4th Sep 2015

A deal done in the auctioneer's showroom

In a very unusual case, we were instructed by a developer client who had agreed to buy a run-down property with a large garden with development potential at auction without our advice. The unusual factor was that he was interested only in the garden but had met, in the auctioneer’s showroom a woman who was interested in buying the house alone for renovation.They made an informal and non-legally binding agreement that he would bid for the whole property and would, at completion of the purchase, split the title, selling the house to the woman.

In the four weeks between the auction date and the contractual completion date our client had to have two or three versions of plans drawn up for the development of the garden; there was no guarantee as to which (if any) scheme the planning authority would agree and so in the course of drawing up the documents which would split the titles betweenour client and the woman interested in the house we had to allow for at least two different scenarios which meant extensive and flexible rights had to be reserved for our client.The negotiations were quite intense, partly due to the limited amount of time and the natural reluctance of the other party to give away rights of access which would diminish her enjoyment of her property and indeed its own development potential.

Fortunately the parties were able to agree middle ground and we were able to persuade the seller to transfer the title as the two transactions it was (although the seller was under no contractual obligation to proceed in this way).

I was never quite sure whether our client had the funds to complete the purchase of the whole on his own if the other party had walked away from the transaction so was very relieved all round when this very risky matter completed at last.

Our client developed the land successfully and we were able to act for him again subsequently on this site.


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