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Problems with the orientation of the property we have purchased. What should we do?

Property Law

Antonio Flores Vila

2nd of December 2000

Q. We are buying a small house from a developer. The houses are two by two porches and balconies, divided by a wall. From the orientation, one side has sun in the evening, the other side probably none. Before purchase we asked for the side with the sun. Given a choice of several houses of this orientation, we chose one and had this request in writing. All payments due have been paid, except the one on completion (not due till sometime early next year). On a visit to the site a few months ago, I saw that the house allocated to us is not of the orientation that we requested. I contacted the vendor and they said it was the fault of the architect, giving them wrong information. Since returning to England we have contacted the vendor several times to ask what they are going to do about this problem. They have said that we either wait for a house to our liking, at the same price, on another phase of the development, or accept what they have allocated to us. Our dilemma is that I don't want to wait and my wife doesn't want the house wrongly allocated to us. My question is: Is there anything that we can do about it or do we have to accept their offers even though they are unacceptable to us?

Brian Peers

    A. The problem you have is rather unusual. The is certainly a breach of contract on the side of the developer, and your recourse is to either accept one of the two offers made by the developer or seek a judicial settlement via the courts of law. The court is likely to grant you the right to obtain from the developer a property with the orientation you requested initially or resolve the contract, obtain a full refund plus interests and compensation, as the case may be. I assume this would be the most satisfactory outcome, as you do not wish to keep that property and you do not want to wait for another property to be built. It would then be a matter of negotiating with the developer on the terms of that refund.

    In these cases having a bank guarantee is of use, as it allows you to call on the guarantee for non-compliance by the vendor plus interests accrued, where the developer refuses to an amicable solution.

    Let me know if you requested bank guarantees or an insurance policy on payment of the different downpayments. Let me know what choice you decide is the best for you and we can assist you further.

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