresentation

Post by Volumiza » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:51 pm

Hi Mac,

Thanks for the response. This is my thought but at the minute we're at a crucial point in our dispute so I'm reluctant to change track now.

I am planning on keeping the misrepresentation issue separate to the current dispute but surely losses can't just be judged in financial terms?

Vol.

MacadamB53
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Re: Misrepresentation

Post by MacadamB53 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:13 pm

Volumiza wrote:Hi Mac,

Thanks for the response. This is my thought but at the minute we're at a crucial point in our dispute so I'm reluctant to change track now.

I am planning on keeping the misrepresentation issue separate to the current dispute but surely losses can't just be judged in financial terms?

Vol.
the grounds would be that you would not have bought the property for the agreed sum.

the seller was legally required to inform you of precisely the kind of thing which he didn’t, and his failure to do so leaves him open to a claim of misrepresentation.

kind regards, Mac

Roblewis
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Re: Misrepresentation

Post by Roblewis » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:13 pm

Conveyancing sols are among the worst for belittling misrepresentation. Only a competent surveyor can adjudge the difference between the values with the land and what it is now worth with the path installed. Get a decent litigation sol asap. The last case on misrepresentation that was reported formally equated to a 50% of purchase price as damages. My own equate to 20%. You do NOT need to accrue an actual loss of money.

Volumiza
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Re: Misrepresentation

Post by Volumiza » Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:24 am

Hi Rob,

There isn’t currently a path on our garden now, we put up a new fence and have reset the boundary. Technically we have a bigger and more private garden.

Im not really even after any money, I just don’t think people should be able to get away with selling a house with a fudged sellers information pack and a massive legal dispute hanging over the property. Our vendors had already been in dispute about this strip of land and we assume that under a barrage of what we have faced fences it off for next door. Since we have faced almost constant harassment and intimidation. Surely they can’t just get away with it Scot free?

Vol

Collaborate
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Re: Misrepresentation

Post by Collaborate » Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:40 am

I presume that the neighbours claims against you failed. Were you taken to court and had all your legal fees reimbursed (or did insurance take care of all your legal fees?)?

I suspect what the solicitor is telling you is that you need to consider the remedy you'll get. If you have suffered no financial loss, what do you hope to achieve by suing the previous owners? You have to set out when you take them to court what you want as a remedy.

Volumiza
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Re: Misrepresentation

Post by Volumiza » Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:48 am

Also, is there a time limit to bring about a case of misrepresentation? We’ve been in the house a few years before this all raised its head.

Thanks,
Vol

Volumiza
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Re: Misrepresentation

Post by Volumiza » Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:55 am

Collaborate wrote:I presume that the neighbours claims against you failed. Were you taken to court and had all your legal fees reimbursed (or did insurance take care of all your legal fees?)?

We saw off the adverse possession claim quite easily, so too the boundary dispute. The right of way claim is open till December. As yet none of this has actually got further than litigation thank the lord.

I suspect what the solicitor is telling you is that you need to consider the remedy you'll get. If you have suffered no financial loss, what do you hope to achieve by suing the previous owners? You have to set out when you take them to court what you want as a remedy.
I don’t know what I hope to achieve. Is justice too idealistic? As stated we’ve been bullied, harassed, intimidated (we have enough video and photographic evidence to bring legal action on our NFH and May yet do so) to such an extent we’ve even considered selling up! If we could get some form of compensation, just so our vendors don’t just walk off into the sunset without some kind of recourse.

Thanks,
Vol

Roblewis
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Re: Misrepresentation

Post by Roblewis » Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:03 pm

Unfortunately Civil Law will only give financial remedies. If the path has now gone and your garden only accessed by your permission then your only losses are limited to the cost of achieving this. The time limit is six years from the date of your first knowledge to start action. Might I suggest the small claims court as a vehicle for a claim of a few thousand. County courts and higher will be very expensive whether you win or lose. You could of course start an action and then withdraw after giving your vendors some worrying months but this is not a purpose of litigation. I was fortunate to find a sol who gave a conditional fee agreement, you may have suitable insurance or very deep pockets. Typically a county court case can cost around £60k by the time of judgement when it is contested

ukmicky
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Re: Misrepresentation

Post by ukmicky » Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:17 pm

Looking closer at the sellers information pack there are four very clear lies from our vendors, all relating to this strip of land.
Which are.
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion

jonahinoz
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Re: Misrepresentation

Post by jonahinoz » Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:11 am

... to such an extent we’ve even considered selling up!

Hi Vol,

YOU seem to have instigated a dispute. Nothing wrong with that, but it will be very unhelpful if you do decide to sell.

I'm guessing that your neighbour used to cross your garden close to the end boundary?

Me? I would think about making a "without prejudice" offer to sell that strip to my neighbour (he pays legal expenses, and pays the fence that you will erect and own), setting the price at what he would be silly to refuse. It will probably cost you less in the long run. Just because you are right, that is not a guarantee that a judge will agree with you.

You will still own what you saw when you bought the house, and have a bundle of cash as well, and no dispute when you come to sell.

