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Arrogant Agent

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I know this sounds very trivial in the world we live in and I nearly didn't bother but its really niggling and annoying me and my family. I`ll give a very edited version and if anyone has any advice or comment I would be extremely grateful.

My son bought a new build house last year from a local agent who works closely with a very good builder. It was my sons and his fiance first home and should have been a pleasurable experience. I wont go into all the details but it was a nightmare. The worst thing was that when they went for completion it was discovered by the solicitor that the house didnt have planning permission along with another six on the same development. In hindsight at that point they should have walked but my son is an electrician and he purchased it on the understanding that he would do all the electrics including spot lights and smart systems etc. I know what you're thinking! He shouldn't have but he did and he made a fantastic job. They did the usual things like buying furniture and his fiance gave notice on her rented house 30 miles away and got a place at the local school for her 5 year old son. They were sat on the drive waiting to move in when their solicitor called! It was a nightmare in the end the agent said they could move in but they would have to pay the market rent for the property which as you can imagine didn't go down well. They agreed, this was about 3pm on the afternoon and he even charged them rent for the whole of that day! I could go on but Ill leave that there. Planning was eventually given after about 6 months during which time they had paid almost £5k in rent This was about 18 months ago. The agent is now marketing the next phase. The cheeky b*****d has been down to my sons house and photographed their house and he is using the image on Rightmove to market this next phase. He never asked permission. Can he do that? My son has been into see him and he asked him to leave the office and said he wouldn't remove it. At the start I said it may sound trivial but given the history I can sympathise with my son. What would you do? Is he breaking the law? Thanks for reading this and any comments would be gratefully received.

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Hi Andy,


A bit of a concerning story!!  I am shocked to be honest that your solicitor allowed you to complete a purchase of a property with no PP!  What would have happened if none had been granted?  That is one hell of an expensive gamble.  


Did your son also do the electrical work before completion?  Again, a massive gamble.  If the purchase had failed then all of the work would have been for free.


Market rent - Why did they have to pay the market rent on a property that they were buying because of the developers incompetence?


Photo's - They probably cannot legally use your sons property, but no doubt the process to stop them would be so long and drawn out its not worth the effort.


Photograph's and the law......



In all, it sounds like your son has been lucky in some respects (Lucky that PP was given) , but also completely shafted by an agent and developer, who knew that they were taking your son for a ride.  I would unfortunately put this expensive and costly experience down to a major learning curve.  Property is so volatile.  You cannot spend a penny until you have the keys in your hand (except for searches etc).  They knew your son was stuck, and took complete advantage.


Sorry to hear about this, but its one of those life lessons.










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Hi Darren thanks for the comment you're right it has been a big learning curve. What happened was the builder modified 6 or so houses on the development and the authorities weren't happy. I know my son shouldn't have gambled and started work in it but I can see why he did. The electrical aspect in the houses is about 5k so he got that as a discount on the understanding he would carry out the electrical  work which he did. You're right though that was too risky. The agent knew they were desperate to move in and basically gave them the ultimatum rent it or lose it! He has a lousy reputation in the town and I'm waiting now for my opportunity to cause him some grief.

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Hi Andy,


What an infuriating situation.  It could be worth your son consulting a solicitor prepared to act on a 'no win, no fee basis', or if he had legal insurance on his contents policy at the time this occurred it would likely cover any legal costs, (it's usually a cheap add-on to home insurance).  


There could, depending on the ins and outs of the situation, be a claim for damages (ie the reasonable out of pocket expenses incurred by the last minute postponement of the sale).  The solicitor can both assess whether there is a legal basis for a claim and who it should be made against.  Try and find a large firm that has specialist departments experienced with contracts law.  They won't take the case on unless they feel it has a good chance of success and even though your son will have to share any money awarded with the law firm it will be a consolation to know that the developer hasn't gotten away with this behaviour scott-free as it were.  They've effectively had a double win out of him and his fiance thanks to their shoddy performance.

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Thanks for the reply. The Solicitor refunded the bulk of their charges and to be honest I think my son and his fiancé had had enough of it all. I did think they could have took it further but I could understand them wanting to put it behind them. Interestingly the solicitor that handled their sale left the practice under a cloud soon after apparently. My son has spoke to a solicitor about the agent using the images and he agrees he shouldn't be using them without his permission. They are in dialogue with the agent so Weill see where it goes. Thanks again for your comments.

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