Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Caveat Emptor

There is a legal term which is applied to all house sales in England called ‘Caveat Emptor’ This means ‘Let the buyer beware’ In other words, once you have handed over your cash you are stuck with any defects that might come to light in your new house.

In Scotland however, the buyer has 7 days to notify the seller of any defects and arrange for them to be fixed. Having only ever sold houses in England before* I didn’t know this, so it was a bit of a surprise when I got a letter through the post with a list of defects from our old house. Once I started to read the defects I realised that I need not get stressed. Here are the best ones:

The grill pan handle is missing.
The lid to the toilet cistern is stuck
There is an area of rough plaster on the living room wall that was concealed by the sofa during the initial viewing.
There are some wall plugs remaining in some of the walls.
They cannot find the heating thermostat.

I have offered the buyers £50 so they can buy a new grill pan handle, a tub of Polyfiller and call out a plumber to lift the cistern lid. Unfortunately I can’t supply the buyers with what they really need: Some common sense and a life.

* Thank god for Caveat Emptor when it came to selling our two houses in Sheffield. There were more defects in those houses that you could shake a stick at, not least the huge leak in the kitchen that brought all the paint off the walls just after we agreed the price with the buyer, and the cellar in the other house that filled up with water when it rained.


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