How The Property Lifeline stepped in to solve a boundary dispute between Claire and her Council.
In September of last year The Property Lifeline were contacted by a lady called Claire with a unique problem we had not previously come across. A boundary dispute with the local council had left her at the point of a nervous breakdown and she wanted to sell her house fast in order to move on with her life.
The property in question was a 3 bed semi detached house had been built 15 years ago by a local, well established builder. Claire had purchased the house directly from him and had lived there happily for 12 years until three years ago. A council worker discovered that Claire’s house and the adjacent house had been built 15 inches in the wrong direction and were sat on council land. Within a matter of a few days the council had written a letter demanding payment for the land or they would seek to repossess the property to claim the land back.
Obviously distressed by this Claire immediately visited the council offices but was turned away without any explanation at all as to what was going on. The council continued to harass Claire for several months and when she eventually managed to speak to a person she was told that it was the councils intention to seek possession of the property and that she would need to in turn, instruct a solicitor and seek to take possession of the neighbouring property and that the owner of that property would need to sue the builder!
Desperately in need of some decent advice, Claire visited the Citizens Advice Bureau armed with all the letters she had received from the council and a copy of the title documents proving she owned the land and house. Unfortunately the person she met at the CAB decided that the council were within their right to insist on taking the house to reclaim its land.
With the stress increasing and beginning to prove too much to handle Claire decided to put the house on the market and see if it could be sold so she could move on with her life. After calling every local agent in her area and inviting them to come and appraise the property Claire felt compelled to explain her situation and provided each agent with the paperwork from the council and each agent in turn told her she wouldn’t be able sell the house. The agents were all of the same opinion that now that the council intended to regain possession of the house it had become unmortgagable and there wouldn’t be any cash buyers prepared to take the gamble of buying it.
Feeling as if she were destined to lose the house to the council and be made homeless whilst still carrying the debt of a mortgage, Claire set about googling sell my house for cash companies and initially found the same resistance from these companies as she had with the Estate Agents.
How The Property Lifeline Helped
However when she contacted The Property Lifeline our case handler took the time to listen to the problem and assess the situation as it was clear Claire was very distressed so the first thing we had to find out was if the council had attempted to begin proceedings and if they had, how far along they were. Once we had gathered all the info we required from Claire we were able forward this to our solicitors for their legal opinion.
Whilst the solicitors were hard at work an agent was sent out to view the property and discuss what Claire would like to achieve from the sale and how we could assist her to remove this problem from her life and move on.
Our solicitor’s opinion of the situation was that the council did seem incredibly intent on trying to seize back the land but that they would never succeed in court as the house had been build and sold 15 years ago and mortgages obtained upon the property. The most likely outcome would be that a judge would rule against the council or worse case insist that the council seek some form of compensation from the builder.
We relayed this info to Claire and explained that if she were to dig her heels in, instruct a solicitor and fight the council she would win and be able to claim costs and compensation for the stress the council had caused. Despite agreeing with us she had made up her mind that she could not cope and just wanted to sell the house and move on with her life. A cash offer to buy the house was made and accepted and a completion date set for 4 weeks, allowing us the time to help Claire find a new house to rent and arrange to have her belongings moved. Two weeks later the sale completed and The Property Lifeline helped Claire move into her new house with a large sum of money from the sale.
Eight weeks later we received a huge bouquet of flowers and a note from Claire letting us know that since moving she felt like a new person and had even fallen pregnant and was happier than ever.