How long is the developer responsible for defects?

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    How long is the developer responsible for defects?

    I have converted an office building into a small block of flats, one of which I sold to a BTL landlord 9 months ago. The leaseholder has just contacted me to say that one of the locks was not fitted properly and I have replied that I believe it is now beyond a reasonable snagging period for which I am responsible.

    Am I correct? Also, I would want to snag stuff for the first couple of months generally, but am I legally obliged to? There was no commitment to do so in the Sale contract.

    #2
    Convert a whole block, sell one to a landlord and you are arguing about the cost of a lock?

    Are you the freeholder?

    When you say "the leaseholder has just.." do you mean the leaseholder who is the landlord you sold to?

    Suspect if he took this to small-claims he'd win.

    Also think that, say - this is an example, I'm not suggesting your workmanship is in any way poor - , the block fell down 3 years later due to your defective works and 3 small children 'orribly maimed that a judge might decide you still held some liability.
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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      #3
      Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
      Convert a whole block, sell one to a landlord and you are arguing about the cost of a lock?
      I have already done lots of bits and pieces for this purchaser who seems to believe she has up to 10 years to report minor defects and expect me to rectify them. The reason for her "10 year" thinking is that is the period of the Construction Warranty (which I believe actually only covers structural defects). As she has had tenants living there for 9 months I really do not know why I would not have heard earlier if there was a problem with the lock.

      Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
      Are you the freeholder?
      Yes

      Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
      When you say "the leaseholder has just.." do you mean the leaseholder who is the landlord you sold to?
      Yes

      Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
      Suspect if he took this to small-claims he'd win.
      On what grounds? That is really the point of my question. Generally if I buy a flat and a lock goes wrong 9 months later, I would not expect to be able to go back to the person who sold it to me and demand he fixes it. To what extent, and for how long,is the situation different for a flat sold for the first time after conversion?


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        #4
        Thanks: Could you kindly post the wording of this "construction warranty" so we may understand what it entitles purchaser to, please?
        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
          Thanks: Could you kindly post the wording of this "construction warranty" so we may understand what it entitles purchaser to, please?
          http://i-c-w.co.uk/wp-content/upload...uild-UK-V6.pdf

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            #6
            Thanks:

            In your case your purchaser, the landlord, appears - from what you say - to wish to claim against you, the builder/seller, rather than the insurance company. Which, afaik, is his right. And presumably the amount involved is less than the policy excess (what is the excess?)

            I remain of the view that any small-claims judge would, assuming defective fitting by you/your-agents/your-employees, find in favour of the leaseholder. But, IANAL, nor a judge.
            I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks. However I still do not know what I am a seller am actually responsible for (and for how long); nor what is the difference between my situation and that of anybody who sells a "second-hand" property.

              This lock is just an example, and I cannot ever see it getting to court (for what is probably a £10 job!). But I imagine it would be very difficult for a claimant to explain why if this was a build defect it had remained undiscovered for 9 months.

              Comment


                #8
                Was there a defect period agreed at the point of sale?

                Your warranty provider is able to tell you what and for how long you are liable for and what they will cover.

                12-months seems very reasonable for basic snagging of a new development / refurbishment.
                There is always scope for misinterpretation.

                If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

                Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by mk1fan View Post
                  Was there a defect period agreed at the point of sale?
                  No

                  Originally posted by mk1fan View Post
                  Your warranty provider is able to tell you what and for how long you are liable for and what they will cover.
                  It is not our warranty. It is a warranty for any owner for serious structural defects during years 2-10, or during years 0-2 if the builders named on the warranty (note: the builders, not the developers) are no longer in business - again for major structural defects only

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                    #10
                    You choose the warranty therefore, in the vague terms of an internet forum, it was you who decided to take this one out in lieu of the many other providers of such warranties. Ergo, it is your warranty.

                    As per my last post, 12-months seems reasonable to me for minor snagging items. If you didn't include a term in the sale of these new properties then learn from that.

                    Of course, you'll need to arrange for a snagging inspection upon 12-months to draw a line under things.
                    There is always scope for misinterpretation.

                    If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

                    Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thank you, mk1fan.

                      I do not necessarily disagree with anything you say. However, I am trying to find out what the legal position actually is, rather than what you and I would agree is probably fair.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I'm not sure there is a statutory liability period of for minor defects. As you haven't offered anything as part of the sale you're on the back foot a bit.

                        I would visit three major developers and ask them what their standard defect period is - for minor defects, ignore the warranty items.

                        Then use these periods as reasoning for ending your liability. Given the lack of statutory 'backstop' this would be a very resonable action to take as it would put the new owner in no disadvantage when compared to others in the market. Always sounds good to Judges too.
                        There is always scope for misinterpretation.

                        If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

                        Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

                        Comment

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