4

I recently bought my first property which is meant to be an exciting time until I realised the property has a broken boiler meaning I have no hot water or central heating. Now prior to exchange of contracts I was given a document titled 'Law Society Property Information Form' which was filled in by the seller. Under the section 'Instructions to the seller' it reads:

'It is very important that your answers are accurate. If you give incorrect or incomplete information to the buyer, the buyer may make a claim for compensation from you or refuse to complete the purchase'

Under section 12.3 Central Heating the seller has supplied the following answers (in bold):

12.3 Does the property have a central heating system? Yes

If Yes:

(a) What type of system is it? Mains Gas

(b) When was the heating system installed? Not known

(c) Is the heating system in good working order? Yes

(d) In what year was the heating system last serviced/maintained? Not known

My solicitor is telling me I have to go through the small claims court which will come at a cost. What chance do I have at getting compensation?

7

This is not a place for specific legal advice, but you shouldn't be afraid of the small claims court; I'm doing that myself and it really is a low-risk and straightforward way to get money that is owed to you.

Step 1: Get the boiler repaired or replaced as necessary. Keep the receipts. Don't be tempted to get an upgrade or anything else to push expenses that are legitimately yours on to the other party; find out what the cheapest thing is that you can reasonably do to fix the problem and then do that.

Step 2: Write a letter to the seller in which you set out the facts of the case and demand the cost of the repairs. Also include any other expenses you have had to incur, like money for your time off work while the repair is done. End it with "If you do not agree to pay this money within one month then I will take action in the county court to recover the money". Send it by recorded delivery and include a copy of the repair receipt (NOT the original).

Step 3: If you do not get your money then go here and follow the instructions.

You have to pay an up-front fee to the court which gets added on to the amount you are claiming. That is the only money you are putting at risk if you lose. The whole thing is as informal and straightforward as possible, and is purposely designed so that you don't need a lawyer, nor can you or the other side claim for the cost of a lawyer if you win. This is why your lawyer is pushing you to do this by yourself: he knows that his fees would be out of proportion to the amount in question, and you wouldn't be able to get that money back even if you won.

The only other wrinkle is if the other party has moved far away: in general if a hearing is needed then it will be held near them rather than near you, so you might have to travel.

  • I know it says to avoid comments like 'thanks', but I have to thank you for spending time to give me some advice. It's can be a scary world for young first time buyers like myself with very little knowledge of property and legalities. Thanks again! – rejy11 Feb 18 at 15:58
  • Welcome to SE.Law. Rather than writing "thanks" you should up-vote. Click on the triangle above the 0. – Paul Johnson Feb 18 at 17:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.