Publication: Prime Resi
You’ve secured the buyer and matters have proceeded to solicitors. Contracts are exchanged and you breathe a sigh of relief believing that the sale is now confirmed. But what happens if the buyer refuses to complete and pay the balance of the purchase price? This is exactly what happened in the sale of Laughton Manor, as Lynsey Newman explains in Prime Resi.
Briefly, Mr and Mrs Griffiths agreed to purchase Laughton Manor for £3.6 million in 2011. On the exchange of contracts the couple paid £150,000 of the 10% deposit and subsequently arranged for a survey which revealed evidence of damp and rot. Wanting a home in pristine condition and believing that the sellers, Mr and Mrs Hardy, must have been aware of the problems, they refused to complete the purchase of the property and requested the return of their deposit claiming that the sellers conduct allowed them to end the contract. Mr and Mrs Hardy disputed this, alleging that the buyers conduct in failing to complete the purchase allowed them to terminate the contract and claimed the balance of 10% deposit in the sum of £210,000. Mr and Mrs Griffiths appealed the decision, but lost their legal fight at the Court of Appeal in April this year.
The argument therefore centered on what Mr and Mrs Hardy knew and said of the damp and rot problems. In a reply to Mr and Mrs Griffiths solicitor regarding any issues of damp or rot, Mr and Mrs Hardy answered that they weren’t aware of any problems but “as you will appreciate this is an old property and therefore this reply cannot be taken as a warranty as to condition.”
As with most legal problems…
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