Posted: Monday, 10 November 2008 @ 10:23
If you are a property developer and you've never seen your lawyer in his wellies then it might be time to consider changing your lawyer.
Visiting a development site is the only way a lawyer can identify certain potential legal problems. If you've just bought a site that your lawyer hasn't visited then ask them the following questions:
1. How do they know there are no discrepancies between the title deeds and the physical boundaries on site?
2. How do they know whether there is any evidence on site of third parties exercising rights of way over it?
3. How do they know that carrying out the development won't give rise to party wall issues?
4. How do they know that neighbours' rights of light and air won't be affected by the development?
5. How do they know that no electricity or telephone cables, water pipes, drains or gas mains will need to be moved to enable the site to be developed?
Asking the seller these questions might reveal the correct answer but should your lawyer really rely on the seller when these things can be checked?
Developing land for profit is hard work at the moment. Don't let your lawyer's failure to get in his car and meet you on site make it even harder.
Steve Petty, Commercial Property Lawyer
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