Can I get the seller to pay for my broken central heating?
David from Leicester
Legal questions and answers
A few months ago, I moved in to my new home. Everything had been going well until the recent cold weather meant I had to turn on the central heating. However, when I tried to do this, nothing happened. I went around checking the radiators and letting out the excess air, but it made no difference. I then called in a heating engineer. He informed me that the pump in the boiler was broken and that I'd need a new one.
This is going to be very expensive, so I was wondering if there is any way I can get the person who sold me the house to pay for it as he must have known all about the problem.
Unfortunately when you are purchasing a property it is your responsibility to carry out a survey and to follow the recommendations of your surveyor. Most Chartered Surveyors recommend that you have any gas appliances tested by a suitably qualified and regulated engineer and that you have the electrics tested.
The phrase 'buyer beware' applies. When you are purchasing a property you need to rely on your own tests, surveys and inspections.
The only exception to this would be if you had raised a direct question with the Seller and they had provided a deliberately false statement. If, for example, you had asked the Seller 'is the central heating in good working order?' and they replied 'yes it works perfectly', then potentially you could have a claim for breach of contract due to the misrepresentation made by the Seller.
This would, however, be difficult to prove and most sale contracts limit the liability of the Seller to statements made in writing via the Conveyancers acting for the Seller and the Buyer. You should therefore speak to the Conveyancer who acted for you and ask whether the Seller gave any written warranties regarding the boiler. If so you could potentially have a claim under the small claims procedure.
If not, unfortunately it would be for you to meet the costs of the boiler repairs yourself.