In 2021, my elderly parents bought an apartment in a new development by Martin Oppenheimer which was marketed by estate agent Connells. They paid an extra £2000 for a parking space. On the booking contract, issued by Connells, the provision for parking is circled and my parents were given a key fob to access the parking lot. A year later, my dad received a parking ticket while at the site and was told he had no registered parking on his property. It turns out the parking space was omitted from the lease because Connells didn’t include it in the memorandum of sale sent to the conveyancing attorney.
The company offered a goodwill payment of £1,000 for this shortfall. Martin Oppenheimer did not respond to my inquiries regarding purchasing space. My dad believed the legal documents were correct and since he had access to the parking lot and had parked unhindered for over a year, he had no reason to question them.
It’s a baffling and upsetting situation, and neither Connells nor the developer are doing well. However, your parents bear some responsibility. Buyers must sign the legal documents, including the lease, and it is essential that they read them first and report any oddities. Transferors must also question themselves about any anomalies and, if your lawyer received the reservation contract with the sales protocol, he should have wondered about the fact that the parking lot of the first was not included in the second.
Connells, after investigating your complaint, admitted that its staff did not implement the parking element in the sales protocol. He can’t explain why, since parking was not included in the lease, a key fob was issued. It remains a mystery. Connells says, “We apologized for our administrative error. Responsibility for ensuring that all details of the contract are correct rests with the buyer, his agent and the promoter. »
Property law specialist Lara Nyman, of law firm Seddons, confirms that caveat emptor (buyer’s attention) underlies any purchase, in particular when purchasing off-plan.
“Remedies will depend on the documentation provided and the representations made, whether verbal or written,” she said. “The reservation agreement is nothing more than an agreement by the developer to sell land to the buyer within a given period, so it is unlikely to give rise to a claim against the developer. Marketing literature and sales memoranda will almost certainly contain an attempt to limit liability and shift the onus to the buyer to ensure the legal documents are accurate.
Your parents could sue their lawyer, but it could be expensive, so they should be sure they have enough evidence to prove negligence or misrepresentation. It would be more profitable to file a complaint against Connells with the Property Ombudsman, but there is no guarantee they would get more than the £1,000 already offered. It may be less. I’m so sorry that I can’t come to a resolution, but I hope this serves as a warning to all of us to never accept contracts of trust.
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