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vacant possession

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vacant possession

Postby manateegirl » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:10 am

Help would be appreciated to know the legal position in the following: building and surrounding land purchased with vacant possession. New owners gave former owners some time to clear the building and land as gesture of goodwill. It was always made clear that all items would have to be removed. Several months later land not clear and building not empty. Deadline has now been set for removal of all items including waste. If this does not happen where next? Thank you
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Re: vacant possession

Postby theycantdothat » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:46 am

You are in the same position as a landlord whose tenancy has come to an end and where the tenant has left goods in the property. See here: http://www.shoosmiths.co.uk/client-reso ... -8270.aspx The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 will not though apply if the purchase contract provides to the contrary. If the Act applies get on and serve a notice under the Act. Otherwise, take what steps the contract provides.

What further action is taken depends on what is left and the extent to which the buyer is prevented from using the land.
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Re: vacant possession

Postby atticus » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:54 am

I guess that the buyer was too trusting to hold back any of the purchase money.
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Re: vacant possession

Postby manateegirl » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:56 am

Thank you very much for the response. The buyer is prevented from using the building (items in it) and the surrounding land (items on it!). Problem is the value of the goods would not exceed the cost of removing them. Could the land be cleared and the bill sent to the seller?
Yes Atticus he was.
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Re: vacant possession

Postby atticus » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:22 am

It could. But will the seller pay?

If the buyer needs to use the property she should do as tcdt suggests.
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Re: vacant possession

Postby manateegirl » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:31 am

Thank you Atticus. I have used the Torts interference with goods act previously with great success but usually the goods left behind exceed the value of removing them. In this case they won't. If the clearance bill is unpaid then it is off to small claims I assume!
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Re: vacant possession

Postby dls » Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:47 pm

You have to understand that in conveyancing the obligation is imposed on the seller by the contract to give vacant possession on completion. If the seller fails to comply with that obligation, the law gives the buyer a perfect remedy. He need not complete.

If the buyer chooses to throw away that remedy by completing anyway, the law scratches its head, and says that you abandoned your proper clear effectve and once only remedy, but now want another go?

What has happened is that the buyer has been granted a licence. That licence is terminable on reasonable notice. What is reasonable is a question of how long is this particular piece of string, but start with say four weeks.
Be very clear that unless they items are removed you will have them disposed of and that you will seek payment of the bill from him. That would your loss in addition to being kept out your your own property..

Be careful not to charge for the storage, as you may risk the creation of a tenancy.

You need to take care not to make this into something bigger than it already is. Get it put behind you, if necessary at a small cost. Recognise that your generosity was a mistake, but it was your mistake.
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Re: vacant possession

Postby manateegirl » Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:41 pm

Thank you very much indeed for the extremely wise words and help DLS (and all). There were reasons why a quick completion was necessary and why over-generosity was employed which I will not bore you with. The responses have been extremely helpful and hopefully the goods will be cleared...I will let you all know in a few weeks time.
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Re: vacant possession

Postby atticus » Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:07 pm

Good luck!
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Re: vacant possession

Postby theycantdothat » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:21 am

The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 does not do away with any rights you have under the contract or otherwise, but has the distinct advantage that it sets out a clear procedure. Accordingly, if the land and buildings are needed:

·Serve a notice under the Act without further delay

·If the seller fails to remove the goods dispose of them as allowed by the Act when the notice expires

·Consider whether you sue the seller for breach of contract. If the cost of removal exceeds the price obtained for the goods you are entitled to be reimbursed the difference. What further damages you are entitled to may be affected by the delay in taking firm action. However, if you are going to sue for the cost of removal you may as well include a claim for storage nd failure to give vacant possession.
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