Case Summaries & News

Legal Ombudsman Service: maximum award of £50k. Twice.

 

Wingrove Law advised homeowners on a professional negligence claim against their conveyancers for losses arising due to a delay in their new home warranty cover being incepted after legal completion.

 

The warranty cover note should have been received by the conveyancers before completing the purchase. They omitted to ensure it was.  The warranty cover note was issued around 1 month after completion.  Under the policy terms, patent (visible/discoverable) defects in the property at legal completion were not covered by the 'builder warranty' section of the policy. 

 

The builder went into receivership.  The homeowners claimed on their warranty.  They then discovered they were uninsured in respect of the remedial works required to put right patent defects to the value of over £51,000. 

 

Wingrove Law advised the owners on pursuing a complaint via the Legal Ombudsman ("LeO") as part of the professional negligence pre-action protocol procedure before starting court action.  The LeO is an approved ADR scheme for the purposes of the protocol.

 

The conveyancers denied the claim, challenged (unsuccessfully) the LeO's jurisdiction to consider the complaint, and refused to accept the LeO's Preliminary Decision.  The owners referred the matter to an Ombudsman to make a Final Decision.

 

Both the Preliminary and Final Decisions found for the owners and both times the owners were awarded the maximum financial award of £50,000.

 

Maximum awards are almost unprecedented.

46-owner group action against national housebuilder

 

Wingrove Law advised a group of 46 homeowners in a claim against a national housebuilder relating to extensive design and construction defects in their homes. The housebuilder was offering to carry out what the owners considered to be wholly inadequate remedial works under terms that would have left the owners inheriting ongoing potentially ruinous liabilities for unresolved defects.

 

The proposed remedial works by the housebuilder were originally estimated by the housebuilder to cost around £9 million across the whole estate.

 

Wingrove Law advised the owners throughout the legal action and successfully negotiated settlement to include the following:

  • The extent of remedial works was vastly more extensive than originally offered, with the total value of works carried out increasing to > £25 million for the estate
  • Wingrove Law's clients also secured, in addition to the improved scope of works:
    • Financial compensation of over £250,000
    • Access to the full suite of technical drawings and details for the remedial works, essential if claiming for defects in the remedial works themselves
    • Detailed plot-specific records of all remedial works carried out, thereby improving mortgageability and saleability and helping to preserve market value
    • A full time Clerk of Works employed by them at the housebuilder's cost to supervise and oversee all remedial works being undertaken to ensure adequacy especially in relation to areas that were covered up once done
    • A suite of enforceable guarantees and warranties in relation to key components (some of these were offered to non-group owners but were unenforceable)
    • A 10 year extension to their section 3 NHBC Buildmark cover
    • Recovery of over 97% of their legal costs and expenses incurred in pursuing the action

Group action against high-end developer

 

Wingrove Law acted for three owners of £2 million + properties in a claim against the developer over extensive unresolved defects in their homes.

 

The owners initially raised concerns over patent defects with an estimated claim value of around £250,000.  Wingrove Law arranged for extensive surveying investigations to be undertaken which led to discovery of pervasive serious defects throughout each home and external areas increasing the claim value to over £1.1 million.

 

Wingrove Law advised the clients throughout the action and assisted them in negotiating settlement at a highly pressured mediation on exceptional terms:

  • Full remedial works done by housebuilder following a scope of works drawn up by the claimants' own surveyor
  • 100% recovery of all legal and surveying costs and expenses incurred
  • £100,000 per household compensation payment
  • Bespoke dispute resolution procedure agreed for resolving any problems arising during or after the remedial works, with funding costs borne 75:25 by the housbuilder
  • Alternative accommodation provided at a cost of £30,000 per month for circa 2 years whilst works completed
  • All incurred financial losses and expenses reimbursed

Buy-back negotiations

 

Wingrove Law has advised numerous owners of severely defective new build homes on buy-back negotiations with housebuilders.

 

Buy-back negotiations are invariably complex, protracted and potentially very risky for owners if not properly advised.

 

Wingrove Law has a 100% success rate in buy-back negotiations ensuring owners obtained full market value for their homes (on a deemed no-defect basis), full cost cover for associated sale and purchase costs including SDLT and full-service removal costs, and generous financial compensation packages.

Claim for damages for Data Protection breach

 

Wingrove Law advised clients who, through a Subject Access Request, discovered their online social media activity was being secretly monitored by a PR agency appointed by a national housebuilder.  It became apparent that the national housebuilder maintained a "Facebook Watchlist" which was routinely discussed at board level and used to inform the housebuilder's defensive actions against owners posting online content they deemed to be adverse to their own interests e.g. inviting others to come forward with a view to taking group legal action; offering to share personal experiences with prospective buyers etc.

 

The clients were also being routinely monitored at their home.

 

Wingrove Law advised the clients in a claim for damages for the national housebuilder's unlawful use of their personal data.  The claimants recovered a five-figure sum on settlement, plus costs.

Find out how we can help you

 

For a free, no-obligation chat about how we may be able to help you with unresolved design & construction defects, financial losses, concerns over misuse of personal data, inadequate or incomplete advice or services from your conveyancer, or any other issue you may have with your new build home, please email or call us now:

 

Contact us

T: 01904 799400

E: hello@wingrovelaw.co.uk

A: Wingrove House, Beech Avenue, Holgate, York, YO24 4JJ

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