Suing Estate Agent for damage

thecat777

Registered User
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10
HI, we are in a process of buying a house which has an extension. We went to see the house twice before we made an offer. The first time we specifically asked the Estate Agent if all documents are in order for the house extension, she said yes, the house is ready to go. On the second visit she said a few times that seller wants to sell quickly and house is ready to go. We subsequently made an offer that was accepted and during the conveyancing process , we discovered that there are no documents at all , no planning permission, which is required, no structural report for the structural alterations made, there are some additional electrical wiring around the house for which there is no cert either. We are ready to walk away from the sale after spending EUR 1,500 for solicitor and structural engineer fees. If we were told at the time of viewing that the docs are not in order, we would never have made an offer on this house.

What are our chances of recovering the expenses we incurred. I am seriously thinking of bringing the Estate agent to small Court for these. Not only she provided us with incorrect information but during the whole time she kept calling me and asking why are we not signing the contracts, I was explaining that further tests needed to be done and she would say we can do these after we sign and so on.

Any advice? Many thanks
 

Jim2007

Frequent Poster
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2,181
The "Agent" acts on behalf of the client, they are not a principle. They just pass on the information provided by the seller. Time to move on.
 

thecat777

Registered User
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10
unfortunately not a student, a real life situation, same house, just the questions are different and therefore I started different thread
 

Leo

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11,892
You can review planning applications since ~2000 for most if not all LAs via their website. Failing that you can call into the planning office to view the files. That should be your first step in establishing if planning is in order. After reviewing that. if you suspect any work has been carried out, ask the EA to provide you with the details before you engage a surveyor.

If the extension falls within the scope of exempted development, it would be normal to request the vendor supply a cert/ opinion on compliance.

The requirement for certification of certain electrical works only came in in 2006 (further amended in 2013). Prior to that, most work after initial installation did not require a certification process.

All of the above you should be able to push the EA on prior to engaging a surveyor if you know what to look for. If you are not familiar with the regs or how to determine whether an issue is one you should be concerned about or not, paying a professional to view is your best means of protecting yourself from buying a major problem. Unfortunately, those services cost money, and are non-recoverable if you decide to walk away.
 

Saavy99

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630
HI, we are in a process of buying a house which has an extension. We went to see the house twice before we made an offer. The first time we specifically asked the Estate Agent if all documents are in order for the house extension, she said yes, the house is ready to go. .

Any advice? Many thanks

She lied to you plain and simple. Its a huge amount of money to lose over a lie. I really think it should be mandatory for sellers to have all their ducks in a row before putting their properties on the market. It would definitely save a lot of money, time and hassle for potential buyers and the sale would progress much faster too.
 

dereko1969

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2,817
She lied to you plain and simple. Its a huge amount of money to lose over a lie. I really think it should be mandatory for sellers to have all their ducks in a row before putting their properties on the market. It would definitely save a lot of money, time and hassle for potential buyers and the sale would progress much faster too.
Yeah, I think in Scotland the seller has to pay for a survey that is available for all potential buyers to view, would have made sense for it to be adopted here.
Our surveyor was quite surprised to find the owners using industrial quality bleach to clean their floors when he arrived, we pointed out the fire was always on when we visited. His damp readings were through the roof and the owners obviously knew there was an issue and tried to mask it. Feel sorry for the people who eventually bought it after we walked away.
 

Bronte

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13,918
unfortunately not a student, a real life situation, same house, just the questions are different and therefore I started different thread
Why walk away if you like the house and your solicitor tells you it’s ok to proceed.

Estate agents are sales people, how would she have one clue what paperwork was or was not in order. Not her job.

And you can forget suing her.
 

Bronte

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13,918
Yeah, I think in Scotland the seller has to pay for a survey that is available for all potential buyers to view, would have made sense for it to be adopted here.
Our surveyor was quite surprised to find the owners using industrial quality bleach to clean their floors when he arrived, we pointed out the fire was always on when we visited. His damp readings were through the roof and the owners obviously knew there was an issue and tried to mask it. Feel sorry for the people who eventually bought it after we walked away.
A survey wouldn’t show up a planning issue, nor necessarily a structural issue. But agree on your general point a survey should be produced by the vendor. Not sure I’d rely on it though in an Irish context.
 

Jim2007

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2,181
A survey wouldn’t show up a planning issue, nor necessarily a structural issue. But agree on your general point a survey should be produced by the vendor. Not sure I’d rely on it though in an Irish context.
Why do you need to add that kind of degrading generalization? I always wonder about the mentality of people who feel the need to add this kind of comment as it serves no useful purpose.

At different points in time I have worked on insolvency investigations in the building industry in three jurisdictions including Ireland and I did find the Irish to be particularly well skilled when it comes to being devious.
 

Leo

Moderator
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11,892
A survey wouldn’t show up a planning issue, nor necessarily a structural issue. But agree on your general point a survey should be produced by the vendor. Not sure I’d rely on it though in an Irish context.
The more basic walk-through inspections (~€300) typically don't include planning compliance checks, but they are little more than a snagging check. Anyone considering older properties or one where any significant work has been undertaken should generally chose what's referred to as a type 2 survey (~€500) where along with planning compliance, they will also look out for structural issues, inspect drains, insulation, fire protection measures, etc..

There are upcoming changes in this space that will require the vendor to pre-arrange some of the conveyancing but a survey should always be paid for by the party whose interests it is protecting. If a vendor pays for a survey, a purchaser has no grounds to make a claim is an issue is uncovered later.
 
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