Your neighbour (bless his cotton socks) will have documentary title to the strip, and have increased the value of his property ... sorry about that.

It would be nice if the conveyance included a "handshake".

John W

Volumiza
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Re: Misrepresentation

Post by Volumiza » Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:11 am

hi Jonah, thanks for the response but my post is regarding our vendors, I don't want to go too far into our dispute at this point as it is still ongoing but don't agree that we started it. Initially I just wanted to clarify who owned it, we felt there had been a bit of a deception but at NO point did I ask they stop using it.

When this dispute is finished I will post a detailed description of events as it makes for very interesting reading and will hopefully serve as a precautionary tale regarding buying old houses with shared access and right's of way.

For the time being I am just weighing up the odds of taking action against our vendors as we feel they dropped us right up the creek without a paddle! Do I just let it go?
ukmicky wrote:
Looking closer at the sellers information pack there are four very clear lies from our vendors, all relating to this strip of land.
ukmicky wrote:
Looking closer at the sellers information pack there are four very clear lies from our vendors, all relating to this strip of land.
Which are.

I haven't the documents with me but along the lines of:

1.'Standing on the road, facing the property, who is responsible for the laft hand boundary?' This is the boundary with the path in question but our vendors put 'I don't know'. We should have looked at this closer I admit but in the deeds it states very clearly that they were responsible for that boundary. We could look at this as an oversight maybe but added to other fudged answers I'm not so sure.

2. Are there any or have there been any disputes between your property or any surrounding properties? They answered no. We've since found out that they themselves had solicitors involved with the same neighbours we are involved with pertaining to the very same strip of land. We also know of another boundary dispute between our neighbours and another neighbour. Knowing our row of houses we find it very hard to believ our vendors wouldn't have known about this either.

3. Are there any formal or informal agreements regarding boundaries / rights of way with neighbours? They answered no again. Seeing as they fenced of a strip of land soley for their then neighbours that isn't documented in any deeds or transfers this is very much an informal agreement.

4. Are there any possible causes for future disputes between your porperty and any surrounding properties? They answered no again but surely seeing as they had already had a dispute about this strip of land and moved the boundary feature, they MUST have known it could rear its head again.

Thanks,
Vol.

pilman
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Re: Misrepresentation

Post by pilman » Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:24 pm

I always understood that pain and suffering were reasons why damages were awarded in certain types of court proceedings, rather than actual financial loss.

In this posting the price paid for a property with a current dispute that was not declared by the seller, can be considered to be a financial loss if more money was paid to purchase the property than would have been paid if all the facts regarding the disputed land were known about by the prospective buyer.

Either a lesser price would have been negotiated, or no sale would have proceeded.
The current situation whereby solicitors' fees have been incurred in order to argue against claims made by the neighbour is also money that need not have been spent if the dispute had been correctly declared by the Seller.

The six year Limitation Period for making a claim started when it was realised that there was an ongoing dispute about this land and boundary fence that had first started prior to when the previous owners decided to sell the property.

The Sellers Property Information Form does seem to have been completed to deliberately misrepresent what was known by the Sellers when they completed the document.

A decision as to whether this is the matter for legal proceedings needs to take into account what a decent litigation solicitor will advise, which will immediately start the costs involved in any legal case.

Your current solicitor doesn't seem to be capable of offering sensible advice if he is advising a claim will depend solely on financial loss.

Volumiza
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Re: Misrepresentation

Post by Volumiza » Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:16 pm

pilman wrote:I always understood that pain and suffering were reasons why damages were awarded in certain types of court proceedings, rather than actual financial loss.

In this posting the price paid for a property with a current dispute that was not declared by the seller, can be considered to be a financial loss if more money was paid to purchase the property than would have been paid if all the facts regarding the disputed land were known about by the prospective buyer.

Either a lesser price would have been negotiated, or no sale would have proceeded.
The current situation whereby solicitors' fees have been incurred in order to argue against claims made by the neighbour is also money that need not have been spent if the dispute had been correctly declared by the Seller.

The six year Limitation Period for making a claim started when it was realised that there was an ongoing dispute about this land and boundary fence that had first started prior to when the previous owners decided to sell the property.

The Sellers Property Information Form does seem to have been completed to deliberately misrepresent what was known by the Sellers when they completed the document.

A decision as to whether this is the matter for legal proceedings needs to take into account what a decent litigation solicitor will advise, which will immediately start the costs involved in any legal case.

Your current solicitor doesn't seem to be capable of offering sensible advice if he is advising a claim will depend solely on financial loss.
We would not have bought the house had we known what was waiting for us, we have both said that. We love our home and the village it is in but at what price? There wasn't an ongoing dispute Pilman, it had been resolved in some fashion. As earlier stated, we suspect that our vendors probably approached our neighbours in the same way we did and, when faced with a barrage of hatred as we have been, they decided to cut their losses and fence a strip of land off for them. We can't know for certain but that seems the most likely.

I don't know, some days I feel like letting it all go and others I feel like suing our vendors. People are right, we haven't lost money and we have ended up with a bigger and more private garden but crikey, what stress and all avoidable had our vendors been truthful.

Thanks,
Vol

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